As we seek to provide top-notch courses and programs in the online environment, we must remember that the experience of designing and implementing is only half of the equation. On the other side are the students – our partners in education. But we don’t always know much about what online looks like from the student perspective.
So how do we learn more about what happens on the other side of the screen?
In this Student Perspectives article, we feature Emily Provenza - a student in the Public Service BA program.
Nearly three years ago, I began my undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado Denver. However, due to a demanding work schedule, I was quickly faced with the prospect of having to drop out. It was too difficult to balance schoolwork and life outside the university.
Thankfully, I was given the option of switching to an online program.
Once I enrolled in UC Denver’s online Bachelor of Arts in Public Service program, I was able to balance my schoolwork and work life far more effectively. I had reservations at first - I was concerned that the learning environment wouldn’t be as stimulating - but I was wrong.
Since switching to CU Online, I have thrived.
I am more independent with online courses; I can study at my own pace, review lectures multiple times to fully digest the subject, and research areas in which I need more clarity. I also feel more comfortable asking questions than in an in-person class setting.
Because of this alternative way to learn, I’ve made the Dean’s List every semester, as well as received internships and job offers from the U.S. Department of State. I feel far more encouraged now to continue my education after the completion of my Bachelor’s degree.
It's clear that online learning has been beneficial to me.
These achievements have been attainable with the flexibility of an online platform. I always appreciate when the teacher makes a short video explaining how they've set up their dashboard and where to find all the material.
I also enjoy when the teacher allows students in their course to be more independent by opening all the modules at once. Overall, I’ve found that I do better in the courses where modules are released together, rather than week-by-week. I find the latter difficult as it doesn’t always fit with a busy schedule and can cause problems when your routine changes. One professor of mine had the entire semester of modules open, placing three module deadlines throughout the semester. Each deadline had to have a specific range of modules completed by the due date. This kept us accountable, yet independent, and I felt that was a great balance. Throughout the course, I was still able to stay connected with classmates since assignments involved active discussions and blog interactions.
The support and encouragement I’ve received from both my teachers and the faculty members of my program have been remarkable. My journey so far has felt very supported and personal.
The work the online professors put into each online module is remarkable, and I would like to thank them for the commitment they have shown to teach us in this non-traditional way. It’s because of the lectures, discussions, and assignments they have crafted in an online environment, that I have been able to progress as well as I have.
Without the option of online learning, I would not have been able to finish my degree, and I most certainly wouldn’t have as bright of a future as I do today. Thank you.