Online University
10 Students 10 Questions 10 Answers

Alleisha Heard

Alleisha Heard
If I had to rate the faculty at my school, I would assess them at a 9.5/10. I think that they do a great job of working within the online format to provide students with an educational experience similar to that of a physical classroom, despite the fact that we are not face to face with our instructors.
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Total Time Enrolled
4 years
  1. Are online schools just in it for the money?

    My experience has shown me that online schools are not just in it for the money. I have had a very positive experience at my school, University of Phoenix. I am sure that some schools are not as good, but I knew that University of Phoenix would be a strong choice right from the start because their website makes it very clear that it is a legitimate school.

    For example, a way that I could tell that University of Phoenix was legitimate is because it has accreditation, which is something that any prospective online student should look for when they are choosing a school. If a school has earned accreditation, that means it isn’t just a diploma mill. It means that the degree you earn will hold value to other people, such as your future employers.

    If you are new to the idea of online school and you want to know if a school is worth the money, you need to invest time into researching the school. Besides verifying that the school is accredited, you should look into aspects like its history, student population, ranking and whether or not it has any on-campus classes. Take your time and find the right school and program for you.

  2. What are the pros and cons of studying online?

    The pros and cons of studying online are different for everyone, but what I like the most about online schooling is that it fits my learning style better. I don’t learn very well by sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture because it is easy to get distracted and either miss what the teacher is saying or simply mishear it when I am trying to take notes. But with online school, I am in charge of my own learning. I can see and read the material myself and if I get confused, I just go back and reread a passage.

    In addition to the fact that online school suits my learning style well, there were other factors that I considered when I decided to go to school online. Specifically, at the time that I started my associates degree, I had a 1-year-old to care for. If I was to go to an on-campus school, I wouldn’t really be a stay-at-home mom anymore because I would have to drive him to daycare every day. But by taking classes online, I was able to avoid that hassle and be there to watch my child grow up.

  3. Can you actually learn anything while studying online?

    Yes, I have learned so much online that I barely know how to quantify it. In my online criminal justice bachelors program, I have learned about both the investigative and the administrative sides of the field. For instance, I took a class about organized crime that especially intrigued me. I took another class that discussed what goes on behind the scenes in a law enforcement agency as far as paperwork like police reports and parole orders.

    I find my curriculum to be challenging, but I think that is a good thing. If I wasn’t challenging myself, then I wouldn’t actually be learning anything. So while it has been difficult at times, I am glad for that since it has given me a real understanding of the field that I want to pursue. If you are finding that your online curriculum is a little more difficult than you are comfortable with, then you should keep in mind that there are lots of useful resources available online to help you. Look for government and educational websites to make sure you are finding reliable information.

  4. How difficult is it to get a job with an online degree?

    I don’t believe I will have any undue difficulty getting a job with my online bachelors of criminal justice degree. Going to University of Phoenix has not hindered my job search in the least. In fact, I have been in the job market for a couple of months now, even though I am not set to graduate for 2 more months, because I wanted to be prepared. It is not like I hide the fact that my degree is from an online program, and I have gotten several calls back about the jobs that I have shown interest in.

    There might be some employers who still think less of a degree that was earned online, so if you are concerned about your future employment prospects, then you should see what kind of career resources your school offers. For instance, at University of Phoenix, there is a special webpage that lets students search for local job listings in their field.

  5. Is online faculty any good?

    I would say that my experience with online faculty has been very good. If I had to rate the faculty at my school, I would assess them at a 9.5/10. I think that they do a great job of working within the online format to provide students with an educational experience similar to that of a physical classroom, despite the fact that we are not face to face with our instructors.

    In fact, I can’t think of a single negative experience that I have had with either the facilitators or the administration at University of Phoenix. I still keep in touch with several of my previous instructors who call me occasionally to check up on me. My relationships with online faculty are more personal than you might think.

  6. Are online degrees actually cheaper?

    Yes, I think that online degrees are cheaper when you add up all of the expenses that you don’t have to pay. For instance, there are extra expenses that you have to pay when you go to school on-campus, like books. And since I have a young child, I would have to pay for daycare if I wasn’t able to be at home during school. I feel like I save a lot of money indirectly by going to school online, even though my initial tuition might be a little more expensive than some schools.

    Another thing that impressed me about my school is how helpful the financial aid office was when I was securing funding for my degrees. I have had a financial aid advisor from the start who has been instrumental is setting my finances straight so that I could afford to go to school.

  7. Doesn’t the lack of live student-faculty interaction during class detract from the overall learning experience?

    No, I don’t find that a lack of live student-faculty interaction hurts my education at all. Personally, I am much more comfortable with this kind of learning format. I would even say that I like it so much that I can’t think of any drawbacks. If you are not a self-directed visual learner, online school might not be the best idea for you. But for me, it is perfect.

  8. How do online classrooms work?

    My classroom operates through a class discussion forum. My facilitators post the class syllabus and all of the assignments on that forum so we always know exactly what is due, and when. After completing the assigned reading material, we have to answer a certain number of related discussion questions. The number of questions varies by course, but every teacher requires that we post substantive responses to each question because that counts as both our participation and our attendance.

    In addition to individual study, we also have a significant project to complete each week. It might be an essay or a case study, a PowerPoint presentation or something different. For instance, sometimes we are required to do group projects. Each class is broken up into learning teams of 4 to 6 people who work together on those group projects. It is a way to make sure that we learn how to work with others during the course of our program.

  9. How computer savvy do you have to be to study online?

    I spend about 40 hours per week on the computer, but you actually don’t have to be computer savvy at all. In fact, the entire 4 years that I have gone to school here, I haven’t had to do any major computer-based projects. The only programs we use are Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. If you can log in to a website, you can go to school online. And if for some reason you do have trouble, there is 24/7 technical help that you can call to get assistance on any type of computer problem.

  10. Can you make friends in an online school setting?

    Yes, I have been able to make friends through my online classes. I have 4 people in particular that I have made personal connections with, and we even talk outside of class on Facebook and we follow each other on Twitter. Had we not met through the University of Phoenix, we would never have developed this friendship. For that reason, I think that online school can be an excellent place to build a digital network, which is so important these days.

Get to know Alleisha

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Expected Graduation
Total Time Enrolled
4 years


Alleisha Heard is in her fourth and final year at University of Phoenix. She is earning her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice after earning an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice at University of Phoenix as well.

Alleisha chose to study for both of her degrees online because she has a young child to care for and online school allowed her to stay home with him. After she graduates with her bachelors degree in 2012, she plans to enter a masters degree program so that she will be qualified for a variety of jobs in the criminal justice field.