Online University
10 Students 10 Questions 10 Answers

Krystal Gransbury

Krystal Gransbury
I don’t think that a lack of live interaction with my faculty affects my learning in a negative way. I don’t care for the one-on-one style of learning because I would rather do my work independently at the pace that I like. That is why online school works for me, because if you tell me how to do something, I will just do it.
Concentration
Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration
Total Time Enrolled
4 months
Age
33
  1. Are online schools just in it for the money?

    I don’t think that online schools are just in it for the money because if that was the case, I wouldn’t be learning like I am. My school is teaching me a lot of useful information. Although I also looked into Strayer University and DeVry University, I chose to attend University of Phoenix because it has a good reputation. In addition, the admissions advisors at University of Phoenix were kind, and didn’t act like they were trying to sell me anything or push me into a program.

    Another reason I think that my online school is legitimate is that I have seen 1 of Phoenix’s brick-and-mortar campuses. In fact, I am located just a few miles away from the University of Phoenix campus in Reno, so I knew that I could use the resources center on campus if I wanted to. There is a library and a student lounge on campus, just like any other university setting. My school also offers online resources like tutoring. I wasn’t aware that they had all of these resources when I was looking into going to school there, so it has been a pleasant surprise.

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

    The most significant pro of studying online is that it allows me to earn my degree while I continue to work full time. It makes for a busy schedule since I work for 8 hours and then come home to do school work for a couple of hours after that. But it is important for me not to give up my income while I am in school.

    While I appreciate the ability to keep working, a major con to online school is that the professors don’t seem to be that invested in me personally. That means the feedback that I receive from them is often lacking in substance and sincerity. Once, I even got some remarks back from a teacher that were addressed to “Kevin,” which makes me think that my teacher was not paying attention to the work that he was grading. It has been a challenge to communicate about grades and my academic progress with my professors.

  3. Can you actually learn anything while studying online?

    Yes, in my opinion you can learn online, but you have to be motivated to do your own work. I don’t find my curriculum to be especially challenging right now, but I am only about 4 months into the program so it might get more difficult in the future.

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

    I am not sure yet how difficult it will be to get a job with my online degree because I haven’t started looking for a job yet and it will be several years until I do. I have heard both sides of the debate and it seems like employers are split down the middle. Some companies don’t trust online degrees as much, which worries me. But other companies recognize that online education is a good way for working professionals to better themselves.

    The nice thing for me is that right now I have a really good job. I still want to get my degree in healthcare administration because I think it will allow me to go further, but I have the option of waiting until I find the right job. One thing that I think will help me to find that job is the alumni networking opportunities offered by University of Phoenix.

  5. Is online faculty any good?

    It is hard to say whether online faculty is good or not because each professor is different. Even though I had a negative experience with my professor who didn’t pay attention to whose work he was grading, I have also had positive experiences. For example, the teacher of my university studies class is organized, funny and well-spoken. His grading turnaround is very quick, but he still provides thorough feedback. So I would say that whether you get an outstanding professor or a lackluster one is luck of the draw. However, I do know that all of my online professors have the right qualifications to teach, because they all have earned doctorate degrees.

    It is important to keep in mind that faculty means not only your professors, but your advisory staff too. I found my academic advisor at University of Phoenix to be extremely helpful. When I was struggling with a paper, he even pointed me toward a couple of links in the online library that provided help with grammar and spelling. I found them very beneficial.

  6. Are online degrees actually cheaper?

    My online associates degree in healthcare administration is not cheaper than a brick-and-mortar option. In fact, it is about $3,000 more expensive per year than the offline schools that I considered. But people need to think about all of the ways that they save that are not immediately evident when they are comparing tuition rates. In my case, my online degree is worth the money that I am paying because I don’t have to give up my salary. Taking online classes means that I don’t have to sacrifice my career for my education or vice versa.

    Paying for school can be a challenge whether you attend college online or offline. Luckily, about half of my education is being paid for with grants. To cover the other half, I took out student loans through the government.

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

    I don’t think that a lack of live interaction with my faculty affects my learning in a negative way. I don’t care for the one-on-one style of learning because I would rather do my work independently at the pace that I like. That is why online school works for me, because if you tell me how to do something, I will just do it.

    When I do have questions for my teacher, I use a feature called an individual forum, which is more like a chat room where the only person that you are able to talk to is your teacher. I could call them on the phone too, if the matter was urgent.

    Even though I don’t have trouble learning in the online format, I have noticed that many of the other students in my classes want to be able to interact more with the teacher. And it is true that you don’t get the sense that your professors are personally interested in your success or in helping you to achieve your dreams. If you need that emotional and academic support from a professor, this is not a good program for you.

  8. How do online classrooms work?

    All of our classroom materials are presented online, so I don’t have physical textbooks or in-person lectures. Instead, the required reading is posted online and we are expected to complete it on our own. Besides reading, my homework usually consists of posting on our class discussion forum. The forum is a formal discussion about a certain topic that is presented by our professor. Each student is required to post our thoughts about that topic. We also have to respond to the posts that our classmates leave. To sum it up, we are required to communicate with our classmates at least 4 days per week.

    My classes are presented through 9-week sessions. I take 2 classes at a time, so I study for a couple of hours from Tuesday to Friday. I would guess I study about 8 to 10 hours each week, although that amount can vary according to the kind of homework that I am assigned in a given week. It is a nice schedule because I still manage to take weekends off most of the time. Plus, I avoid doing everything at the last minute when I break my homework down into manageable blocks of time.

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

    I don’t think that online schooling requires people to be particularly computer savvy. But since I worked for Microsoft for several years, my perspective on what computer skills the average person has might be skewed. I would recommend that anyone who wants to participate in online education know how to effectively surf the Internet for research purposes. They should also be familiar with programs like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

    At University of Phoenix, they don’t want students to be left behind because of technology, so students must complete a 3-week computer orientation before they are accepted as a student. In addition, the school provides 24-hour tech support.

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

    Yes, I think that it is possible to make friends in an online setting. We have a couple of ways to communicate with other students, such as instant messaging and an internal social network where each student has a profile. It could be compared to a miniature Facebook. We get to create a profile and upload pictures. I think it is helpful because I can see who I am talking to. It makes our interactions more personal.

    I also have learned about my classmates inadvertently through discussion boards. For example, in my finance class, we were discussing budgeting and that was very revealing about who my classmates are. Based on their responses, I could tell that a woman was a single mother and a man had just turned 40 and decided to go back to school. It doesn’t get too intrusive, but I do find it comforting to know a little bit about my classmates.

Get to know Krystal

Concentration
Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration
Expected Graduation
-
Total Time Enrolled
4 months
Age
33

Biography

Krystal Gransbury is in the first year of her Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration program. She expects to graduate from University of Phoenix by 2013. She hopes to continue on to a bachelors degree program so that she will be qualified to work in healthcare management.

Krystal decided to go to school online because she works full time as a banker. Online classes let her study after work, when she has the time.