Online University
10 Students 10 Questions 10 Answers

Tanya Faison

Tanya Faison
Despite my teacher’s efforts, the experiences that I had with professors in traditional classrooms were a lot more personal than those I have had in online classes. So even though my professors are knowledgeable and experienced, I don’t feel like I benefit as much from them as I would if we were in a traditional classroom environment.
Concentration
Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Public Administration
Total Time Enrolled
6 months
  1. Are online schools just in it for the money?

    I believe online schools are not just in it for the money. In order to learn the most from an online school, you have to find a legitimate program. An important tip for finding a good school is to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. Accredited institutions will provide a higher quality of education because they are held to specific standards.

    You should also consider what the school is willing to invest in you. Make sure that you fully utilize a school’s resources in order to get the most value out of an online program. I recommend that you take every opportunity to use the library or any additional learning material that is provided for you.

    In particular, I know that webinars, or online seminars, are available at Walden University. Though I have never attended any, the webinars are designed to advise students and make us aware of opportunities. Sometimes they explicitly address ways to take advantage of school resources, while other times they discuss practical business skills. In some cases, my school provides webinars that detail the requirements of a specific career.

    Another resource that Walden University provides is an online tutoring service. A couple of the larger tutoring programs are the math and writing workshops. These tutoring programs allow students to submit work to a tutor who assesses the work and provides feedback.

    If Walden University was just in it for the money, the school would not bother to provide so many supplemental resources. So even though tuition is expensive, I know that I am paying for a number of enriching educational materials as I work toward my degree.

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

    One of the pros of studying online is that I have access to my classes at all times. My schedule changes frequently, so I need a program that allows for those changes. Compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar school, I have much greater access to my classes. I take comfort in knowing that I can access my classes whenever necessary.

    Another significant benefit of an online program is that you can often complete your degree more quickly than you could at a traditional school. Of course, that depends on the type of courses that you are taking to meet your goal. But online schools often offer accelerated learning options to help you finish sooner.

    One of the cons of studying online is that it tends to be more expensive. Even after the initial cost of tuition, online schools sometimes include fees that add up to a significant amount of money, so you need to watch out for that.

    Another con of studying online is that you do not have face-to-face interaction with your professors. I feel that the lack of interpersonal interaction detracts from the online learning environment. In a traditional institution, you have the ability to openly converse with your instructor in real time. But in an online environment, you have to rely on indirect written communication.

  3. Can you actually learn anything while studying online?

    Overall, you can learn online, but you may not learn as much as you would in a traditional institution. My classes are not usually very comprehensive, either. A traditional university offers more classes and explores specific topics in greater depth than an online school. Currently, my online classes provide me with a basic foundation, but they do not explore the details and intricacies of a topic adequately.

    When you study online, you are limited to general courses. You do not have the option to learn more about a special topic within your major. This means that I am unable to learn about a lot of the topics that interest me. Compared to traditional institutions, online schools provide an inferior course selection. If I were attending a traditional school, I could pursue topics that are more relevant to my specific goals.

    Another way that online classes affect my learning is that I feel rushed by the timeframe of the classes. Online schools provide you with the potential to learn a fair amount, but they do not give you enough time to absorb all of the information. The rapid pace of learning makes me feel that I am running through the information too quickly. Overall, I am not learning as much as I would like.

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

    I do not know how difficult it is to get a job with an online degree, because I have not finished mine yet. I know many people perceive online education negatively though. Despite the skepticism surrounding online education, most people who want to talk to me about it are simply curious about how my program works.

    It is important to point out that the resources that online schools provide do prepare students for the job market. For instance, the webinars provided by my school give me the opportunity to learn about different jobs through the words of experienced professionals. Along with webinars, Walden University provides job placement services through its career center. I believe that these will be very helpful for finding a job.

  5. Is online faculty any good?

    In my experience, the quality of the faculty depends on your institution. This is my first semester at Walden University. I transferred here after attending Kaplan University for over a year. I have only had 2 teachers at my current school, and so far I find them adequate, but not inspiring. But at Kaplan, most of the teachers were excellent.

    Online faculty are qualified to teach their subjects because of their credentials and work experience. Teachers introduce themselves to the class by informing students of their degrees and where they have worked in the past. All of my teachers hold either a masters degree or a PhD. They often work as professionals in their specialized fields too. Their practical experience brings greater depth to the courses that they teach.

    Not only are my professors highly experienced, it is easy to communicate with them. It is not the same as in a traditional setting, but if I have questions, there is a forum dedicated to resolving them. If I have a more personal issue to discuss I can e-mail my professors too.

    Despite my teacher’s efforts, the experiences that I had with professors in traditional classrooms were a lot more personal than those I have had in online classes. So even though my professors are knowledgeable and experienced, I don’t feel like I benefit as much from them as I would if we were in a traditional classroom environment.

  6. Are online degrees actually cheaper?

    No, online degrees are not actually cheaper. I have found that online schools are more expensive than traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

    There are resources available to help offset the cost of an online education, though. Some states, like California, offer a fee waiver. If you qualify, the waiver covers the cost of your units. In addition to that, if you get any financial aid, it goes directly to you, not to the school.

    Although it is a lot cheaper to go to a traditional school, online schools do allow you to save money in specific areas. While I was at Kaplan, I paid nothing for books because they were included in the tuition. But at Walden University, you have to buy your own books.

    In the same way that I would pay for a traditional institution, I pay for my online education with financial aid and student loans. Walden went through the whole process of securing funding with me and also ensured that I was able to fully pay for my education. I get the Federal Pell Grant as well as a standard student loan from the government.

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

    Yes, the lack of live student-faculty interaction hinders my ability to learn. In fact, a big drawback to having class online is that it is not in real time. Prior to my online experience, I went to a local junior college and I appreciated being physical present in class because I was able to get answers right away. In an online class, I have to wait on the answer.

    I had different experiences with the faculty at each of my online institutions. At Kaplan, we had live chats with the teacher once a week and we could hear the teacher speaking. In that learning environment, I felt like my teachers were more engaged with me.

    Now that I am working strictly within a forum classroom at Walden University, it is hard to tell if my teachers care about me. Still, even though it doesn’t compare to a traditional institution, they try to simulate interactivity. For instance, we have to participate in discussion and respond to our classmates’ discussion posts by the fifth day of the week. It doesn’t feel like enough interaction, although professors try to keep the students engaged in their coursework by reminding us about deadlines and other important notices.

  8. How do online classrooms work?

    Each online school has its own way of running the classroom. At Walden University, classes are presented to me in a forum-based discussion format, like a message board. Each week I participate in a discussion and respond to my classmates by a certain time and date. But at Kaplan University, lectures were presented through a chat room. I could hear my teacher and see slides or images as he or she lectured. Everyone in the class had the ability to communicate with the teacher in the chat room, but we had the option of attending the lecture live or viewing it later.

    Now that I am at Walden University, I am assigned homework weekly. After I complete the assignment, I submit it through Dropbox, which is a file-sharing program. Within the week, my assignment is graded and returned to me. For most assignments, there is a grading rubric available that tells me what I need to do to get a certain grade. For instance, I am required to follow a certain format for my writing and I have to answer questions in a structured, grammatically correct way.

    Although I haven’t had any tests at Walden University so far, I was assessed through midterms, tests and quizzes at Kaplan University. They were multiple choice assessments that were graded electronically, so the results were available as soon as I completed them.

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

    In order to take online classes you have to know how to use the appropriate software, but you do not have to be too savvy. Programs like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are especially important to know. To study online, you have to know how to search the Internet for information and you need the ability to determine when information is reliable and when it isn’t.

    I am quite familiar with computers since I did graphic design for a long time. I have never had technical trouble with any online school but I know there is some technical help available.

    If you don’t have the necessary computer skills going into an online educational program, I suggest that you take a basic course from your school. You could also try to play around with the software and see if you can learn independently.

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

    I can make friends in the online school setting, but it is challenging. I have the ability to communicate with my peers since we have exchanged e-mail addresses. I am also able to communicate through the discussion board. There are also specific areas of the website that are dedicated to interacting with other students. Mostly though, I have kept in touch with classmates who I have made friendships with through other resources, like Facebook.

Get to know Tanya

Concentration
Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Public Administration
Expected Graduation
-
Total Time Enrolled
6 months
Age
0

Biography

Tanya Faison is studying to earn her online Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Public Administration at Walden University. She chose to study political science because she is interested in civil rights issues. Before transferring to Walden University, Tanya attended Kaplan University online.

Tanya decided to study online in order to fit classes around her schedule, which often changes. By attending college online, she is able to access her classes at any time of the day.