In 2003, I decided I was going back to school, 6 years after graduating from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Elementary Education. I was still teaching and in debt. I could not afford to quit my job and become a full time student. But I was determined to advance myself professionally and at that time I believed going back to school was the only way.
So before I knew it, I found myself enrolling in a 2 year online program with the University of Maryland University College. I figured, hey, an online program can't be that bad, many people are doing it.
Then it reality hit me, "Girl, are you nuts? Do you remember how you were the first time as a college student? And then you had more free time." I was not the most disciplined person at that time and I knew I had poor time management skills. I also did not like using computers, yep I said it. I had technology-phobia. If my undergraduate days were any indication of how I would perform, I knew I was in for a rough time.
That first semester was an eye opener. My anticipation was worse than the reality. I did face a few bumps but received a lot more rewards. Here's what I learned:
1) I'm a way better online student, in the traditional classroom I was petrified most of the time to dare say anything, even less to argue a point.
2) I loved instructors that made themselves available by a variety of means, phone, email, telephone conferences, etc. They also seemed more creative, which made classes interesting.
3) Time management is crucial. I had to set a specific time and place during the week to dedicate to my classes. I created a schedule that was comfortable and doable and stuck with it.
4) I love technology for teaching and learning!
I loved it so much, that not only did I earn a graduate certificate in Distance Education: Teaching at a Distance, I went back to school, online, to obtain my Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology and Distance Education so that I can help others see the benefits of technology in education.