Thriving in Walden’s Online Classroom
I started [at Walden] in January of 2009, and that was my first experience in online education. I had not taught online or taken an online class. My college experience was very much prior to online opportunities, so it was not something that I’d been around.
Fell in love with that system right away. There was so much to appreciate about the online education system—the fact that I could attend class whenever and wherever I would be. Since I’ve started, I’ve continued traveling, for Teacher of the Year and for personal travel. I’ve attended class from Washington, D.C., from San Antonio; it doesn’t matter. Nobody knows where I am; I’m just participating in discussion, adding my posts, submitting my lessons, and it’s working perfectly.
I have grown to really appreciate is [that] most of the class is asynchronous, so I can see [what has] gone on, then I can become part of that discussion at my own convenience.
I noticed in my master’s degree program, when I was sitting in a class, there were 30 or 40 people in the class, discussion gets rolling and you’re working on an idea in your mind. [But] it’s not formulated, so I didn’t want to blurt it out; I wasn’t ready to join in the conversation yet.
By the time I formulated the idea really well and I was ready to participate, the discussion had gone on to something else and it would seem foolish or out of place to go back: “I’d like to comment on where we were ten minutes ago.” You don’t want to do that to a class.
In the online format, that’s perfectly fine. [If] I need 10 minutes to think about this, or I need to go out for my run and come back after an hour—and while I’m on my run, I’ve formulated my opinion—now I go in and I add it in, and it’s perfect.
I like having the ability to think about a topic a little bit more, maybe even go do some research before I actually post my thoughts. I think that’s really valuable.