As a non-traditional student, I’m often asked about my graduate school experience by friends and co-workers contemplating a Master’s degree. When I reflect on the many questions that I’ve faced, one sticks out – “Is there adequate interaction between students and faculty in online courses?” For all of you wondering this same question, I answer you this: throughout the last 18 months of my online graduate coursework, I’ve had more quality communication with Purdue faculty than I did through much of my undergraduate career.
To demonstrate my point, I have chosen three words that best describe my experience with the Purdue faculty in the online Master’s of Communication program.
Adept. I have been impressed by the incredibly diverse experience of Purdue faculty. In addition to a PhD, the faculty members bring a worldview not easily found at other institutions. They leverage academic principles and combine them with their vast experience in the corporate sector. They bring decades of real world working experience and apply it to discussions, projects, problem solving and more.
Accessible. Before I started the online Master’s program, I had never taken an online course. Naturally, much like my friends, I was anxious about how online courses would impact my learning. How can I connect with the professor when I won’t see them in a classroom setting 2-4 times a week? To my surprise, I’ve never had an issue accessing my Purdue faculty. They are considerate in providing timely correspondence and making sure that you get anything and everything you need from them. Beyond the classroom, even Dr. Collins, the Program Director, has been very open to communication and quick to respond.
Active. Education is a two-fold effort – your effort and the professor’s. Now, I don’t know you, so I can’t speak to the quality of your effort, but I can speak to that of the professors. They are ready and willing to be active participants in your educational journey. If you send them an email, they will respond. If you message them on the discussion board, they will respond. However, their activity is not limited to a timely email response. Although the courses are online, they play the same role a professor would in a traditional graduate course. The faculty engage with students regularly by participating in the weekly discussion boards, providing feedback and assisting on projects.
As working professional, I have been able to glean many wonderful insights from the adept, accessible and active Purdue faculty. I know they want me to succeed both inside and outside of the virtual classroom!
Jamie Ingersoll is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.
*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.