Online MS in Communication Testimonials
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Read stories from the graduates of Purdue’s MS in Communication to learn why they returned to school, what the online experience was like, and how the online program set them apart in their careers.
What was your career experience at the time you returned to school?
I worked for over ten years, specifically in the world of online communications: website management, website news stories, and website editing plus social media coordination.
You were pretty established at the time you returned to school, how did your MS in Communication help you in your career?
In short, it furthered my career. While in the midst of my studies, our university inaugurated a new president, formed a new communication and marketing division, and flipped my career inside out.
Because of my education at Purdue, I became bolder in my management, well-rounded academically, and strategic in my thinking.
As a result, I was named to a brand new leadership position for Anderson University: Director of Content Strategy and Public Relations. Without the new skillsets my professors and classmates challenged me with in each course and assignment, my new career would not have been reachable.
What made you return to school?
I’ve taught military service members the ins and outs of military broadcasting for more than six years at the Defense Information School on Fort George G. Maryland — particularly writing, shooting and editing video stories. It occurred to me that while I enjoy teaching very much, I hadn’t been practicing my (other) communication skills since I started working at the school. I knew I needed to make myself more marketable for when I go back out in the job market.
What were the most important aspects of choosing a program?
I had three main things I was looking for in a graduate communications program:
First, I wanted it to be completely online. Not only do I work full-time, but I have a wife with a very demanding job that requires her to work some weekends and be on call, and we have two young children (a 3 year-old daughter and a son who is 20 months). The online classroom allowed me the flexibility I needed to balance my family, work and school.
I also wanted a school to cover a variety of material to broaden my communications skillset and give me a higher level of understanding of public relations, social media and marketing.
The third thing I was looking for was a reputable name. There are so many online schools that are marketed all over television, social media and everywhere you look promising to help your career take off. But I was looking for a school that people would know, respect and recognize when they saw it on my resume.
What was the online learning experience like for you?
I was able to balance my family/school/work life because the way the program is set up. Purdue’s online platform, Engage, is easy to use. The discussion boards let students and instructors exchange thoughts and ideas that allows for deeper learning and understanding. The courses are engaging and challenging and they cover a variety of subjects. I feel they set me up for future success.
What was learning online like? Did you feel disconnected?
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Brian Lamb School of Communications had the small school feel that I loved about my undergrad years – I was recognizing students in multiple courses and to my professors, I wasn’t just a number – I could easily reach them if needed.
What coursework drew you to the program?
I wanted more experience dealing with crises, public relations, and the area that has grown so much in a few short years – social media. Purdue offered all of that.
What was the main reason you choose Purdue?
I’ve always been fascinated by numbers - webpage analytics, a pitcher’s earned run average, my GPA. So when I began seriously considering Purdue’s Online Master of Science in Communication, I looked at the numbers.
Knowing that my degree is the top-ranked online graduate program in the country, I have assurance that the value of my education to employers and colleagues will only continue to grow. And I saw that courses were taught by top-notch faculty who are experienced as both educators and practitioners — so I would learn from the best in the communication field.
What did you like about the course offerings?
The overall plan of study was carefully laid out to include courses that provided the strongest knowledge base, while still allowing me to choose electives that best fit my long-term communication career goals.
What was learning online like?
The program includes a balanced blend of interactive discussions, instructor videos, scholarly readings, relevant textbooks, individual and group projects, and research projects, providing learners with ample opportunity to learn and apply strategic communication skills.
How did the program help you in your career?
The strategic communication and analytical thinking skills taught in the program allowed me to mature as a professional in the field of marketing and communication.
How do you feel about the level of 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 (on campus) career.
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 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.
Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program can be completed in just 20 months. It 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.
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*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.