Lumberjack Lifestyles: Myth-busting, online learning style

A student working on a laptop

By Tabitha Frable

NAU Online Student

I had just graduated from community college and was eager to select a university to attend in Fall 2019. I felt stifled at the thought of continuing with my prior major and knew I wanted something related, but different. My options for in-person learning and degree majors were limited, and I figured I would have to settle.

I received some advice from a colleague to look into what NAU’s online programs had to offer. Considering online education opened up my options greatly and really allowed me the freedom to explore majors that would best fit my overall goals and career ambitions. I am finishing up my last three classes in order to obtain my bachelor’s degree in public administration.

Despite the myths of online learning, I can still maintain a high GPA, work a full-time and part-time job and raise two young children, all while attending NAU online full-time!

Myth 1: There is no real structure in online classes.

Online classes with NAU are both structured and flexible. Courses have required readings/activities, due dates and detailed instructions provided within BbLearn and the course syllabus. Courses are structured to space out discussion posts, writing assignments and quizzes/exams to maximize efficiency and allow adequate time to digest the material. Professors are active within the courses and often elicit feedback and discussion from students to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Myth 2: There is no real interaction in online classes.

While you may not be sitting across from your peers while you study, they are always there. Online classroom interaction is actually an interesting concept when you consider the different people participating in online activities from various settings and times. You could end up working really closely with peers or engaging in meaningful discussions because you have the control of picking that conversation up when you can dedicate the time to do so. There is no ‘end of class’ time to cut off these discussions, and without the distraction of in-person classroom spaces, you can respond thoughtfully.

Myth 3: There isn’t adequate support available in managing an online education.

In my time with NAU, I have found that the university offers a slew of resources and every student has a team of staff working endlessly to ensure their academic success. I was provided individualized support as a student almost immediately. My adviser began to set the standard during our first couple of meetings when she patiently answered all of my questions about my new major and new classes.

NAU also goes above and beyond by providing peer mentor support to every first-time online student. My own Jacks Online Peer Mentor listened to me voice my anxiety about maintaining my 4.0 GPA and in turn provided me with study and time management tips pertinent to online classes. She made me feel so much better about beginning my full-time course load and followed up regularly with all of the free online resources that were available to me.

NAU Communications