In the last year, have you worked from home? Have you used Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or another videoconferencing app? The answers to these questions are more likely to be yes than ever before. According to an April 2020 Gallup poll, 62 percent of Americans worked from home due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders—a percentage that doubled from just one month prior.
As a society, we have learned to adapt to the changing demands in the workforce and because of that you are likely one step closer to overcoming some of the hurdles of going back to college as an adult. Enrolling in a program that offers online or videoconferenced classes can provide the same flexibility as working from home so enhancing your education is easier than ever.
Why should I choose a program that offers classes via videoconferencing?
The answer to that question is simple. Taking a class via Zoom provides flexibility and convenience while maintaining the benefits of face-to-face faculty-student interaction. Completing a program in a “virtual classroom” such as Zoom, allows students to easily join from anywhere in the world but without the commute. Students are able to talk through business dilemmas or complicated issues through the convenience of break-out sessions and small group discussions, just like you would for an in-person course.
How do I adjust to the online format for classes?
This can be intimidating—especially if you have not worked from home or used videoconferencing apps before. While it does take time to adjust to interacting with people through a screen, tech support is available, and you’ll be a pro in no time. Before your classes begin, see if your enrollment counselor, a family member or friend is willing to chat with you through a videoconferencing app. Practice muting your mic, typing out questions and joining a break out room.
How do I manage the course load?
This also can be a challenge, but achieving your goals will always come with challenges. Working adults with kids or active schedules should look for a program that offers evening classes so that one night each week is devoted solely to class time. Remember, when you sign up for an online program, you will be able to attend class and stay connected even if you are traveling for business or want to join the family on a vacation.
Faculty also understand the demands and challenges of today’s workplace. Make sure you stay in contact with your professors early and often, for tips/help with both the coursework and maintaining your busy life. The face-to-face time with faculty and classmates through videoconferencing is invaluable. It holds you accountable and keeps you better engaged with the course content than a program where you work at your own pace.
What is an accelerated program?
Many schools build their programs for working adults into six- or eight-week chunks so that students can focus on one class at a time. For example, maybe you would take Management 101 for six weeks and then the next week you would start Communication in the Workplace. If you want to move through the program a little faster, ask if the college offers accelerated programs. This allows students to take two courses (on different nights of the week) at the same time.
Are there any other benefits of completing a program by videoconference?
Networking is one of the greatest benefits of being a part of program that meets virtually. For many students, these connections result in job or business opportunities. For others, friendships formed in a virtual classroom can continue for a lifetime. You will also become more technologically savvy, and you will develop the skills to lead in an ever-changing workforce.
The dedicated faculty and staff at Bluffton University ensure supportive, cohort-based programs for degree completion, MBA or MAEd. You will take classes with the same group of students and graduate as a unit. Our 92 percent completion rate is well above the national average, and Bluffton MBA graduates routinely say the program has changed their lives.
Our admissions staff offers virtual visits so you can experience firsthand what it means to connect via Zoom. It’s easy and free to speak with an enrollment counselor and to apply. Plus, the GMAT or other standardized tests are not required.
Written by 2020 Bluffton University MBA graduate Claire Clay, marketing coordinator, with comments from Dr. Melissa Green, director of graduate programs in business.