By: Anne Gribbins, EKU master’s of public administration student
The coronavirus pandemic has been an unprecedented time for everyone, and students are no exception. As a full-time, on campus EKU MPA student, the pandemic completely altered the way I am receiving my education. Midway through the semester, along with many other students in this country and around the world, my courses were shifted to a 100% online format. Just like that, without warning or a final in-person meeting with my professors to discuss changes, everything was online.
Initially, while I knew this change was absolutely necessary, I was a bit apprehensive about adjusting to the online format. As an MPA student at EKU, I had become accustomed to very small class sizes and close relationships with professors, which helped to facilitate learning. Rigorous class discussions with my classmates and professors regarding course content had become my new favorite way to learn. I learned so much in my on-campus courses, and I thought there was absolutely no way that an online course format could measure up to these experiences. I was very wrong.
I have learned just as much, if not more, through my courses in the online format as I did in my on-campus courses. Exciting and educational class discussions have still been facilitated through discussion board platforms, professors have been available 24/7 to assist, and course curriculum has been easy to learn through video lecture presentations. Those small class sizes and personal relationships with professors can still be felt through the online format of these courses.
As it turns out, the coronavirus pandemic happened to be a great introduction to all EKU MPA courses being taught in an online format for students and faculty. As of now, all EKU MPA courses will be taught exclusively online. After experiencing this format during the coronavirus pandemic, I am convinced that the online MPA program at EKU will provide the same quality education as they did in their on-campus program.
If you are new to learning online, I made a short list of a few suggestions to ensure you succeed based on what I learned during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Develop a routine and stick to it
- Set aside time daily to focus on course work
- Reach out to your professors; just because you’re an online student does not mean you cannot foster close relationships with them
- Give everything you can to class discussions; you will be amazed at how much you can learn from your classmates
- Stay organized with your assignment due dates and avoid procrastination
The world is changing and the EKU MPA program is shifting with it. Do not be hesitant about the online course format – embrace it and enjoy the flexibility of achieving your MPA degree online!