“Are we being prepared for the real world?”
This is a question many students ask themselves during the course of their schooling and it is constantly reiterated in today’s social and educational climates. There has even been an entire website built upon this question!
There are obviously a number of different things that students look for when they’re trying to gauge different programs and decide in which school to enroll. For some students, the ability to practically apply what they are learning in their classes to their jobs is at the top of their list. One of these students is Elisa Shackelton, who worked on her Master’s in the Agricultural Extension Education program through Colorado State University Continuing Education. “I was able to immediately put to use the skills and knowledge gained from my Ag Extension program,” says Shackelton.
Not only was there a quick turn around rate from learning to using, Shackelton was also able to glean a broad range of information which almost all related to her job in some form. “The Ag Extension Education program allowed me to tailor my coursework to topics that both fit my professional development goals and pertained to local issues addressed through my job,” explains Shackelton. “Nearly every course had some application.”
Shackelton’s experience, while exceptional, is not unique. Diane Hegeman enrolled in Colorado State’s Community College Leadership doctoral program and hasn’t looked back since. “Completing the program allowed me to gain experiences that contribute daily to my success as a community college leader,” says Hegeman. “I use something that I learned from my cohort colleagues, faculty, and course content every day.”
Steve Brandl, a Systems Engineering Continuing Education student, states “Even though I’ve just had less than a year in the program, there are pieces that I’ve already used and applied to my job. I’ve already seen the benefits in a lot of the work I do every day.” In fact, Brandl received a promotion related to his improved job performance. “This is a really great opportunity for someone looking to move up in the field,” says Brandl.
For these students and many more, lessons learned through their online and distance education programs are immediately transferable to their everyday lives, which has allowed them to reap the benefits of their continued education right away. Has this been your experience? Or is applicability not something you worry about too much? What is important to you as a student? We’d love to hear what you think! Remember, it’s all about you!