Iva Sumwalt wasn’t sure that online education was for her – she considered herself a traditional student who could only be successful in a classroom setting. Plus, she was juggling a full-time job and her family with her education. However, when she found Ball State’s bachelor’s degree completion program in early childhood education, she knew she’d found the right fit.
“Ball State’s tuition was less, which was an important factor. And the program allows you to do your classroom observations and practicum at your own site, so you don’t lose work, time, or money.”
Q: Why did you choose this program?
It sparked my interest that this was a program designed for childcare professionals who work full time and because the professors who are teaching the online classes are the same early childhood faculty who are teaching classes on campus.
Ball State’s tuition was less, which was an important factor. And the program allows you to do your classroom observations and practicum at your own site, so you don’t lose work, time, or money.
Q: Any surprises?
This program made me believe that I could actually do this – that I could get a degree online. I had to motivate myself to succeed, and I was responsible for effectively managing my time and resources. I’m “old school” and I thought I needed face-to-face instruction all the time, but I learned that I can take classes without sitting in front of a professor.
I also connected more to classmates online than I would have in a traditional classroom. I was able to connect with them on an individual basis because we were working in the same field.
I was also surprised that I didn’t have to be a computer expert to complete these classes.
Q: Why was online education right for you?
Online education was right for me because I had to commit and follow through. Flexibility is another great advantage. I could access my courses anytime and anywhere as long as I had Internet. I could pause videos of lectures so that I could write notes down and then go back to the lecture.
Q: Were there faculty or advisors who were particularly helpful?
My advisor, Katie Benson, was great. She kept me updated with class information and on what to expect in the upcoming semesters.
The faculty were great, too. They understood me as a person and a full-time employee. I had a few professors for multiple classes and got to know them quite well. Sometimes they would email me to see how I was doing in my classes and that meant a lot to me.