Tim Parker is a full-time band director for a middle school and a high school. Like many UC students, earning his Master of Education allows him to increase his pay and puts him on the path to become a principal. Tim considers himself incredibly fortunate to have had great teachers while he was a student, and they inspired him to become an educator.
To the people who say that distance learning is not as good as going to school on campus, Tim just says “You’re right; it’s better.” Learning online forces you to be more involved. Students can’t just sit in the back and go through the motions. The cohort system requires you to interact with other students, to make posts, and to be involved in discussions. “A lot of people stay quiet in a room full of people, but they are more inclined to share ideas in an online setting.” Sharing more ideas and understanding different perspectives leads UC students to deeper, more effective conversations. Tim’s wife actually went through an online program without a cohort and didn’t get nearly as much from her program. “By your second year, the people in your cohort aren’t just classmates, but friends and professional colleagues.”
The other benefit of online learning is being able to immediately implement the skills and knowledge you are gaining in the program in your own school. “I’m not the type of person who enjoys sitting in the teacher’s lounge—I want to spend as much time in front of the kids as possible. Earning my degree online allows me to do just that.”
Apart from the cohort and the online format, the biggest reason Tim loved the UC program was the support he received. Every faculty member at UC was approachable and served him, not vice versa. “I felt like the faculty was always out for my best interest.” And their expertise was readily apparent: answers and feedback are based on real experience, not just something out of a book.
The relationship he developed with his facilitator is something he cherishes to this day. “We had different opinions about everything when I started.” But over the course of his education, he grew to respect and value the perspectives his facilitator exposed him to. “I bounce ideas and plans off him all of the time now, and I consider him a good friend.”