3 Reasons You Can Trust Your Instructors
Attending an online university may come with certain fears. If it’s your first time back to school in a while, you may wonder how the online classroom works or if you’ll be able to keep up with the reading or assignments. You may approach earning an online degree as a solitary venture, but it’s really not. There are resources, from counselors and advisors to social network communities and the instructors. Here are three excellent reasons you can trust your instructors as you make your way toward your degree.
# 1 – They Are Pracademics with Experience That Spans the Boundaries of Academia and Practice.
A “pracademic” is a member of an institution of learning who has extensive background, methods, and knowledge of a specific discipline and uses that experience in the course of instruction. Paul L. Posner, director in the Master in Public Administration program at George Mason University, writes, “…a Pracademic is a person whose career spans the boundaries of academia and practice.” Posner says that pracademics have significant experience in both worlds and can jump between them with ease. In other words, your instructors have experience in the fields that they teach. They can connect theory to what happens in the real world.
# 2 - They Provide Timely Advice, Coaching, Training, and Feedback.
Your instructors are highly skilled and experienced in their respective fields. They use their expertise to provide timely advice, coaching, training, and feedback. They help you make the intellectual connections needed to be successful in your chosen discipline. Ultimately, the goal is for you to increase your knowledge, build upon your strengths, and grow as you make new discoveries. Your instructors are student-centered. They can provide you with a meaningful and gratifying learning experience, academic rigor, and the service you need to learn. Your instructors are working hard to prepare adult learners like you for leadership in your personal and professional life in the 21st century.
# 3 - They Understand Adult Learners’ Prior Skills and Knowledge, and They Promote Social and Active Learning.
Adult learners have accumulated a lot more life experience than younger college students. Your instructors can tap into your experience for practical learning activities. Furthermore, you are readily able to relate new facts to past experiences.
The online classroom is the platform where the pracedemic practices his or her craft, and you can take action on what you learn. Your faculty promotes student engagement so they can display their knowledge through social and active learning methods and process. As pracedemics, your instructors promote active learning, which is the process of doing and observing and the process of dialogue with self and others. So much engagement is possible within an online course. All who participate influence and motivate each other.
Our colleague, Dr. Ron Beach, shared this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. One of the exciting aspects of being a scholar is that we have the opportunity to touch so many people and the ripple effect is huge.” Your instructors do exactly that. They teach, discover, research, and pay it forward. They all have a strong passion and purpose to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. As pracademics, their role is vital to promoting the university’s mission. So as they facilitate their students’ learning, they remember that their skills and experience, combined with their students’ thirst for knowledge, creates a dynamic atmosphere for fostering learning and growth.
You are in a unique and special situation in your learning journey. You are fortunate in that your instructors have extensive experience in their fields, along with a desire to help others achieve their professional goals. These instructors are also committed to getting to know you as an individual and helping you reach those dreams you had when you enrolled. So the next time your instructor gives you feedback about an assignment, remember, that same instructor is preparing you for excellence in your life.
Bill is an instructor and Kevin is an Associate Professor in the Forbes™ School of Business at Ashford University.
Beach, R. (2013). Personal Conversation, Ashford University.
Posner, P. L. (2009). The Pracademic: An Agenda for Re-engaging Practitioners and Academics. Public Budgeting and Finance, 29(1), 12-26.
Wynne, R. (n.d.). Characteristics of adult learners. Retrieved from http://www.assetproject.info/learner_methodologies/before/characteristics.htm