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Online Learning: A Father’s Point of View

by Scott Christopher

Jun 17, 2019, 9:00 AM.

What my master’s degree experience has been like.

Online learning is all about flexibility. Since I live in the coastal region of Central Florida, driving to either Orlando or Jacksonville for colleges there would make for a difficult commute and time crunch for my family. Online learning with Florida International University allows me to stay at home and more easily coordinate with my wife for dedicated class time. It really has saved my family time and money.

How I Handle Homework

I do my homework and projects based mostly around my wife's schedule. Since I watch our two-year-old daughter full-time, it is nearly impossible for me to complete much during the day. As soon as my wife gets home, we do a turnover and I start coursework. The majority of my work is done from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturdays are usually always dedicated to my classes. My wife and I agreed early on that weekends would have to be sacrificed, with the exception of Sunday church and family time.

We only have one child now, but even though my daughter is so young, she knows Daddy is doing "homework." I try to include her in as many things as possible and she understands the concept of having a teacher too. So, I think it is good for her to see me engaged in school and setting the example.

I Can Still Have a Life

Online learning is no doubt the most flexible way for those with spouses and/or children. I was fortunate to not have to work full-time during my program, but I have tremendous respect for my classmates who do. One disadvantage is trying to find a great "study spot" away from home because I don't live near a campus. However, since I am never required to be in class, it allows ample freedom for our family to continue with any plans we have. 

I Believe Credibility Counts

I never took an online course before my graduate courses at FIU. However, I was working in education as an academic advisor here in Central Florida, so I was confident I could make it work. When I chose FIU Online, it was because of the accelerated program option, freedom of online courses and the credibility of a "brick and mortar" school like FIU. Therefore, online learning was the best option for me. When I complete my final course this summer, I know for sure this program will be what I needed for myself and my family.

It Has Been so Fast

One of the benefits to my online program was it is accelerated. This allowed me to make a decision to leave my full-time job, be a stay-at-home dad and commit to my program, and get it completed faster than a traditional "in-seat" program. Full immersion in online learning is no doubt the most flexible option for parents who need to make their own schedule. I have heard of other parents in the program that do most of their work before their kids get up, I'm the opposite. So, it really allows you to fit your lifestyle and personality.

Meaningful interactions and relationships are possible virtually, so as long as you’re a self-motivated person, which most parents are, you will most likely love it.

Editor’s note: Scott will graduate with a master’s degree in Global Strategic Communications this summer. On behalf of FIU Online to all of our fully online dads like Scott, happy Father’s Day!

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