Taking an Online Master's Program: In It Together

Taking an Online Master's Program: In It Together

Graduate Year: 2017

When people find out I’m getting my Master’s in Strategic Communication online, one of the first questions they ask me is if I miss being in a classroom. Admittedly it took some getting used to, but I can honestly say I am grateful for the experience. The online program has given me the opportunity to earn the degree I want even though I live five hours from campus. The format also gives me the chance to plan time to complete discussions and assignments according to my work schedule. And just because the courses are taught online doesn’t mean they aren’t interactive!

While some classmates are around for a class or two, there is a group of 14 of us who have consistently been in classes together since day one, and I love working with all of them. We’ve become our own little support group by encouraging each other when we’re feeling stressed about a deadline and congratulating each other on the successful completion of another class. We share interesting articles and opportunities and, even though we’re not physically together, I know we all feel like we’re in it together. It would’ve been easy for everyone to complete classes in their own little bubbles, but I am so thankful we chose not to!

Discussion posts are a core element of our classes that allow us to synthesize our readings and lectures with the assignments we’re working on each week. This is one of my favorite points of the online program, because I learn something new every week from my classmates. Our careers and perspectives are very different, and that diversity causes us to think critically each in completing both our discussion posts and our replies to each other. I enjoy the opportunity to read my classmates’ opinions and insights, and that is a point that I think makes the online format unique. In a regular classroom setting, there may not always be an opportunity for everyone to voice their thoughts, but in an online course, everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard.

When I started the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, I wasn’t exactly sure how the lectures would work, and how I would do learning from an online video. Videos are often recorded by the course developer which gives students great insight, and I like that I can replay a video if I missed something or want to hear it again. Many of the professors record their own videos on a weekly basis, too. In my international public communication and research for strategic communication courses, the professors were fantastic about posting videos around assignments, feedback or information that they thought would be interesting to us. These videos are a great way to get to know the professors, and I always look forward to them.

I would encourage anyone who is considering an online course to take it! I also recommend putting yourself out there to meet new people and taking the time to get to know your classmates and professors. I know you’ll be glad you did!

To learn more about American University's online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, request more information or call toll free at 855-725-7614.

  • About the Author

    Jennifer Rohrig

    Jennifer Rohrig is currently in her third semester of American University’s MA in Strategic Communication program. She graduated summa cum laude from Bethany College in Bethany, WV, with a BA in public relations. She currently works as a pharmaceutical sales specialist. She serves as a volunteer through the Junior League of Wheeling and also through the American Heart Association. In her spare time, she enjoys all Pittsburgh sports, following politics, gardening, and antiquing. She and her husband, Shawn, live in Wheeling, WV with their five rescue dogs.