Helene Finney ’18
Before I began my journey to an online degree, I envisioned a virtual student as a person alone in a room, their face bathed in the glow of a computer screen, struggling to learn in an impersonal environment. My actual experience with Houghton’s online program couldn’t be further than my initial vision. I felt involved with the material thanks to the support and dedication of all my professors. I felt connected to my fellow students thanks to the virtual forums. I might have been alone in a room, but I didn’t feel alone. I felt like I was part of a dynamic community of students and professors who were all dedicated to learning together.
One of the first courses that I took was Student Success Seminar, which teaches students how to manage their work and personal obligations with the additional time that school will place on them as well as how to navigate the online platform. Considering that an online environment can feel isolating, this class showed me how to feel connected with my fellow students and my professors. Communicating with others through the forums allowed me to feel like I was part of the Houghton community even though I live thousands of miles away. Suddenly, distance learning didn’t feel so distant and I felt like I knew my professors and fellow students as well as, if not better, than I would have if we were in the same room.