September 15 is National Online Learning Day, which recognizes students—like Carola Terreni ’19—who have thrived as a member of an online learning community. Because of online program offerings through the Van Loan School at Endicott College, Terreni was able to achieve her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in trauma studies while simultaneously raising five children and working full-time as an expressive arts therapist in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Van Loan makes it possible for students, both locally and globally, to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in a way that is affordable and convenient. In fact, all of Van Loan’s undergraduate programs and many graduate programs are available 100 percent online. The undergraduate programs strive to have an embodied connection, with many faculty getting students out in their communities to enhance learning. Blended options, which offer courses that are taught partially online and on-site, are also available.
After learning about Endicott’s flexible learning options, generous transfer credit policy, and abundance of multimedia online classes, Terreni decided to transfer her 52 credits from her previous institutions and enroll at Van Loan. Immediately upon joining the online community, she was able to tune-in to welcome videos from her professors, allowing her to put a face to a name and learn their teaching approaches. Terreni also worked closely with her advisor, Dean of Van Loan Undergraduate Programs, Dr. Laura Douglass, to make sure that all course materials were available to her in Argentina and that she was prepared for each class.
In fact, Terreni says that it was the personal relationship she was able to develop with her advisor and professors that made her experience at Van Loan so positive. “It was a surprise to me that an online community could be so engaging, collaborative, and supportive.” Terreni shares that her professors made her feel engaged with the material, the same way she would if she had been in a physical classroom.
Van Loan’s learning platform and advanced teaching techniques create a rich online experience for students like Terreni. Professors lead engaging discussions and may ask students to view documentaries, lectures, and online assets from various sources to help create a well-rounded online learning program. And, similar to on-site classes, online classes offer variety, support, and multiple ways to stay in touch with faculty and classmates.
“Endicott is known for experiential learning, and that is something we strive to replicate in our online courses,” says Douglass. “The online learning environment connects students with their academic field, professionals across the globe, and professors who care about the progress of each student. This year we had online students attend our study abroad trip to Madrid–which was a great way for them to connect with professors and peers in a global setting.”
Let’s hear from Terreni, in her own words, about her experience as an online learner at Van Loan.
As an online student, were you able to develop relationships with your professors and peers?
Through my years at Van Loan, I developed lasting relationships with professors and fellow students. It was a surprise to me that an online community could be so engaging, collaborative, and supportive. I am in touch with several peers from past courses and I feel a part of an online community very much as if we were all in a “real” classroom.
Do you feel like your professors were accessible to you as an online student?
My professors were a key element in the excellent experience I have had at Van Loan. Before Endicott, I took a few courses at another university and the difference is in the relationship with my professors and in the way they were able to make us feel engaged with the material and as if we were in an actual classroom.
Favorite part about being an online student? Benefits?
My favorite part about being an online student is that I can live at home in Argentina with my family and still be able to finish the degree I started in the U.S. many years ago. I can pack and organize my study days around my work schedule. Also, my personal and work life is immensely enriched by my studies.
What is next for you? Future plans for online learning?
I plan to pursue a master’s in expressive therapies because having a graduate degree from a U.S. university opens the door for me to work worldwide.
Learn more about Van Loan’s certificate, associate, bachelor, master’s, and doctoral online degree programs at vanloan.endicott.edu.