Well it's over! I just completed my first online college course at Eastern New Mexico University Roswell (ENMUR). Time sure has flown by! It seems like just yesterday that I was signing up for the course. Now, I have my first online college credit hours under my belt.
We have written about ENMUR in the past. FAA columnist Bill O’ Brien discussed how the University's online degree program works in his article College Degrees: What's available and affordable for mechanics. Basically, the university awards A&P mechanics 72 college credits toward an 84-credit associate's degree in applied science degree in aviation maintenance technology. So to earn the degree, you need only to complete four, three-credit-hour courses. The courses are:
- Univ 101: Freshman seminar
- Eng 102: English composition
- Comm 101: Interpersonal Communications
- Math 107: Intermediate Algebra
I enrolled in the university and signed up for my first course – University 101: Freshman Seminar. I must admit that I thought this course would be a waste of time. After all, it was probably designed for young wet-behind-the-ears high school graduates. What could a 39-year-old possibly learn from such a course? But it was a required course, so I resigned myself to get through it.
How the course works
The online course program was easy to pick up. You log in to the virtual classroom from any computer with internet access. There are no regularly scheduled class times. You can log on at your convenience, 24 hours a day. Once logged on, you can view any assignments that the instructor has posted. There is a discussion area where you can post comments or questions to other students or to the instructor. Tests are scheduled throughout the course, and you just log on to the test and take it before the deadline.
There are several benefits to the course. For an accredited degree program, the tuition fees are very reasonable. The other obvious advantage is the flexibility of the schedule. Unlike a brick and mortar classroom such as a night course at your local community college, there is no set class time. You are responsible to ensure you log in on a regular basis, turn in all assignments by their due date, and take tests by the deadline.
One aspect that may be a drawback for some is that there is no live interaction. Online courses require discipline to manage your time and pace yourself in a self-study atmosphere. Even though there is no regularly scheduled class time, if you travel a lot (as I do) it can be challenging to ensure you devote enough time to the class. But with some determination and willpower, it can be done!
By the way, the class I took was far from the waste of time I thought it would be. I gained a lot of knowledge from the class, knowledge that I can apply to both classwork and the job. Some of the lessons taught included time management, memory skills, note taking, critical thinking, and communication. I would recommend this course and the online degree program in whole to any aircraft maintenance professional!
I would estimate that at least 80 percent of my classmates were aircraft maintenance professionals. We had a QA inspector with NetJets, several Delta mechanics, a maintenance supervisor for Frontier Airlines, a CASS process improvement and risk specialist from Astar Air Cargo, a director of quality control from Lynden Air Cargo in Anchorage, Alaska, and even a mechanic working on UH-1H/V Hueys in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. Congratulations to all my classmates who made the commitment to take this first step in advancing their education!
Have you taken any online courses? What feedback or suggestion would you give to someone considering taking an online course?
Thanks for reading, and your feedback is always appreciated!