Online programs offer flexibility
As a full-time flight attendant, Michael Bounds can’t always predict his schedule from week to week.
But he will be graduating from Tidewater Community College with associate degrees in business administration and accounting, thanks to the flexibility of online course work.
TCC offers eight associate degrees and two certificate programs that can be completed entirely online:
- Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
- Certificate – Accounting Specialist
- Associate of Applied Science in Management
- Associate of Science in Business Administration
- Associate of Science in Social Sciences
- Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts
- Associate of Science in General Studies
- Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology
- Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
- Career Studies Certificate – Law Enforcement
In addition to the programs above, TCC students can take a multitude of classes online in a number of disciplines.
“Many of my coworkers are surprised when they realize I’m going to college full time,” said Bounds, who plans to pursue his bachelor’s in international marketing and financing at either Old Dominion University or Virginia Wesleyan College.
“It’s not unusual for me to be on my computer at home at 3 a.m. working in my office. The beauty of online is the flexibility to be in class at a time and place that’s convenient to you,” he said.
The online TCC programs let students complete all of their required course work regardless of geography, level of physical ability or schedule restrictions.
All that’s necessary is a computer with a reliable Internet connection, though some basic computer skills are helpful, including knowing how to upload content and navigate the Web.
TCC provides comprehensive services to facilitate online learning for students.
But make no mistake: Online degrees require a significant time commitment. Professor Debbie Edson, who teaches Spanish online at TCC, said successful students must be self-directed and able to follow a schedule without constant reminders of upcoming due dates for assignments.
“Some students think because they’re not going to class every day, an online degree will take a lot less time,” Edson said. “But an online class is the same amount of work, if not more.”
She strives to create an engaged learning environment by having her students use Skype to practice their Spanish. Often professors use discussion board threads to create interaction among online students.
Bounds said he developed rapport with professors by going to office hours at least once. “Many of my instructors appreciated that. That shows you’re a real person, not just a name with a number.”
Despite completing all but two of his classes online, he felt a part of college life at TCC. He was one of nine business students who traveled to Denmark in fall 2015 as part of the college’s first exchange program abroad.
He also sat on TCC’s Global Intercultural Learning Committee and attends regular leadership seminars on the Virginia Beach Campus.
Professor Edson said online learning is a fabulous option. “It takes a student who is highly motivated with excellent time management skills who is willing to do what it takes to get their work done.”