Student’s perspective: An adult learner navigates asynchronous online courses


I remember it like it was yesterday: the look on my dad’s face when I told him he was going to be a grandfather before I graduated from high school. He was discouraged. My family always planned for me to get a traditional college education. At this point, however, my plans for a degree in English seemed to fade before our eyes.

I graduated from high school a few months after my daughter was born, and soon after, I became the sole breadwinner for my new family. Over the years, I have tried more than once to enroll in college courses, but with no support system, I quickly gave up each time.

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What motivated me to return to college as an active adult

Moving forward 15 years: A big part of my decision to go back to college is to set a good example for my teenage daughter. I want her to have it easier than me. So I decided to show her how hard it is to go to school full time while working a full time job.

I also wanted to make my girlfriend proud. Meeting her almost two years ago was one of the pivotal moments in my life. Here is finally someone who I truly believe will support me no matter what, and that is something I have sorely missed in the past. It was during one of our long conversations that I realized going to college was more than a pipe dream.

READ MORE: A student offers six tips to help online learners with ADHD.

Factors I Considered When Choosing a College

I started looking for a college that would meet the needs of a working adult. I work in a rotating shift, so I needed a school that was accessible when I was awake and ready to study. As the father of a teenage girl, I also needed affordable tuition.

The final requirement was a good English program. It could potentially open so many doors: an opportunity to become an English teacher, college professor, editor, journalist, or even marketer.

After careful consideration, I have chosen to register for Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) for its convenience, affordability and quality program offerings. SNHU’s flexible online courses seemed like the perfect fit.

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Why do adult learners prefer asynchronous learning?

I started my first term at SNHU in the fall of 2021. As an adult learner new to online classes, I want to share some insights into what has worked for me.

I really appreciate the fact that SNHU’s online terms are only for eight weeks. The idea of ​​packing an entire course into two months made me nervous at first. But SNHU made e-learning work by cutting the lessons down to the most important points, which I really like. Since students are considered full-time if they take two courses per term, it allows me to focus more on each subject.

I also appreciate the quick responses from my instructors. Getting a quick response lets me know immediately what I’m doing well and what I need to do to improve. It also helps that the discussion forum on our learning management system feels like an in-person chat experience. I’ve always enjoyed interacting with my peers, but in the absence of that, an online forum is an acceptable replacement.

I have no doubt that this journey ahead of me will be full of challenges and rewards. A childhood dream has become a possible reality thanks to the advancement and accessibility of technology.

I don’t think it will be easy. Why should this be so? Nothing of this importance should be. But with the support of my friends and family, and the staff at SNHU, I am confident that I can achieve my goals. The positive impact a college degree could have on my personal and professional life will be worth it.

Discover our Distance Learning Journal Series to see what else students have to say about their virtual classroom experiences.


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