When deciding to enter a Master’s program inevitably, I knew it had to be an online course. The advantage of going to school online while being able to work full time was a significant precursor in deciding to go back. The convenience and flexibility offered in online courses are un-matched, with most learners being full-time workers and parents (Kauffman, 2015). With there being so many appealing attributes, online learning is growing at a rapid rate (Kauffman, 2015). In 2010, over 6.5 million people were taking at least one online course (Kauffman, 2015).
While there are many positive aspects of online learning, there are a few negatives to take into consideration, as well. When choosing an online course, you lack face-to-face interaction with peers and instructors (Kauffman, 2015). The lack of interaction was the biggest concern I had when entering this course. Not being able to have your questions answered right away as you would in a physical classroom is an example. However, the communication between Walden staff in all of my classes so far has been excellent. My academic advisor and all of the teachers have been quick to respond and answer and questions. They always ensure I understand what is being asked of me when they submit the reply.
The second biggest concern I have is finding clinical sites for my practicum courses in the MSN program. I live in a city that is saturated with Nurse Practitioner students, and that makes finding clinical sites difficult. Working with my academic advisor this week, I have nailed down the exact dates I will need practicum to ensure I have a deadline. According to Online Colleges (n.d.), one of the traits of a successful online learner is self-direction and self-efficiency. Taking the initiative, utilizing resources, and staying on schedule fall under this category (Online Colleges (n.d.). Previously, in my BSN program, we also had a practicum in the last quarter. During that time, I failed to utilize my resources and exercise self-direction and efficiency and didn’t meet the deadline for my practicum applications. By failing to meet the practicum deadline, I delayed one of my courses for six weeks, ultimately putting me behind. Although this was an inconvenience, it was a learning experience for me on time management and self- direction with online learning.
The third and final concern I had was writing Master’s level papers and discussions. The Writing Center was beneficial while obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree, and I will continue to utilize it as a resource to earn my MSN. With options such as help with writing, grammar and composition, APA format, and scholarly writing, you are provided an abundance of tools to ensure success (Walden University Writing Center, 2019).
In conclusion, I have many resources available to me on a professional and academic level. Whether it be my academic advisor, the writing center, a mentor, or colleague in addition to personal discipline and accountability makes me prepared to take MSN courses.