Tagged: part-time students

Is your career on the right track?

Gustavo Siguenza never expected to be where he is today.

Gustavo Siguenza, Bachelor of Science, Project Management, 2019

A carpenter from Dorchester, Siguenza always wanted to go to college but never had the chance. “I didn’t finish high school,” he explains “which prevented me from going to college.” When the opportunity did present itself, however, Siguenza jumped at it.

At first, he tried attending a community college but had a bad experience. As an adult learner, Siguenza worried about fitting in and getting used to being back in a classroom. “I enrolled in community college to ease my fears,” he says.” But, actually, it did the opposite.” In the community college, he felt isolated and alone as he tried to navigate the college experience. “I almost gave up on pursuing a degree,” he says. Continue reading

When a degree isn’t enough

career services for adult learners

Most working adults cite “career advancement” as their primary reason for returning to school. Among online students, more than three quarters pursue programs for “career-focused” reasons (Magda, 2018).

But, sometimes having advanced skills and knowledge, and even a degree, isn’t enough to get you where you want to be. Working adults need help identifying new opportunities, building resumes, and preparing for interviews in a new field or industry.  In the following post, Janel Juba of Wentworth’s Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development shares some insights on what working adults can expect from career services:

At the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development, we deliver the necessary resources to be effective in the workplace, provide essential job search strategies and teach students how to find jobs that align with their classroom knowledge, skills and interests. Our mission is to EQUIP students with the necessary tools to EVOLVE their skills and ultimately EXCEL in their industry. Continue reading

bird by bird: how to thrive, not merely survive, in the new academic year

black and white birds on a wire
Photo by Ridham Nagralawala on Unsplash
by Kelly Jenkins Lin

Author and speaker, Anne Lamott, tells the story of her ten-year-old brother who was trying to write a report on birds. Despite having nearly 3 months to work on it, he had put it off until the night before it was due. Close to tears, he sat at the family’s kitchen table surrounded by books and pencils and clean paper, overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Then Lamott’s father sat down beside her brother, put his arm around his shoulders and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird” (Lamott, 1994).

For many adults, returning to school can feel like trying to write a report the night before it is due. On the threshold of a new academic year, surrounded by stacks of books and pencils and clean paper they feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies ahead and wonder how they will ever make it through. Below are five steps that will not only help students to survive, but to thrive, in the new academic year. Continue reading

6 Things Every Part-time Student Can Do (Right Now) To Be Successful

Friendly, happy adult education students sitting in class.

Going back to school is a big commitment. And it can feel overwhelming at times. Below are 6 things that every part-time student can do to help manage the workload and be successful in their program.

  1. Learn to say “no:” Establish school as a priority and set boundaries. Let your friends and family know that you are in school and that you might not be available for certain events and activities.  Ask for their support and understanding.  You have made a commitment to your studies, and you are setting a good example for others by following through on your commitment.

Continue reading

Haylee Bacik

The Future of Construction: Haylee Bacik (MSCM ’18) shares her insights

Part I of Haylee Bacik’s story can be found here: Hardhat and Mortarboard

Haylee Bacik has been called the “future of construction,” and a role model for young women who want to get into the industry. She recently received a Master of Science in Construction Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology and is currently employed by Gilbane Building Company as the lead project engineer on a $12 million expansion project in western Massachusetts.

Phil Hammond, Director of Graduate Programs in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology recently asked Bacik for her thoughts on the past, present and future of construction, particularly for young women. Continue reading

How Can I Tell if Online Learning is Right for Me?

As noted in Part One of this series, a growing number of colleges and universities are adding online learning opportunities to their course offerings, especially for part-time students. In addition, more and more students are turning to online learning as a way to fit their educational goals into their busy, professional lives.

For many online students, job and employment goals play an important role in their decision to pursue online learning opportunities. Seventy-three percent of online students reported that job and employment goals are the most important reasons for enrolling in an online program, according to this 2018 survey published by Best Colleges.com

Whether they are “Industry Switchers,” students transitioning to a new career (35%), or “Career Accelerators,” students who want to strengthen their professional skills and credentials (30%), students report that online learning offers them the best opportunity to advance their career on a schedule that fits their lifestyle.

But is online learning right for everyone? In this post we will look at some characteristics of online learners to help you determine whether an online learning environment is the right choice for you.

Characteristics of Online Students:

Depending on the format of the online program, students who interact and participate in an online learning environment require a different set of characteristics and study habits to ensure academic success than their counterparts in a more traditional, classroom-based environment.

To see if you have what it takes, ask yourself these questions:

Am I self-disciplined and self-motivated?

Unlike a classroom-based environment in which the instructor meets with students once or multiple times a week, most of the learning activities and communication in an online course are asynchronous, or self-paced. Students can participate and complete online assignments without any time or place constraints. In an online learning environment, consequently, it is possible for students to complete their course work at a time and place that is convenient for them.

However, with increased flexibility comes greater responsibility. Without the structure of the traditional classroom environment, online learners must be disciplined and self-motivated to keep up with the pace of the online course and complete all assignments on time.

Am I able to commit and set aside time each week for my online course(s)?

Online courses often require at least as much, if not more, time and commitment than classroom-based courses. Online courses, on average, require 10 to 12 hours of time per week for a three-credit course. While there is greater flexibility around when to complete an assignment within a given week, there is rarely time to procrastinate in an online learning environment. Before enrolling in an online program, make sure you can set aside enough time each week to keep up with your assignments.

Do I have good communications and writing skills?

In online courses, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing to the instructor and your classmates. Find out how much writing is required and consider ways to improve your writing skills, such as working with a tutor, if necessary, before enrolling in an online course.

Will I miss the interactions of the classroom experience?

Depending on the course, the level of interaction between the student and instructor can vary in the online learning environment.  Online learning is often supported by a Learning Management System (LMS). Depending on the LMS students will have a number of tools to engage and communicate with their instructor and classmates such as threaded discussions, email, and web meetings. Before the start of the course, refer to the syllabus to determine the instructor’s expectations regarding participation and assignment guidelines. The carefully consider whether the tools available suit your interaction style and will help you meet the instructor’s expectations.

Am I comfortable using a computer?

Regular access to a reliable computer and internet connection is essential for any online learning program. You do not need to be a computer guru to be successful, however, you do need to have some basic technology skills, such as word processing, using a web browser, and downloading and installing software or hardware needed to meet the course requirements. Additionally, you should be comfortable navigating the LMS, uploading files for assignments, and participating in online discussions which are a significant part of the online learning experience.

After reflecting on your answers to these questions, you should be able to determine if an online learning environment is right for you. Keep in mind that while the online learning environment provides a number of advantages and is becoming increasingly popular among colleges and universities as well as employers, your own learning preferences and lifestyles should determine the ideal learning environment for you. If you are self-disciplined, have strong written communication skills, can set aside a sufficient amount of time each week and are comfortable using a computer and interacting with peers online, then an online learning environment might just be right for you. If so, why not give it a try?

About the Author

Ke’Anna Skipwith is the Director of Online Learning in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology. She holds a MS in Learning Technologies from Drexel University and is pursuing her Ed.D at Northeastern University in Higher Education Administration. She is a member of EDUCAUSE and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Ke’Anna is also the co-author of the book: Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners Through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies (2017).


BestColleges.com. (2018). Annual Trends in Online Education.

https://www.bestcolleges.com/perspectives/annual-trends-in-online-education/ Accessed April 26, 2018.

Let’s Be Honest: Why Does Online Learning Matter?

More and more, colleges and universities are moving away from traditional, classroom-based learning models to more convenient and affordable online offerings. According to a recent study, distance—or online—learning in the United States has seen a steady increase over the last 5 years, while on-campus class attendance has decreased by 6.4 percent. And given the advantages of online learning, for both students and colleges and universities, the trend is likely to continue.

To review the Babson Survey Research Group report, “Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States” visit: https://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/highered.html

What does that mean for students? In this post we will look at what online learning is, how it works and the benefits it offers learners and, in particular, part-time, working adults. Next week, we will look at whether or not online learning is right for you.

What is Online Learning?

Let’s face it; there is no formal definition of online learning. The evolving landscape of online learning is a contemporary form of e-learning where students engage with course content via the internet. Online learning offers meaningful learning experiences using a wide variety of teaching formats including fully online, in which all activities are online, hybrid/blended, combining online and classroom learning, asynchronous or self-paced learning, and synchronous, or real-time group learning (see chart).

Course content and learning activities are provided online through a Learning Management System (LMS) which is easily accessed by both instructors and students. Because online and hybrid courses are available via the internet, they are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and  provide opportunities for innovative and practical experiences where students can apply their knowledge and skills.

What are the benefits of online learning?

Whether students are engaged in group or self-paced activities, online or a combination of online and classroom instruction, new and often innovative learning experiences take place. Online learning allows students various ways to communicate and process information from a variety of sources including the internet, web resources, and the learning community created within the LMS.

There are numerous benefits to learning in an online environment:

    • Convenience: Students have the opportunity to learn from anywhere and at any time. Online course materials are easily accessed and can be downloaded from the LMS allowing students to create a schedule and select a location that fits their needs.


    • Confidence Participating in online courses can be less intimidating for some students than in a face-to-face environment. Students who may be shy are much more likely to participate in an online course environment. This produces a greater diversity of opinion and shared perspectives as well as creates an engaging student learning experience.


    • Credits: Today, many colleges and universities are accepting transfer credits for online courses. Depending on the program, students may be eligible to transfer in college credit and complete their online degree faster.


    • Cost Effective: Online learning is less expensive than traditional classroom-based courses. Students who work either full time or go to school part time would not have to take time off or waste time commuting to campus. This allows students to be committed to their learning without having to worry about missing a class.


    • Communication: Online learning makes is easier for students to reach out to their instructors with questions, support and feedback. Students can connect with their instructors in a variety of ways such as through online discussion forums, email, or by scheduling a web meeting or phone call.


    • Career focused: Employers are seeking more online learning opportunities to help employees develop new skills, provide new career paths for professional growth and advancement. Students would have the opportunity to take online courses that allows them to be remain competitive and improve their job performance.


Simply put, online learning is a win-win for everyone. For colleges and universities, it presents the opportunity to offer new and innovative learning experiences to more and more students. For students, and in particular, part-time students trying to balance work and family, it opens the door to the education and training they need to reach their personal and professional goals. And for employers, it provides a steady stream of well-trained and educated employees to fill much needed positions.

With all of that going for it, online learning is sure to continue to grow and will likely be the wave of the future in higher education.

 Next week, we will discuss ways to determine if an online learning environment is the right choice for you.

About the Author

Ke’Anna Skipwith is the Director of Online Learning in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology. She holds a MS in Learning Technologies from Drexel University and is pursuing her Ed.D at Northeastern University in Higher Education Administration. She is a member of EDUCAUSE and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Ke’Anna is also the co-author of the book: Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners Through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies (2017).