Friday, August 22, 2008

Why I Do What I Do

Since I first started teaching online (back in the day), it has always struck me how many of the students are in a different place in their lives than most of the students that I taught in the traditional classroom. I realize that's not a news flash, but the whole aspect of providing access to higher education to some of those who otherwise wouldn't have it is still the number one reason why I get out of bed in the morning and make my way to the office.

A few years ago I started a scholarship fund just for students completing one of our online programs at Lake Superior College. The scholarship fund balance has grown to more than $10,000 and we typically give 2 or 3 awards to deserving students each year. The scholarships for FY09 were handed out at the end of the spring term and sometime after that I received the following thank you note:

"Dear Virtual Campus Contributors,
I have been yearning to return to college for several years and the generosity of this scholarship is ensuring that I am able to pursue my degree at LSC. Taking online classes is the perfect way for this mother of 6 to start building for our future. Thank you to all foundation contributors for giving me this opportunity." Sincerely, name omitted.

Yep, that's why I love this job. It's also the reason why it makes me see red when people talk negatively about online learning. They all need to see a few letters like that to realize the importance of providing access to education.

1 comment:

Britt Watwood said...

Good story. Reminds me of Pamela Himmel, the Outstanding e-Learning Student from St. Petersburg College, that we both blogged about last February. Stories like these keep me motivated and stoked about what I do! Thanks for sharing!