Archives For Online Student

Through piles of paperwork and binders filled with course notes, you would never know Julie Daniels is an online student.

“I’m really weird, and I don’t like reading off the computer,” says Daniels. “I still have to print everything out because I like it in front of me.”

online learningLast semester, when Daniels took nine credit hours, this resulted in three binders full of PowerPoint presentations and class notes. If she has a paper due, Daniels writes it out first in hand, edits it, and then transcribes it into the computer.

“I don’t know how many other people this would work for, but I’m just used to paper and pencil,” says Daniels. “There’s still some old-fashioned in me.”

At 61, Julie Daniels is the ideal online student. She’s driven, works hard in her classes, completes assignments ahead of time, and gets As and Bs. However, that wasn’t always the case.

“I went to college when I first got out of high school, but I wasn’t serious. I was only going because my parents wanted me to, so I blew it off,” explains Daniels. “You know, boyfriends, frat parties, all that kind of stuff got in the way of school.”

A mother of five adult children and grandmother to 12 grand- and great-grandchildren, ages 3-25, all of that changed about four and half years ago.

“I wanted it for me, for a sense of accomplishment, but I wanted to show my parents that I could do it, “ says Daniels.

As an online graduate student in SHSU Online’s Sociology program, age is not an issue for Daniels nor her classmates; they come from as varied a background as she does, are diverse in age, and hail from far-flung places.

A resident of San Antonio, Texas, Daniels stayed local, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at St. Mary’s in 2014. While there, Daniels received a Presidential Scholarship, and graduated with a 3.9 grade point average. Still, her journey was met with some adversity. Her parents passed away within a year of each other and she was often the oldest student in her face-to-face courses.

“I got teased a lot,” admits Daniels. “The kids would look at me, and they would say, why are you here? I told them, because when I was their age, I messed around and didn’t think school was important. But they would answer, No, why are you here, you’re too old.”

As an online graduate student in SHSU Online’s Sociology program, age is not an issue for Daniels nor her classmates; they come from as varied a background as she does, are diverse in age, and hail from far-flung places (at least from San Antonio’s perspective) like Japan, France, Puerto Rico, and closer to home, Houston.

“It’s very interesting, the amount of distance that was between some of us and then some of us were as close as Houston,” says Daniels.

While Daniels hasn’t completely embraced all the digital tools available to her, she still thrives in an online environment, utilizing group discussions in Blackboard and email to communicate with her classmates and to sort out questions and problems. It is this communication, Daniels believes, that is one of the keys to success in online classes.

“If you have good communication with your fellow classmates, you’ll do a lot better,” says Daniels.  “A lot of us could figure things out without involving the professor. What’s even nicer is when you have the same classmates a couple of times you get to know them. Hopefully, one day we all will get to see each other.”

If all goes according to plan, that could be Spring 2016 at graduation. She will also be 62 years old.

If you’re interested in returning to school, no matter what your age, visit Online Programs and Degrees Programs to find the right online educational opportunity for you.

The Sam Houston State University motto, “The Measure of a Life is Its Service,” resonates deeply with SHSU Online student Peary Perry.

Perry, 73, a Houston resident, has lived a full life. He served his country in the United States Army as a tank commander, worked in the Houston Police Department as an undercover vice squad officer, and acted as president of several successful companies across a multitude of industries.

When it comes to pursuing his online Master of Arts in History degree, Perry makes the case for online learning, coupled with hard work and dedication, to help individuals overcome adversity to achieve their goals.

“I hear a lot of people say ‘I’m too old to go back to school, or I should have gotten my degree but I didn’t,’ and what I’m trying to emphasize is that you’re never too old to learn, you’re never too old to get a degree, and there’s always an opportunity out here for you if you want to take advantage of it,” he says. “I’m not your normal master’s student, but this is a professional opportunity and a challenge for me to pass on to others that you’re never too old to learn.”

Admittedly, getting back into higher education was a transitional period for Perry. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Edward’s University in 2008, attending both online and on-campus courses. He enrolled in SHSU’s online master’s program in fall, 2014, and was pleasantly surprised to see the technological advancements in his online courses.

Perry says his courses are immersive, with a variety of classwork that utilizes several mediums.

“What brought me to SHSU was the ease of enrollment, the description of courses, and the references that I found from prior students made me think this was the place I needed to be,” he says, “But the style of learning is what got me hooked. Today there is more encouragement to participate in classes, which I enjoy much more because you are encouraged to express your feelings about certain subjects.”

SHSU has received numerous awards for their student engagement within online programs, promoting quality participation in courses, providing students opportunities to both readily interact with their instructors and classmates, and allowing students to complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

Perry is not alone in his educational journey; in fact, his support system acts as an inspiration for him completing his degree.

“The reason this is important to me is because I have four sons, my oldest is 51 and my youngest is 39, and I have three granddaughters, 22, 10, and 2; I think it is very important for them to know they are never too old to learn, whether it’s cooking, history, or economics,” he says. “My experience has been, the more you exercise your brain, the more alive you are.”

SHSU offers over 40 fully online degree programs, including two doctoral programs, as well as 24 online certificate programs. For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit distance.shsu.edu.

Life can be complicated. Between professional responsibilities, family commitments, and financial obligations, it can be hard to find time for anyone to chase their dreams. This reasoning was dismissed by Terri Allison, who returned to school to pursue an undergraduate degree through SHSU Online despite an abundance of commitments.

Allison, a mother of three and case manager for the Aggie Honor System Office at Texas A&M University, is pursuing an online B.S. in Criminal Justice to explore her passions and to be an example for her children.

“Part of it is the feeling that you have to finish what you start, and trying to impart to my kids you’re not always going to have a straightforward path; you’re not always going to graduate high school, do four years of college, and begin your career,” she says. “Letting them see that, even at my age, I could go back and I could get my degree is important.”

Allison’s family, daughters Tegan and Kristen, son Charlie, and husband Randal, have been an essential support system for her online education, but a promise made to her stepfather, Don Wood, remains in the forefront of her mind years after his passing.

“My stepfather was dyslexic at a time when no one really knew how to treat the disease, so he dropped out of high school at 17; three days after his 18th birthday, he was at Pearl Harbor when the attack happened,” she says. “He never did any college credit, and that was why it was so important for all of his children to get their degree. I promised him I’d get my bachelor’s completed eventually, and he said ‘Don’t let it get away from you.’”

Allison was pursuing her Associate in Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies at Blinn College at the time of his passing.

When it came to finding the right fit for her personal life and professional aspirations, she says SHSU was the clear choice for her.

“I looked at a lot of schools, and Sam Houston State University has by far the best reputation for criminal justice. It really dovetails with my paralegal background,” she says. “After taking one of my first classes, Corrections, I definitely knew this was for me. It’s a perfect setup. SHSU has everything I want right there.”

With an expected graduation term of Spring 2016, Allison says the journey that has taken her to this point gives her the conviction to succeed and continue to develop personally and professionally.

“I’ve been at my job for more than 20 years, and I could easily stay with my current job and retire comfortably, but that’s not where my passion lies,” she says. “I want to do more and give back to those who helped me. I want to continue my education for a Masters in Mediation and then work in Restorative Justice, a field I like and a field that’s changing. I want to be part of those changes.”


For many college students, the immediate choice to make following graduation is to either attend graduate school or to enter the workplace, but SHSU Class of 2010 graduate Brittany Wilbert decided to do both.

After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Computing Science degree, Wilbert says she received two potentially life-changing messages on the same afternoon: an offer for a full-time position with an IT security company, and a letter of acceptance into the Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security program through SHSU Online.

“I knew that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree, but I was afraid if I waited, I would be too involved in my career and other aspects of my life, and I wouldn’t be able to go back,” she says. “I think that happens with a lot of students, and I didn’t want to second guess myself; I knew it was something I wanted to do, and SHSU Online made it possible for me.”

Wilbert received her undergraduate degree in May 2010, and began her online master’s degree in August 2010.

Wilbert says she was able to immediately apply information technology practices derived from her undergraduate degree into her work responsibilities, as well as advanced studies simultaneously while attending class online.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree on campus, Wilbert received personalized guidance from Dr. Lei Chen, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, and says the nature of Dr. Chen’s student communication assisted her in the transition to taking online courses.

“Dr. Chen was always someone who sent frequent notifications to his students, so there wasn’t much change, other than physically seeing him in class,” she says.  “I’ve been in his classes since my undergraduate degree, and now as a graduate student, he has led me through my master’s project by giving me advice and assisting me in submitting papers to conferences.”

Wilbert cites her parents, Mark and Alfrieda, as one of the driving forces encouraging her to further her education, but her experience as a young woman adapting to a 40-hour work week while taking full-time classes required her to adjust quickly.

“As a young woman in a career field that has a low representation of women in the industry, being able to use the knowledge I learned at SHSU has given me the strength to understand there will be difficulties, but earning this degree will show I can do computer science related work as well as any of my male colleagues,” she says.  “Understanding that you have to give yourself time beyond working to take care of your schoolwork and realizing the investment I made in myself keeps me wanting to continue to be successful.”

Wilbert is scheduled to graduate in the Summer 2014 term.

Visit http://distance.shsu.edu to find out more about the online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security program offered through SHSU Online, and see what you can do to get started today!

skypeSam Houston State University students who attend online classes may not be on the SHSU campus very often, but thanks to the university’s Career Services office, online students have access to a multitude of resources to help them consider, choose, and pursue a career following graduation.

Here are some of the ways Career Services can help online students:

Jobs for Kats (www.jobsforkats.com) is the “Bearkat to Employer connection,” where students and alumni can locate full-time and part-time jobs, summer work and internship positions, as well as on-campus and work-study jobs. The Jobs for Kats program also schedules interviews (on campus) for full-time jobs and internships, refers students’ resumes to potential employers, and maintains lists of employers participating in job fairs.

Online career assessments, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory (SII), are available at no cost to SHSU students and alumni. Students interested in taking these assessments should call Career Services at (936) 294-1713 to obtain a
username and password and to schedule an appointment with a counselor to discuss assessment results and consultation. For the convenience of online students, these meetings can be conducted via Skype or phone. Career Services also provides career counseling to students, again via Skype session, by appointment on request.

Need help with online resumes or cover letters? Career Services provides individual downloadable templates on their website. Students can also download an entire package containing a guide and templates if they prefer.

A number of major/career exploration resources, once only available in print form, are now available online, including “What Can I Do With This Major”, JOB Choices, the O*NET, and The Occupational Outlook Handbook.

In keeping with the old saying “practice makes perfect”, Career Services also provides access to a program called InterviewStream©, which allows students to participate in mock online interviews… anytime and anywhere. Interview questions can be customized to align with students’ majors or career fields. Students can access this program by logging into their Jobs for Kats account (webcam and microphone required). Counselors from Career Services are available to critique these mock interviews and offer helpful feedback.

And when it’s time for the real thing, Career Services also facilitates employer-student interviews via Skype, either at the office’s Career Center or from the student’s home (if they have Skype on their personal computer), as long as both parties agree to this arrangement.

In addition to all of these resources, the Career Services office hopes to provide online webinars on various topics involving careers for the benefit of students in the near future. More details on webinars will be announced as the programs become available.

In short, SHSU is committed to providing as many career-related resources for online students as for traditional students attending classes on campus. When you are ready to begin exploring your career options or preparing to enter the job market, contact Career Services at (936) 294-1713 or careerservices@shsu.edu for more information.

Gender-Graphic

Online enrollment numbers at SHSU continue to soar, but what does an “average” online student look like? We ran the age and gender statistics of students registered in the Spring 2014 term taking 100% of their courses online, and here’s what we found.

Students enrolled: 2,223

1,458 female students
765 male students

Student Ages: 18-72 years old

Mean (average): 32.37
Median (middle value): 30
Mode (value that appears most often): 23

Age range and population of SHSU online students

As you can see, anyone can be an online student at SHSU.

In addition to three online undergraduate degree programs, SHSU offers 24 graduate degree programs, including one doctoral program and one special program for members of the U.S. military, as well as 22 online certificate programs. For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit distance.shsu.edu.

View a “Profiles Series” television segment about the services and philosophy of SHSU Online. The program, featuring Larry King, recently aired on The Discovery Channel.

SHSU-CampusMyth 1. An online degree is not as meaningful as a “face-to-face” degree. The only difference between an online degree and a “face-to-face” degree is the delivery method.  Rather than sitting in a classroom or lecture hall, students listen to lectures in mp3 format, communicate in discussion boards, and perform their assignments at their preferred location.  This delivery platform allows students to fit their courses based on availability, work schedules, and other life responsibilities.

To a considerably lesser extent, it’s like driving to the library to check out F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” or reading the book on your tablet; either way, the end result is the same.

Degrees through SHSU Online are the same accredited degrees as offered on campus, simply presented in a format available to those who would not be able to pursue it otherwise or do not have the schedule to allow it.

Myth 2. Online Degrees are trendy and aren’t popular with employers.

Online degrees are popular with students across a wide demographic because it allows them to pursue their education according to their availability and at their preferred location. You can do your assignments after work, on your lunch break, or whenever your schedule allows, day or night.

According to a recent survey by Inside Higher Ed, online enrollments have steadily increased in the U.S., and as the cultural investment in technology continues to progress, there is no reason to believe online learning won’t continue to gain popularity.

Employers also value online degrees, as evidenced by articles such as Employers on online education from CNN and Online Degrees Don’t Impede Job Searches from U.S. News & World Report.

As you will see in more points below, taking classes online shows personal and professional ambition and a great deal of dedication; how are these not positive qualities in a prospective employee?

Myth 3. Online courses are only for computer-savvy students.

Basic online usage and an understanding of how websites work is more than enough to get you started. It’s just like anything else; the more exposure you have to something, the easier it becomes.

And you’re not alone; we have a dedicated staff available via email and a call center from 7 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday. Visit our “Contact Us” page to touch base with us however you would like; we’re happy to answer your questions.

Don’t let your fear of technology stand in the way of your degree.

Myth 4. When taking online classes, you have to figure it out for yourself.

Taking classes online, like physically attending class, allows you to ask the instructor questions, discuss topics with other students through discussion boards, and take additional time to absorb course material.

Online and in-person courses are similar in that you will get out of them what you put in. If you are proficient with your assignments, you may be able to finish work early, or within the timelines of the instructor, you can take your time with assignments.

It is the student’s responsibility to complete their work, but help is never out of reach!

Myth 5. Online classes are easier than “face-to-face” courses.

Many students say pursuing their degree online is the most difficult thing they have done in their professional life, but they also say it is the most rewarding.

Taking classes online requires a great deal of discipline and a desire to succeed, and many students learn a lot about themselves while pursuing their degree online. Whether students are procrastinators, early birds, or on par with the syllabus, it takes a lot of effort to earn an online degree.

For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit distance.shsu.edu.

SHSU faculty members, continuing to embrace and cultivate emerging technologies, are integrating the capabilities of Interactive Television (ITV) into courses to improve the distance learning experience for students.

ITV is a platform that utilizes videoconference technology to allow an instructor to teach and seamlessly communicate with a group of students attending the course from a remote classroom in real time. Through the use of streaming video technology, the professors and students in two separate locations are able to communicate directly, either by asking questions or receiving feedback.

SHSU Student using ITV technology on laptop

The program effectively broadens the student-professor dynamic for distance learners and allows more students to have access to a higher quality course.

Julie Combs, director of the Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership, says she is excited by the way ITV has effectively brought a physical presence to online learning.

“I have used ITV over a period of several years in the Education Leadership doctoral program, and I am very pleased with all that we can do to share information with students,” she says. “I think the biggest advantage of ITV is that it allows students from many different regions to join a class in a face-to-face format.”

Since the university adopted ITV technology several years ago, faculty accessibility and ease of use has been a point of focus for SHSU Online employees.

Currently, there are seven rooms at SHSU-The Woodlands Center (TWC) and the main campus that are ITV ready. Four are in TWC and the other three are on the main campus – in the Lee Drain Building, the Teacher Education Center, and the College for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Matthew Fuller, assistant professor and coordinator of Higher Education Administration, has used ITV for two semesters and says the technology has acted to bridge the geographical gap for students in distance learning environments.

“ITV has been reliable and the DELTA Center staff has made this technology very easy to use. I have used it to teach doctoral level classes in law, curriculum, and assessment in higher education,” he says. “I have tried some interactive group work where students on one end of ITV prepare something to present to the entire class.”

Not only has ITV improved the quality of education for distance learners, it is now easier than ever to incorporate into courses. If you are interested in utilizing ITV with your course(s), contact Graphics Designer Derrick Alexander at dda006@shsu.edu .

Living room in SHSU Online's gamingSHSU Online‘s Instructional Multimedia Group works with faculty to provide students with personalized and contextualized online learning experiences through the use of interactive gaming.

Using gaming technology such as Unity and Photon Cloud, a 3D game engine and server, and Second Life, a virtual world where thousands of users interact with players across the world, the group collaborates with faculty members to create instructional multimedia, immersive environments, and simulation models for their online courses.

Jennie Powers, graphics coordinator for the SHSU Online Instructional Multimedia Group, says the fusion of a complex technological landscape and a strong online culture created an opportunity for educators to cater to students in a familiar setting.

“We are beginning to use online gaming technology as a vehicle for collaborative activities, as well as for reflective exercises, ” she says. “We construct each educational game or simulation to meet learning objectives outlined by professors who are seeking innovative methods to provide their online students with interactive experiences comparable to the activities of face-to-face students.”  Continue Reading…

As obtaining an online degree continues to gain in popularity, you may be presented with the opportunity to take a course online.

If you have never taken a class online, you might enjoy reading about some of the benefits of pursuing your education online.

  •  Flexibility: An online education lets you choose the time and speed of learning to fit your schedule and responsibilities.
  •  Economy: Since an online education allows you to pursue your educational goals from your home computer, you save money on gas, vehicle maintenance, and time spent commuting.
  •  Variety: With an online education at SHSU Online, a range of majors, degree programs, and certificates is at your fingertips no matter where you live.
  •  Focus: An online education allows you to study without distractions and have complete control over your study environment.
  •  Simplicity: An online education is fast, easy, and convenient. Educators at SHSU Online specialize in creating online course content to provide the most effective learning experience.
  •  Networking: An online education provides great opportunities to make productive and exciting connections with a variety of students, educators, and experts from across the nation and around the world.
  •  Quality: Studies show that an online education results in a competitive advantage for the students who choose to pursue it. The nature of online learning involves a wide variety of instructional media – from audio and video presentations to webcam-based interaction with professors and other students.

For more information about Sam Houston State University’s online degree programs, visit http://distance.shsu.edu.


SHSU Online
recognizes individual student needs in distance learning environments and is committed to providing a variety of distance learning options.

Our online degree programs, which utilize the Blackboard Learn system, include a range of disciplines that prepare students for rewarding careers. Correspondence courses, online teacher certification, and continuing education programs are available, in addition to the below degrees.

  • Online bachelor’s degree programs
  • Online master’s degree programs
  • Online doctoral degree programs

With programs ranging from criminal justice to business, education to technology, and history to instructional leadership and technology, SHSU’s online programs cater to a diverse group of disciplines that can lead to exciting professional opportunities.

SHSU Online continues to add courses annually while providing expert technical support via email or phone six days a week.

Online correspondence courses offer another opportunity to earn college credit without stepping inside a classroom. Students can learn at their own pace and chose the times and locations to study. This service is highly beneficial to everyone from individuals continuing their college education, teachers seeking certification or additional study in their fields, or anyone wishing to broaden their education. Unless specified, each correspondence course is equivalent to three hours of college credit and includes a comparable workload.

Finally, SHSU Continuing Education offers courses and condensed studies on campus and online through partners such as ed2go, 360training.com, and The Center for Legal Studies. Below are some of the correspondence courses available.

    • Standardized test preparations
    • Business strategy for particular industries
    • Hobbies and creative fields

Courses are designed to meet individual learning goals, which can enhance opportunities for career progression, help achieve a lifestyle change, or share a learning experience with others.

SHSU staff members are ready to help by answering any questions or providing additional information and advice to help choose a class.

Rebecca Cunio (Courtesy of William Betancourt, Tyler, TX)

After talking for two hours about ongoing sexual abuse at the trusted hands of her stepfather, a precious seven-year old girl handed Forensic Interviewer Rebecca Cunio a drawing of a large heart encircled by smaller ones. It read “I love you for what you do.” For Cunio, it was a defining moment in her career.“

Rebecca Cunio, an online Masters student at SHSU, is a forensic interviewer for the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) for Anderson and Cherokee counties. The center is one of 64 CAC’s in the state of Texas, and among 700 others across the country that provide a single place where children alleged to have been abused or neglected are interviewed for criminal cases and civil actions by Child Protective Services. As a forensic interviewer, Cunio conducts forensic interviews with children at the request of law enforcement and/or Child Protective Services.

Read Rebecca’s story at SHSU’s College of Criminal Justice blog!

The athletic achievements of Timothy Flanders are spoken as common knowledge across the campus of Sam Houston State University and recognized in various media outlets online. An impromptu Google search of “Timothy Flanders” will deliver a catalog of scouting reports, video highlights, and statistics dating back to his career at Midwest City High School.

From the outside looking in, it is understandable to think Flanders’ thoughts are consumed by all things football, but a familiar voice inside his head delivers a contrary message.
Continue reading

Finishing what you start is important to many people, and Katie Halbert is no exception. Katie began her college education 10 years ago when she graduated from high school and will be receiving her Bachelor of Business Administration and General Business degree in August, 2012.

One thing that helped her realize this dream was being able to take online classes. “Being able to take online classes really helped,” Katie said. “At the time I was looking for a new job and I could take online classes from anywhere.” She partially credits the flexibility of online courses for her success.

Like many non-traditional students, Katie had family obligations to balance with her studies. Katie got married six years ago and recently had a daughter, Molly. Her family has also moved several times.  Continue reading