American InterContinental University
Customer service representative and substitute teacher
Class of 2007, associate degree in business administration
Class of 2008, bachelor’s degree in human resources
Class of 2010, master’s degree in education
American InterContinental University
Diane Rudd is a customer service representative for a sales firm and a substitute teacher. At the age of 59, she decided to pursue higher education. Rudd earned her associate degree in business administration, bachelor’s degree in human resources, and master’s degree in education from American InterContinental University Online.
Since earning her degrees, Rudd has been told by employers that due to her education and professional experience, she is actually considered to be over-qualified for many of the positions for which she has applied. But she has not let this discourage her. Instead, she continues to challenge herself. She has obtained a substitute teaching license and is a substitute teacher for two school districts. She is currently working on obtaining a teaching license so that she can teach full time. “I need about three more years of school to get a teaching license,” said Rudd.
While earning her bachelor’s degree in human resources, some of the classes Rudd had to take included Human Resource Management, Business Management and Leadership, Business Ethics, and Business and Society. In order to earn her master’s degree in education, she enrolled in classes such as Applying Learning Theories, Designing Effective Courses, and Decision Making in Curriculum and Instruction.
Each class lasted five weeks and covered approximately twelve weeks of curriculum, according to Rudd. All of her assignments were in written form, including papers that had to be two to four pages in length, discussion posts that had to be three to five paragraphs in length, and a group project where she had to work with four or five other students to complete an essay. Most classes required students to create a PowerPoint presentation as well. The workload was demanding and time-consuming, requiring Rudd to hone her time management skills and develop a system to help her juggle all of her assignments.
As her education at AIU progressed, Rudd’s learning skills improved, enabling her to organize work, family, and school more efficiently. “I was able to develop a schedule to get everything done for school,” Rudd said. “When I first started my [associate degree program], I had to devote more time to school. As my learning skills developed, homework required less time and it became much easier for me.”
Rudd found that taking classes online removed a lot of the stress involved in attending a traditional classroom. “Attending school online was so much easier than going to a brick-and-mortar school. I didn’t have to drive to class. I definitely did not want to travel to a campus, especially during winter in Minnesota. I could attend class in my pajamas and work at my own pace throughout the week,” Rudd said. “I loved it.”
In fact, Rudd found that taking classes online helped her to unwind after a stressful day at work. “I worked at Qwest Communications as a sales and service consultant,” she said. “It was very stressful work. I found school actually helped me relax. I could change gears, so to speak.”
Attending classes online prevented Rudd from being able to interact face-to-face with her fellow classmates. This, according to Rudd, took the superficial aspect out of getting to know one another. Instead, she became acquainted with the other students through email, chat, and working on group projects together.
“The lack of face-to-face communication was not a concern at all,” said Rudd. “One might say heart-to-heart relationships were built over time by working in groups. No one cared what [anyone] looked like. No judgments were made if [someone] was tall, short, fat, skinny, ugly, or beautiful because no one saw you. I liked that idea.”
As far as interacting with her professors, Rudd stated that in addition to making themselves available through email, instant messaging, and over the phone, her professors also interacted with the class through online chat sessions. The students could attend the live session, or, if they couldn’t be there at the scheduled time, students could retrieve the sessions they missed from the archives.
“The professor would meet with [the class] once or twice a week for an hour on the [school's] website and give a presentation, just like in a brick-and-mortar classroom, but I was at home, in my office, on my computer,” Rudd said. “I could ask questions via a streaming chat. The sessions were very informative and helpful.”
For additional help, the school provided learning labs and an online library. These resources, plus the available interaction with professors and fellow students, kept Rudd from feeling like she was alone and learning on her own. Help was available anytime she needed it, which was one of the reasons she was so happy with her experience at AIU.
If Rudd were to go back to school to continue her education, she would, without a doubt, return to AIU Online. She has researched other schools and has even attended one other online school, which she left after only one course due to the lack of assistance from her advisor. What set AIU apart and made it the best online college, according to Rudd, was the staff and the assistance they provided. They had extensive knowledge of the school and were always there to help make sure she was getting the best educational experience possible.