Yvonne spent two years teaching in an elementary classroom, so she knows firsthand that children thrive when their learning environment is enhanced with technology. Unfortunately though, many schools don’t have the specialization or skillset to harness this technology.
“Schools really want to infuse technology into the curriculum,” she explains, “but most teachers just don’t have proper training to do this.”
Yvonne admits that although she loves technology and it has always been a subject of interest, “Not being able utilize technology was one of my handicaps as a teacher.” This is precisely why she applied to Marygrove’s online M.Ed. program. “The program is good for teachers, but it’s great for people who want to help design programs and curriculum, too.”
For Yvonne, the fact that the curriculum is entirely web-based also offers the flexibility and (perhaps paradoxically) the structurethat rivals that of the traditional classroom: “The online platform layout allows you to do your work whenever you can. And everything is clearly laid out by sessions.” In other words, “all of the work—along with the outcomes—is planned for each week and established from the minute you log on. There are templates, rubrics and examples for everything,” she explains, so you never have to guess what the teacher is looking for. For example, “If you have to do something in power point, there’s an example you can reference” as you put together your own work.
Being online also means that Yvonne can be somewhere elseand still have access to her coursework. She can also actively engage with her peers’ blogs and class discussions while she and her peers are in the environment that is conducive to them. “People need certain environments to learn in, even if it’s the park, for instance. I listen to music while I work and you can’t do that in a classroom,” she laughs.
“Marygrove’s HRM program gives students the theoretical framework that helps them put the field into context,” says alumna, Rita Fields. Currently, Rita is Vice President of Human Resources at McLaren Oakland, where she is in charge of physician recruitment and retention.
Rita reflects fondly on her experience in Marygrove’s Master of Arts in Human Resource Management program for several reasons: First, “I felt valued; I was able to connect with people and interact with professors who cared deeply about their students and wanted to support them.” She also explains that the HRM program exposed her to the “expertise of real-life practitioners and the internal validation process.” An added bonus, Rita says, was that the “program was tailored to accommodate the working individual—so the ease of access was tremendously important for me.”
In addition to receiving her M.A. from Marygrove in 2002, Rita was also a double major who earned a B.A. in English and Psychology at the college. During her time at Marygrove, she served as a member of the Presidential Search Committee where her professional insights proved to play an invaluable part in hiring President Dr. Fike. In the fall 2012, she will return to Marygrove as an adjunct instructor. “I feel like I’ve never really left,” she laughs. When she returns in the fall, she will be teaching a course on Employee Selection; she looks forward to exposing her students not only to on-campus practitioners, but mentors outside the campus gates as well.
In addition to this, Rita has finally closed one big chapter in her life: Her Doctorate of Management (from Walsh College). In May, she defended her dissertation that focuses on the 1967 Detroit Riot and how it impacted leadership in the city of Detroit. Congratulations, Rita!
When she reflects back on the beginnings of her relationship with online education, Otie admits that, initially, it was one she approached with mild trepidation. “I always felt apprehensive towards technology, so I went into the program feeling the same way” she explains. For the last five years, Otie has been an adjunct professor who specializes in early childhood education. Her experience in the classroom was instrumental in her decision to apply to Marygrove's Master of Education in Educational Technology program. “I know that the technology piece is critical at any level of teaching and I wanted to make sure that my classroom wasn’t antiquated or outdated.”
“I know there are plenty of students like me,” she explains. “I’m not an online person—I’m old school and used to face-to-face, visual learning. I wondered, what happens if I have a question?”
Once she formally logged in though, she was able to relax. “After the first class I realized how user-friendly it was; I’m thoroughly enjoying it.” Not only that, though, “I feel more confident—less apprehensive. And I feel more patient with myself.”
Not only has the program boosted her confidence, it has also given her the skillset and intuition to facilitate her students’ diverse needs: “There are all kinds of students who are visually or hearing impaired—and there are a lot of tools and devices out there to help them. I don’t assume that everyone learns the same way.”
What also pleases Otie is seeing how her education transcends theory. “It’s been a jump into the deep. These classes gave me ideas to incorporate this technology into my own lessons. I feel like I’m truly bridging the digital divide.”
Alexandra recalls a younger version of herself stumbling upon her aunt’s Marygrove textbooks and flipping through them with fascination. Years later, after graduating from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in sociology and linguistics, Alexandra decided to follow in her aunt’s footsteps by enrolling in Marygrove’s Master of Arts program in Human Resource Management (HRM).
When asked about her Marygrove experience, Alexandra immediately recalls feeling a “strong sense of community and a bond of allegiance.” She also remembers being taken under the wing of her professors and some of her older, veteran peers:
“The HRM program connects students to a vast network of invaluable resources. From professors who serve as trusted consultants in the field to classmates who are employed by premier organizations, an HRM student is equipped with all of the tools necessary to be successful as an HR professional,” she explains.
After graduating in 2011, Alexandra became a Human Resource Associate at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global brand-experience agency. “The Detroit office,” she explains, “is the brand-experience agency of record for General Motors.” At Jack Morton, Alexandra is putting the skills she learned at Marygrove to good use. “What feels good is seeing the things I learned in class—through case studies and real-life simulations—come alive on the job: recruiting, onboarding, training, employee relations, staff development and implementing innovative work-life balance initiatives.” What is clear is that Alexandra feels a strong sense of loyalty to Marygrove and according to her, why shouldn’t she? “Marygrove has been loyal to me.”