Earning an online master’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University will expose you to collaboration opportunities such as the virtual coffee house and discussion boards with your fellow classmates. While there are not typically any points that will be added to your grade by participating in some of these activities, overall I think you will find them invaluable.
Sense of Community
With the online format comes the feeling of isolation that you do not usually experience with an on-campus education. The collaboration features of the blackboard set-up at Saint Joseph’s can help to eliminate these feelings. There are many instances where developing friendships with classmates in collaboration can become not only helpful, but a necessity.
Over the course of the first class or two in your degree, the professors do an excellent job of having you work in teams on projects and presentations. Collaborating with your first group of students is very important. This is the same core group that will be with you throughout the entire degree program. I have been paired with the same half-dozen to a dozen students in almost every single class as I’ve worked towards my MS in Health Administration (HAD) degree. We have worked together many times to help each other understand an assignment, assigned course readings, ideas for paper topics, and most importantly group study sessions for final exams. The blackboard collaboration makes it easy to share a text, email, or virtual coffee house question with your peers and see who in the group can help.
Grad students come from all walks of life and many different roles. In our group alone, ideas were contributed by a social worker, several RN’s, an office manager, a supply-chain manager, an EMT, a phlebotomist, a nursing-home administrator, and a pharmaceutical sales rep. Having such a wide variety of working professionals as a resource enabled all of us to tap into a plethora of knowledge no matter the topic. Everyone in the group brought a different skill set to our courses and provided great insight and a unique perspective.
The second major value of collaboration is networking. Saint Joseph attracts students from all over the United States. You will be working side-by-side with colleagues who may be able to help you advance your career outside of the degree program. You will have the opportunity to develop networking relationships with future executives that may be able to help you in the future.
Additionally, collaborating with your classmates can help you brainstorm solutions to any major issues within different healthcare systems and explore ideas that have and have not worked in different places. Specifically, in the healthcare industry, there is a growing, nation-wide nursing shortage. My fellow classmates and I have collaborated on different ways to address the nursing shortage issue – or at least lessen its negative impact on our current healthcare systems.
By bridging the gap between an on-campus and online experience, your online classmates can help you to feel a part of the Saint Joseph’s family. Collaborating is an important part of helping students better meet the demands of the online classes, while adding networking resources they can use the rest of their lives.