As each of us navigates our respective CUNY SPS programs, we have almost certainly constructed opinions of the benefits and drawbacks inherent in online learning. Overall I have been extremely pleased with the Online M.S. in Business Management and Leadership Program and would assert that any losses derived through the online learning experience are far outweighed by the gains. As with any program in its infancy stage, changes and adjustments are administered to optimize the program for the betterment of the students, the faculty, and the university.
If you are like me, you’ve engaged in conversations about your program with fellow classmates. Topics of discussion may have been the possibility of student-professor communication gap, the necessity of taking prerequisites, the difficulty of managing a challenging school workload, or perhaps none of these issues. What is indispensable is that students give constructive feedback to the professors and the University. This substantive feedback is crucial in improving the totality of the online learning experience at our University. One student’s comments may not possess the impetus to nudge an issue in a different trajectory but there very well may be other students who share a similar need, criticism, or suggestion.
Last semester a certain professor requested that each student upload his or her photo as part of the initial “introduction assignment” with points attached for completing the task. It turns out that the photo-from-students directive was derived from students who had submitted the suggestion. As anyone in an online program can attest to, fellow students are merely names that we see constantly and post responses to continually. They are never individuals who sit in the adjacent row; this is not a traditional classroom setting nor is it intended to be. We rarely meet the person behind the name; what does this “name” look like? There is always a cognitive gap that we subconsciously fill in with details. So the photo suggestion helped to bridge the name-person gap, and it was the product of student feedback – although not every professor requests this.
As our program’s maturation process continues, we all play a role in that progression. The program will not remain static but will evolve over time. Without our presence the program would not exist. Sooner than later, in the scheme of life, we will become alumni to our University. It is incumbent upon all of us to maximize our experience and help facilitate the necessary adjustments that will make our program a valuable and enjoyable endeavor for current and future students.
John Brigantino is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Business Management & Leadership Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. He enjoys writing, non-fiction books, traveling and the many cultural and leisure experiences Manhattan has to offer.