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Learning Without Boundaries: A Student Success Story

| | 3 minute read

One of the most coveted and sought-after aspects of online learning is its flexibility. With online learning, you’re no longer bound to a physical classroom in Hattiesburg, Mississippi from 10:00am – 11:15am every Tuesday and Thursday to earn the affordable, accredited degree that you eagerly want and deserve. Online learning is about taking the classroom to you, no matter where you are in life, or where you are in the world. It is learning without boundaries.

For our very first Student Success Story blog post, we’re highlighting Keri Manuel from Perth, Western Australia. Keri was a full-time Senior Construction Planner working in a remote part of Australia. Her goal was to obtain a Construction Engineering Technology Degree to help further her career, but working a demanding, full-time job that was on a remote site would be difficult – almost impossible – to work around while trying to attend a traditional college.

Now we’ll let Keri share with you, in her own words, why she decided to choose Online at Southern Miss to earn her degree instead of traditional classroom learning.

Q: Out of all the schools that you could have chosen for your field of study, what made you choose Online at Southern Miss?

A: I have worked in the construction industry since 2003, and I started traveling for work in 2007. The traveling made traditional classroom study impossible. I wanted an engineering degree, but at the time there were no accredited engineering programs online. I moved to Australia in 2012, and when I came home for my first visit after the move, the dean of the construction management program at North Lake College told me about USM’s online construction engineering program . It was fully accredited and fully online. I applied directly after I came back to Australia.

Q: Why did you choose online learning instead of going to traditional classrooms to earn your degree? 

A: As mentioned, I traveled when I was working in the US, and when I moved to Australia I did what was called “FIFO”. That is short for “Fly in Fly Out”. Until three weeks ago, I got on a plane every Monday morning, flew up to Port Hedland, Western Australia, I stayed in a camp during the week and flew back to Perth on the weekends. Online was the only option for me if I wanted to complete a degree.

Q: For someone who is considering online learning but is a little apprehensive about it, what advice would you give them? 

A: Start slow to get yourself into a routine where study is part of it. Make sure you understand that this is a commitment and it will take up a part of your free time. Communicate with your instructors and your classmates. The message boards exist for a reason; use them! Also, be sure to communicate with your instructors about your circumstances, time zone differences, potential work conflicts, or anything that could potentially conflict with test times and such.  

Q: If you were going to earn another degree, would you choose to earn it online? Why or why not? 

A: If I earned another bachelor’s degree I would absolutely do so online. If I do a master’s degree I would prefer a traditional classroom simply because a large part of a master’s program is not just in the knowledge you gain from the coursework, but from the contacts you make and the exposure to get to the other classmates in the same field.  

Q: Do you feel that earning your degree at Online at Southern Miss helped – and will continue to help – advance yourself in your career?

A: Yes, a bachelor’s in engineering will always help a career in the construction industry. It gives me the flexibility to be able to work in the office as well as in the field, and opens up management possibilities if I want to pursue them.

Keri’s success story is one that truly highlights one of the best aspects of online learning: flexible learning and professors who will work with you and your schedule. At Online at Southern Miss, we know that this is your life, plus college. Let us bring the classroom to you today!

Office of Online Learning

All blog posts are written and maintained by the Office of Online Learning at The University of Southern Mississippi. We provide support to online students, to faculty teaching online courses, and to units seeking to develop, grow, or improve online programs at the University.

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