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Online Champions: Cheering Your Success

Recently, we launched our first ever bachelor's degree in health care administration with an emphasis in respiratory therapy - a completion program that is 100 percent online.

Earlier this year, our pharmacy technician training program became blended with classes being held both on campus and online.

While some things change, some things stay the same - like our commitment to student support and delivering quality service whether online or face-to-face.

Health care online learning is a whole different ballgame

Although you're in a health care online program, it doesn't mean that you're alone. Concorde recognized early on in the delivery of health care online classes that success came in the form of partnerships. So, in addition to training instructors to interface digitally, we created a role dedicated to serving our online students. Enter the Online Champion.

Online classes, according to a few of our resident online champions, require a different kind of approach.

Students who are taking online classes for the first time need to be aware that the coursework is very time-intensive.

"While there is no scheduled class, there is a schedule for homework," said Larry Hill, Online Champion at Concorde's campus in Garden Grove, Calif. "Most students that find themselves in trouble underestimate the time it takes to complete assignments. They might believe that an assignment is a 15-minute breeze, or maybe an hour at most, when it's closer to four hours or more."

It's all about a solid foundation

Natalie Gaspard, Concorde - Kansas City's Online Champion, echoes those sentiments. She tells students to "plan, plan, plan and plan some more."

"I suggest that, on the first day of classes, write down your life on a sheet of paper, Sunday through Saturday, and fill in the blanks," she said. "If you work from 3-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, block that time out. You have to take kids to activities Monday and Thursday evening? Block that out, she said.

Once your week has been laid out on that paper, start thinking about when you are going to sit down and do work. Try to stay consistent with that time because you will develop a habit and stick with it. You are essentially trying to set up a class time that works for YOU."

... And communication

In a nutshell, Gaspard said, Online Champions are "the problem solvers, advisors, mediators and cheerleaders for any student taking online courses."

In his time as Online Champion, Hill noted how his involvement with students has evolved. As a student advocate, he focuses on building trust and respect so that if there is an issue, students will feel confident and comfortable confiding in him so he can help.

Gaspard encourages her students to "email, call and stop in whenever there is a problem."

"I tell my students that there is nothing insignificant when it comes to a question or concern," she said. "I give my students the Online Success card, my card, my direct line, and tell them my schedule. Every student taking an online course should be receiving the Online Success card, and it has their Program Director's information, as well as the Online Champion's."

So, whether you're considering enrolling in an online class or are entering your next start date of your online program, know that at every juncture, we're here to help you seize the opportunities that await.