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Faces of online education

Three CMU students share their online learning experiences

Contact: CMU News

​​​Nearly 9,200 students from 15 different countries are currently taking online classes through Central Michigan University. Whether they are pursuing a degree or taking a class or two, these students have their own reasons why online education is the best choice for them and why they chose CMU.

Meet three CMU online students and hear about their experiences with online education.

Eveline Hofland, Netherlands
Employed full time, wife, mother of two
Degree: Master of Arts in educational technology

Eveline Hofland, a teacher in the Netherlands, discovered Central Michigan University’s online programs by chance.

Hofland holds a U.S. teaching certificate she must keep valid by taking classes at universities in the U.S. After spending a few months comparing universities, programs, costs and choosing a major, she came across a website that compared the top 10 universities in the U.S. that offer programs for educators online, which included CMU.

“I liked the sound of the program, the success rate and the price,” said Hofland. “I then started looking at CMU more closely. I was pleased with what I learned and with the responses I received to my questions from the university.” 

With teaching four days a week, a husband who is a high school principal and two daughters with busy schedules, the flexibility of learning online fit Hofland perfectly.

“Not having to attend classes, but knowing what is due when really worked for me,” she said. “I just have to be sure to stick to the study schedule I set for myself and the due dates for assignments — but that would be true for any class I would attend.” 

Although she is thousands of miles away from most of her classmates, Hofland feels challenged and connected.

“I have been able to work on projects in cooperative groups without ever having met face-to-face – the quality of the work is high and the students in my cohort are all very dedicated and responsible,” she said. “The content is extremely relevant to my profession, and I really enjoy the dialogue with other professionals from around the world.”

Hofland plans to use her degree to become the technology expert on her team.

“It is a field that is changing constantly, and I would like to have a leading role, to be part of the people who facilitate ease of technology,” she said. 

Related content
Click here to learn what it takes to be successful in online classes.
Click here for an infographic dispelling 10 of the top myths about online education.

Ben Ackerman, U.S. Navy
Petty officer in the United States Navy
Degree: Bachelor’s degree in administration

Second Class Petty Officer Ben Ackerman balances time working at the Naval District Washington Police Force with his online degree pursuit.

The Troy native is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in administration with a concentration in organizational administration and an undergraduate certificate in social media at Central Michigan University while working at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.

A military career often does not allow for a traditional classroom experience, but Ackerman knew he wanted to continue his education in a quality program. After viewing the U.S. News and World Report’s top rankings, he knew CMU was the online bachelor’s degree for him.

“True learning comes from the dialogue shared between students and their educators,” said Ackerman. “CMU’s technology allows collaborative learning in an online environment.”  

Ackerman values the opportunity of flexible education with his active military schedule as he looks to become a better trainer while serving in his current role. He plans to return to Michigan in 2017 following his service to pursue his master’s degree.

Angela Brooks, Midland, Michigan
Employed full time, wife, mother of two
Degree: Bachelor of Science in psychology

Angela Brooks spent time at CMU more than 14 years ago but left before graduating after being offered a full-time job and getting married. She has recently returned to CMU as an online student.

As a full-time professional and mother, Brooks says online education was her only option.

“I work full time and have two children in school full time,” said Brooks. “Online was my only option to keep my lifestyle. I couldn't finish the degree at night — the classes were not offered on campus at times convenient enough for me.”

For Brooks, the scheduling options and flexibility of online education benefit her tremendously.

“I'm able to keep my job at a full-time schedule, get my kids to after school activities and I am not spending tons of money on gas commuting,” said Brooks. “Life happens and unless you can devote all of your time to one area of your life, online education is really your only option. You can work it into your schedule instead of working your life into your class schedule.”

Once she obtains her bachelor’s degree, Brooks will qualify to move into a paralegal position with her current employer.

“They require a bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate,” said Brooks. “I'm already doing the job but I will get paid for the work I'm doing. Yes, that means a raise!”

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