When I first started considering the MAT@USC some of the first things that went through my mind were “An online program? How will they know it’s me? Will employers take me seriously if I’ve done an online program?” Although I was looking forward to saving on time and gas by not commuting, I just wasn’t sure if this was the right program for me. After talking with admissions many many times, I was somewhat reassured that this would be a program unlike any other, and that the benefits of having classmates from all over the world would be something no other university could give me.
Now that I am in the program and have seen how it all works, I have been very impressed with how smoothly everything has gone. The biggest surprise for me was how incredibly easy the online platform is to use, as well as how true to a real classroom it really is. I can see and hear all of my classmates, and we can even form small discussion groups both inside and outside of class time. As with most things technical, I expected a slew of tech problems. My biggest problem has been my internet dropping for a minute, and I simply logged right back in. The first course all students in the program take is intended to give students time to familiarize themselves with the online classroom, the school which you will be working with, and writing papers (which for me had been a while!). This 4 week course was the perfect time to work all the kinks out.
With “classrooms of the future” becoming more of a reality, USC is paving the course for other institutions. I should have realized sooner that the university would never jeopardize their integrity, and would only offer something they truly believed in. If the online part is something that is turning you away, I would urge you to give it another thought. Schools are looking for teachers that are tech savvy, and this is one way to show your smarts!