The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: master’s degree (page 2 of 3)

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting

spotlight-CHANGED-300x200SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: A privately-held education industry trailblazing company dedicated to improving the lives of people through literacy achievement. This confidential company has branches in both MA and NH. Applicants interested in the position will work with the New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting Agency.

New Dimensions in Technology (NDT) continues to be on the forefront of change. Our experienced Recruiting Team has seen industry trends come and go. NDT Recruiters have developed keen insight into companies that are most likely to grow and prosper. NDT also offers a proven track record of successful matching of candidates with client companies by understanding our candidates career goals and knowing the needs of our client companies and their corporate cultures. We have partnered with start-up companies to staff and grow their businesses into FORTUNE 500 companies; we have assisted our mid-size and large client companies in recruiting the most sought after superstars. No matter what the global economic conditions, NDT consistently delivers value to both new and long-time client companies and candidates.

Position: Vice President of Engineering/Chief Technology Officer

Their Mission:  To provide quality professional learning, ongoing support, programs, and tools to educators whose goal is to educate students to become fluent independent readers.

This is a newly created position. He/she will be a key member of the executive leadership team and report directly into the Publisher/CFO. The person in this role will lead the company in their next generation of web and digital offerings and must have a strong background in leading high-performance product development teams.

Professional Requirements:

  • Experience building and leading high performance product teams that partner well with marketing, program management, and customer support
    • Creative technology leader who still loves to “code” with product development experience in agile methodology processes, leading mobile and web application development teams
    • Demonstrated competency in leading technology teams, including managing resources across multiple projects in a complex environment
    • Superior analytics, planning, innovation and product development mindset
    • Demonstrated interest in and understanding of emerging educational and product technology trends and opportunities that prepare students and drive highly personalized learning experiences
    • Knowledge of best practices for data security, especially regarding student or other sensitive data; identity and access management
    • Knowledge of Data & Information Management: Business Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics
    • History of working with a Service Oriented Architecture, REST
    • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills – with the ability to influence, facilitate, collaborate and manage cross-matrix team
    • Knowledge of web application technologies required including .Net Framework, JavaScript, contemporary JavaScript libraries such as “Knockout.JS”, “Angular.JS”
    • Knowledge of mobile technologies including Objective-C, xCode, Swift, Xamarin, Java, Eclipse
    • Knowledge of cloud technologies including Microsoft Azure and Cloud Computing Strategy
  • Experience in using Gamification in a learning environment a plus

Strongly Preferred:

  • Bachelor or Master’s CS Degree
  • Passionate about using technology to make a difference in a person’s life
  • Start-up experience

 

Click here to view further details on this opportunity!

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter through the recruiting agency’s online portal here.

Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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#WhatsYourWhy Wednesday with Patrick McGraw

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

Last fall, we held a scholarship competition and asked our students to tell us their story — their why — behind their decision to enroll in a graduate program. This series will profile our scholarship winners.

Read previous #WhatsYourWhy Wednesday posts here and here.

 

Patrick Mcgraw - Brandeis GPS online Education - Brandeis GPS blogGraduate Professional Studies: I’m here with Patrick McGraw, a student in our Master of Science in Strategic Analytics program. Congratulations on winning our first “What’s Your Why” scholarship! Tell us where you’re from.

Patrick McGraw: Hi, I’m Patrick McGraw, and I live in Bergen County, New Jersey.

GPS: How many courses have you taken with GPS so far?

PM: I’m currently on my third course with GPS.

GPS: Great! Tell me more about what you do for work.

PM: I am a senior vice president and general manager at Ipsos MMA.  We are a marketing effectiveness consultancy firm based in New York with offices in Norwalk, CT and Chicago. We are also opening international offices in London.

GPS:  What was the main driver in helping you decide to go back to school to get your graduate degree?

PM: The main driver has always been a focus on continuous learning and development, and this is something that leaders I’ve worked with throughout my career have been big champions of. But another big thing is that my industry is at a point of change from a marketing standpoint — there have been huge shifts from traditional marketing tools and tactics into digital marketing and the realms of social media.

Ultimately, I decided it was time to refresh my industry experience  with the latest academic perspectives so that I could continue to drive value for my clients and for my company, and to most effectively coach and develop the people who work with me and for me.

GPS: What made you choose GPS over some other programs that you considered?

PM:  I felt that Brandeis has a nice mix of focus on leadership and the application and integration of the work into a business environment. This is my second master’s, so I was looking for an integrative approach that teaches you to elevate the application in addition to updating the technique.

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GPS: You’ve already touched on this a bit, but is there anything else you hope to gain professionally once you complete the program?

PM: My goal is to be an effective business partner for the clients we serve and to be able to bring the most updated, wide-range perspective and thinking to my work. I want to make sure I’m being the most able coach and developer in the organization that I lead. There is also an underlying personal satisfaction. I love to learn and extend what I’m thinking about in my work every day. GPS really drives you and forces you to do that as part of the process.

GPS: What do you think it takes to be successful at completing a program like this?

PM: You have to have the motivation to do it, and you have to be disciplined about setting aside a good block of time during
the week to do work, whether that is a weekend morning or “on the fly.”

GPS: Can you think of an example where you have been able to directly apply your coursework to what you do at your job?

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with family

PM: Yes, there are a range of applications that come up in this job that really make me think about applying what I’ve learned in my courses. This includes taking the business intelligence perspective I gained through my first course to polishing up on my statistics last summer to even my most recent leadership class. These applications have given me the opportunity to rethink my role in my
organization, and how to coach and develop the team that I lead and the colleagues I work with every day.

GPS: What do you like to do outside of the class and the office?

PM: I focus my extra time on my family. I have a wife and three children, and it’s important that we carve out time for each other. I enjoy spending my free time being adventurous.  My son and I go on a rafting and rock-climbing trip every summer. I also like to fish with my brother and father. I do a lot of outdoor activities to balance out all the desk time.

For more information on the Strategic Analytics program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

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My Student Experience

By: Ingah Davis-Crawford, Student in the M.S. in Instructional Design & Technology program

The fall semester 2014, was my first semester at Brandeis GPS.  The last time I had attended grad school was in 2009, when working on my Master’s in Distance Education from the University of Maryland University College.

Believe me when I say that I had no plans to return to school.  But, in the five intervening years I began to think that maybe I should advance my knowledge explorerof instructional design. At the same time I did very much enjoy not having to spend time studying.  I had gotten back into the swing of having a social life and just being able to watch television or read when I wanted was great and let’s not even mention sleep.  Still, every now and again I would surf the net looking for an online grad instructional design program.

That’s what I was doing when I found the Online Instructional Design and Technology program at Brandeis.  I saw it was a new program and that the first cohort would begin studies in the fall.  It was one of those “now you don’t have any excuses” moments for me. If I didn’t apply who could I blame?  My friends and family would understand.  I could dvr my favorite TV shows.  And sleep, well I have gone without it before and survived.

I enrolled in two courses, Principles of Online Instructional Design and Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. I was beginning to get the hang of things when real life intervened.  During the third and fe-Learning Concept. Computer Keyboardourth weeks of the semester , our father, who had been sick for quite some time, was taken into hospice care and began his journey home.  Needless to say that meant I had to put my classes on the back burner, Dad was the priority.  Of course, I messaged my professors to inform them of my circumstances and they were both very understanding. However professor Salerno was particularly kind and encouraging.  In the end after returning my attention to studying, I made the decision to drop Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in favor of concentrating on Principles of Online Instructional Design (ID).

I really enjoyed the ID course, and it was no walk in the park either.  The course offered an education on two levels – first, it was a thorough overview of the methodology behind instructional design.  Second, it was very enlightening to be able to observe and experience professor Salerno’s teaching method and how he structured the course, respectively.  For instance with respect to teaching method, I noticed that he would use the discussion forum topics to get us to think about or practice a specific instructional design technique prior to the assigning a task that would incorporate that technique on a broader scale.  This I found to be quite useful for my own development throughout the course and I also view it as a practical example of best practices.  The course layout within the classroom was very easy to follow.  Course materials for the weekly modules were clearly placed.  Instructions for discussion forum topics and course assignments were clear and concise.  And, professor Salerno was always available to answer questions or offer feedback on a timely basis.  So, there again he was teaching by example.

In closing, I found the course to be challenging, but I know that I learned a lot and I’m glad to have had the experience.  Overall, I’m very satisfied with the learning experience I have had so far at Brandeis GPS, and I’m looking forward to next semester.

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One mistake presenters should never make and 8 strategies to avoid it

by: Lisa Nielsen

Whether workshops, panels, keynotes, or classes there is one mistake presenters should never make. It is a mistake I learned to never ever do from a wise lady early in my career. I’ve heeded this advice and seen the negative ramifications of those who do not. Ramifications such as a frustrated, unsatisfied, and anxious audience as well as less than favorable reviews and feedback. Additionally, when presenters, don’t heed this advice, the chances of their audience incorporating what they’ve learned into their work, decreases.

Fortunately, if you remember this one piece of advice, your future presentations will be brighter and your audience will leave more satisfied.

The advice is…

Always make sure your audience feel “they have everything they need to be successful.”

Presenters fail when they say things like:

  • “We have a lot to get through today.”
  • “I am speaking quickly so we have time to cover everything.”
  • “We’re already behind schedule.”
  • “In the interest of time…”

Or do thinks like:

  • Require participants to take down everything you say, because you haven’t provided it to them. They’re focused on the low level task of copying, instead of the higher level thinking of making meaning.
  • Not provide a detailed, timed agenda that could be turn-keyed.
  • Not tell up front and remind participants in the middle and end what goals are and that they are making strides in accomplishing the goals of the session.
  1. Build in extra time at the beginning
    Start out by putting your audience at ease. Create a collegial atmosphere as folks arrive. Perhaps a simple do/now ice breaker where you ask participants to talk to the people around them and find out what they hoped to get out of the day. This gets minds flowing and allows for a relaxed start with a networked room.
  2. Plan for latecomers  
    Latecomers can throw off and delay a presentation. When you address the audience ask them to be the ones to fill in a latecomer should they sit next to them and let them know what to share.
  3. Provide ALL materials
    Speaking of what to share, keep it simple. Create a link where participants can access EVERYTHING you’ve shared. This way they don’t worry about missing anything and you don’t have to worry if they didn’t get something down.
  4. Ensure Materials Can Be Re-purposed Don’t share materials in PDF. Don’t give access without copy ability. Provide materials to participants so that it is easy for them to make their own, customize, and bring back to their work. This is a wonderful gift for teachers (time!) and students (great new learning materials).
  5. Smart Name Tags
    You know that link I mentioned above? Don’t worry about saying it over and over or having to keep putting it back on the projector. Provide name tags or cards with all the information participants will need i.e. a link to the presentation, Twitter hashtag, how to connect to the internet, etc. This way, the answer to every question is “It’s on your name tag.”
  6. Sum up the learning
    At the end of your time share all the new things participants will be able to do as a result of your time together. This way you’re focusing on what they have learned. The audience is assured that they got what they came for out of your time together.
  7. Take backs
    Ask participants to share (verbally or via Twitter, text, post it) in 140 characters or less one thing they’ll take back to their work. This reinforces their learning.
  8. Use reassuring statements
    Let the audience you know you are right on track with statements like:
    • “After our time together you’ll know exactly how to…”
    • “We are right on time.”
  9. Have two plans
    Have one plan if the class moves slowly. Have an additional plan if they move quickly. If they do, let them know that they were so on point they get bonus learning. If they move slowly, they’ll still know exactly what you told them they would learn.

So what do you think? Have you experienced presenters who try to rush through information? Have any of these strategies worked for you? Are these strategies you would try when you present?

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From Online to the Field: How to Transfer Your Skills

by: – Custom Content Coordinator

There’s no question graduate education is an asset in today’s competitive professional world. Once nice-to-have, a master’s degree is now a necessity for coveted industry positions in the fastest-growing fields. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects by 2020, the number of jobs requiring a master’s degree for entry is expected to grow by 22 percent.

Demand for a graduate education is growing. But is putting your career on hold to attend graduate school really the answer?

Instead of leaving the workforce, more and more are embracing online education. Technology has evolved to make online education a rich, interactive experience that holds its own against the conventional classroom model. Busy professionals can tailor courses to fit their schedule, making it possible to learn and earn at the same time. With a wealth of options like Khan AcademyedX,  and traditional institutions’ online programs, a master’s level education is now only a click away.

So where can an online education take you? While there are programs on the web for every area of study, two in particular will serve you well in today’s competitive job market: software engineering and strategic analytics. Both computer software and big data are integral to business’ operations placing those two skill sets in high demand in every field. See how online master’s degrees in software engineering or strategic analytics will help you break into Boston’s top industries.

Financial Services. Boston’s burgeoning financial community is in need of employees from all skill sets, especially in the realm of software development and data analysis. Today’s global financial institutions, many of which are headquartered right here in the Hub, rely on complex software programs to function. Software engineers who strategically develop, operate, and maintain this crucial technology are in high demand.

Also in demand are those who can collect, manage, and analyze massive amounts of data.  With the growth of e-commerce and online transactions alone, interpreting and understanding the strategic potential of big data is essential to the health of financial institutions.

Technology. From budding startups to established corporations, Boston’s tech world is a diverse, eclectic, and exciting field to work. Best of all, it’s growing. Fast. It goes without saying that a master’s in software engineering would be an asset for anyone seeking to break into the tech industry, but it’s not strictly computer nerds who need apply. Analytical minds are needed to process big data and apply insights to an organization’s bottom line.

Higher Education. With more than fifty college and universities in Boston, there are plenty of opportunities in the field of higher education, especially for those with a master’s degree in software or strategic analytics. Software programs are vital for a university to function, from student networks to administrative tasks to alumni communications.

Also, for universities, data is at the center of their operations. Statistical insights are key to understanding the application process, students’ academic performance, the movement of funds, and more.

Government Services. The State House and City Hall need more than politicians to keep Massachusetts and Boston running smoothly. As expected, sophisticated software powers all government operations, but strategic analytics skills are just as, if not more, valued at a government institutions. Our governing bodies are incessantly collecting and analyzing data on constituents. With a master’s in strategic analytics, you’re able to apply your skills analyzing and leveraging data to guide government projects.

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The Balance of Life and Learning

Tom Burt is a recent graduate of our Master of Science in Project and Program Management Program. He is currently the Administrative Contracting Officer for GSA/FAS/Supplier Management. Below is his story about his journey through e-learning at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.

“I always knew I would have to go back to school.  My father presource-schedulingresented a perfect example of that—nearing the end of his career, he had been unable to advance any further in his field because he lacked a four-year degree.  For my generation, I equate that to not
having a graduate degree.  Not wanting to be held back from a promotion, going back to school seemed a necessary evil; however, it was a terrifying thought.  Travelling to classes, giving up nights and weekends, simply finding the time to work on assignments—there was no way I would be able to do all that.  Then a co-worker told me about Brandeis GPS, and all my fears went away.

Online Learning made it all possible for me.  I bought my first home about the same time I started my Program and Project Management degree; due to the nature of the program, I was able to balance the challenges of purchasing a home while keeping up with studies.  Also thanks to online learning, I was able to take vacations during semesters!  On ski trips Slimmedto the western US with friends each year, I started every day with a couple hours of school work (and gallons of coffee) before hitting the slopes.  I also remember a trip to Italy for a family wedding that coincided with Professional Communication.  Had I been enrolled in a traditional classroom-based program, I may not have been able to make the trip; instead, I was posting discussion responses while riding the Rome to Florence train, using the onboard wireless, all while traveling at 250 kilometers per hour!  Grazie Brandeis!  Finally, in the last couple semesters, I was able to attend classes while training for an Ironman triathlon (as much as twenty hours of training per week) while also managing to not get fired from my job!

Graduate school does not have to be a life-consuming event, nor should it be.  There is much to be enjoyeBurtofficeslimmedd in life, such as home-ownership, vacations, and the pursuit of personal goals.  These opportunities absolutely can occur, even while maintaining a career and a family.  Not having to sacrifice other opportunities meant everything to me (and also meant the courses flew by in no time!).  Brandeis GPS was and is the key to this ever-important balance of life and learning.  Having achieved this milestone, I can now start
looking forward in my career, confident that I have the educational qualifications to support my endeavors. ”

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A First Look at the New Degree Transforming Online Education

Join us for a free webinar “Online Learning for Professional Development” on Wednesday, June 25th and learn more about Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies’ brand new Masters of Science in Online Instructional Design and Technology program at the Virtual Open House Thursday, June 26th

Education does not look the same as it did ten – or even five – years ago. Rapid technological innovation combined with evolving economy has made online learning much more prevalent. In many ways, the internet has democratized education, making it possible to learn anywhere, anytime and at a much more affordable price point.

By unlocking greater access to education, online learning has exploded. There is a massive demand for the convenience of web-based learning, and especially for high-quality programs that can match the rich experience of classroom learning.

The result is a tremendous expansion in the field of instructional design and technology, or the creation of dynamic learning content for online delivery. Organizations desire skilled professionals able to translate classroom curriculum into an engaging, instructive online education. They need instructional designers who understand how users interact with these online portals and how to optimize their learning experience.

But developing digital courses requires a dynamic skill set, not easily acquired from any single educational program or work experience.

Until now.

Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies has launched an innovative new program transforming the landscape of online learning: Master of Science in Online Instructional Design & Technology. Students will develop extensive knowledge of the theory and practice involved in bringing cutting-edge quality learning experiences to the web. From conception to execution, graduates will have the skills they need to design and develop industry-best learning environments and experiences.

Interested in innovating the next frontier of education? Here are six reasons you should pursue a career in instructional design.

Industry Demand

Industry Demand

The popularity of online learning has skyrocketed in recent years. The convenience of the web makes it possible for working professionals to advance their careers or update their skill set without having to put their job on hold.

 “As public and private interest and money flow into this space, the need for highly trained professionals versed in the art and science of instructional design has almost certainly never been higher,” said Jason Gorman, a member of the professional advisory board for Brandeis’ master of science in online instructional design.

The total job postings for employees with instructional design skills and graduate degrees has increased by 63 percent between 2010 to 2013, according to Brandeis’ Advisory Board, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects above average growth as high as twenty percent for instructional design jobs between 2010 and 2020.

Opportunity for the pros: over 36,000 jobs will be created in just the next four years, according to the Bureau.

Dynamic Day-to-Day

Dynamic Day-to-Day

One of the most appealing aspects of instructional design is it is a dynamic field in which professionals are able to wear multiple hats in their quest to deliver cutting-edge educational experiences. Instructional design is about so much more than building cookie-cutter programs. It’s about understanding how we learn, harnessing technology to improve learning, and creating engaging and effective content to support educational objectives.

Instructional design is a multistage process that calls for a diverse of set of skills. Designers analyze past learning outcomes, and leverage that knowledge to design and develop enhanced instructional programs. They also partner with industry experts or professors to design the curriculum and produce content. They must even act as project managers to oversee how content, instructional tools, and technology integrate to create a dynamic learning environment.

Brandeis’ M.S. in Online Instructional Design & Technology equips students with an extensive and impressive skill set preparing them to meet the diverse demands of instructional design. Glance below to see a preview of promised program outcomes:

  • Apply evidence-based learning science and online pedagogical principles to the design, development, facilitation, and assessment of online courses and programs.

  • Design dynamic, adaptive, and interactive online multimedia-based instructional content and courseware.

  • Evaluate and integrate instructional technologies, platforms, and collaborative tools for use in diverse instructional settings and applications.

  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation in the application of instructional design principles and technologies to respond to instructional challenges and emerging trends.

Collaboration & Creativity

Collaboration & Creativity

Far from a mundane profession, instructional design involves considerable collaboration and creativity. Instructional designers partner with industry professionals or academic professors who are experts on topics to to create optimal eLearning experiences. Together, they brainstorm ways to improve upon past programs, add interactive elements, and other measures to make the educational experience more engaging and effective. They also partner in content creation and management to ensure the best possible learning materials are integrated in the curriculum. The wealth of opportunities to get creative and collaborate with others makes instructional design exciting field.

Bridging Theory & Practice

Bridging Theory & Practice

Instructional designers exercise both sides of their brain to translate theory into practice. They must possess the soft skills needed to nurture a sophisticated understanding of how people learn. There is a theoretical science behind learning that should guide and inform the creation of online educational programs. Educational models like ADDIE and other pedagogical principles must form the blueprint of online course design.

But professionals must step beyond theory and apply these principles to build a product. They must master the practice of utilizing technology to develop courseware solve challenges.

The opportunity to put theory into action and see the tangible results is a stimulating and satisfying part of an instructional design career.

Opportunity Across IndustriesOpportunity Across Industries

While educational institutions represent a large portion of the instructional design field, it is far from the only industry implementing web-based educational programs.

“Instructional design has become a crucial skill set for both educational institutions and training and development organizations across a variety of industries and sectors,” said Brian Salerno, who chairs Brandeis’ new master’s program.

Numerous organizations need educational, training, and professional development resources to maintain a productive workforce. Online materials are a cost-effective way to address onboarding, internal training, and various other instructional needs in private, governmental, and nonprofit industries.

From higher education to giant corporations, opportunities are wide open for instructional designers.

Be on the Cutting-Edge

Be on the Cutting-Edge

Instructional designers are on the forefront of technological evolutions. Because they often operate in the trenches of development, they have early access to cutting-edge new tools and softwares as they strive to build innovative, forward-thinking web experiences. Brandeis’ new master’s program will train students to effectively implement tools and technologies to build industry-leading courseware. Once in the field, however, this knowledge will only expand as more sophisticated technology emerges in the future.

 Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies

Brandeis University's Division of Graduate Professional Studies

Brandeis’ game-changing M.S. in Online Instructional Design & Technology prepares students to be on the forefront of the next frontier in education and training. Not only will they develop a crucial skill set coveted by many organization, but be able to do so on their schedule in small, interactive online courses.

join Brandeis’ Brian Salerno for free webinar “Online Learning for Professional Development” on Wednesday, June 25th and learn more at Brandeis University’s next  Virtual Open House on Thursday, June 26th. 

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My Journey in Online Learning

The M.S. in Project and Program Management program at Brandeis GPS through the eyes of a recent graduate, Thomas Gratiano.

ProjectManagement_03Three years ago as the manager of the Program Management Group within the Manufacturing and Global Supply Chain (MGSC) Division, my manager challenged me to build my business acumen. To meet this challenge, I started researching: certifications, certificates, and degree programs.

Eventually I came across the Brandeis program, the curriculum was exactly what I was looking for to build on my existing Program Management skills. During the pursuit of my degree at Brandeis I took four classes on campus and six online.  Although I was hesitant at first about taking online classes, the online option provided an increased level of flexibility.  This proved to be a key feature of the program as I ended up Program Managing two projects with our team in Belgium while attending classes online. I was able to travel as often as required with no impact to my ability to participate in class. e-Learning Concept. Computer Keyboard

Upon completion of my degree, I was promoted to senior manager in charge of Framingham manufacturing operations and the MGSC Program Management group. The Brandeis degree built my business acumen and provided me the opportunity to continue to grow with my company. 

My Student Experience

by: Daniel Mongeon

Twenty-three years.  That’s the length of time that has eclipsed since I last enrolled in a “for credit” course.  I earned my undergrad at that time and never looked back, until recently.  I had been contemplating taking a course for both professional development and as a possible gateway to applying to a Masters program, but I didn’t really want to do it.

My two sons are 5 and 3.  Seeing them when I arrive home from work is the best part of my day, but it’s still stepping from one job to another.  The second best part of my day is when they’re tucked into bed and I can indulge in some “me” time.  I guard that “me” time jealously and I didn’t want to have my vigorous schedule of TV and reading interrupted by coursework.  Thankfully, my wife and my mother, an educator, wouldn’t allow me to rest on my laurels and I enrolled in RCOM 102 Professional Communications for the Spring 2014 term.

As the opening day for GPS courses approached, my dread increased but I tamped those program-hero-itm1feelings down with hollow sounding (to me) platitudes about “stepping outside of one’s comfort zone” and prepared for the 10 weeks to follow.  After reading through my syllabus and posting my initial introduction, I mapped out a schedule that seemed doable.  Wednesday would be my day for required readings.  Thursday would be for researching and posting my response to my instructor’s discussion post.  Friday would be for working on assignments and responding to posts by my classmates.  Saturday would be a day off, a break from schoolwork.  Sunday, Monday and Tuesday would be for completion of any tasks that needed to be wrapped up by the end of the course week.

It was a good plan, but what is it they say about the best laid plans of mice and men?  Right.  Life happens.  Sometimes a buddy I hadn’t seen in a while would only have Wednesday night free to hang out.  Perhaps I had a commitment on Friday.  There was that wedding to attend in Brooklyn on the weekend of Week 8.  There were times that I just couldn’t wrap my head around getting my work done and would stare at my computer screen, trying to will an idea to pop into my head.

skills-pmpI got through it, however.  Mores to the point, I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed reading posts from other students and constructing a decent response.  Through the research I had to do for my discussion posts and assignments, I learned things that could assist me in not only my job but my day to day life.  Our instructor was excellent at keeping our discussions moving if they bogged down. I found satisfaction in logging in to the class and seeing if there were any responses to what I had posted.  Getting my grades back and reading my instructor’s feedback pushed me to shore up the areas that needed strengthening.

Mostly, I found that stepping outside of my comfort zone wasn’t just an empty platitude; it was a way of “exercising” unused mental faculties and coming out the other side having discovered that I have the capacity to fit more education into my hectic life.  I found that you can come to like something you initially dreaded.

I got an ‘A’ in the course and plan to continue my studies. Although for now, I have some Red Sox games to enjoy, an instructional baseball team to coach and waves to catch.  See you in class.

About the Author:

Daniel Mongeon is a Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies Student Advisor. He has been with GPS for over 3 years and knows all there is to know about your student experience. He is a graduate from Emerson College and loves to surf, watch the sox and spend time with his family.

My Student Experience

by: Rebecca Weiss

I cannot believe the term is already over! While it seems like these past ten weeks flew by, program-hero-strategic-analyticsI can remember there still being so much snow on the ground the first week and now we finally have beautiful weather outside.

This was my first course with GPS as well as my first graduate course since I graduated from undergrad at Brandeis almost two years ago, so it certainly was an exciting new experience. I was enrolled in Foundations of Data Science and Analytics, one of the required courses for the newest master’s program, Strategic Analytics. I was definitely intimidated when I first began, as an Enrollment Advisor at Brandeis, I had very little formal experience working with analytics. I found as I worked through the course, I could apply the principles I learned into many facets of my day-to-day job and the operations of the university as a whole. Our instructor, Leanne Bateman, was great at making sure we related each week’s discussion back to our own experiences at work. I particularly enjoyed one of our assignments where we had to write a job description for a data scientist in our own office.

CoffeeShopIt was an adjustment to get back into the mindset of doing schoolwork. My first week I left all of my reading and videos for Saturday afternoon and I sat in Starbucks for almost 8 hours! But after the first few weeks, I got into a rhythm of setting out times on particular days to do readings and postings.  After these ten weeks, I am very glad that I took the course and I think it will greatly benefit me at work. I plan on taking the summer off, but maybe I will enroll in my second GPS course in the fall!

 

About the Author:

Rebecca Weiss graduated from Brandeis University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Sociology. Currently, she works with Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies as an Enrollment Advisor.

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