Close up of a graduation diploma laying on top of an open keyboard next to a stack of books.

Why I Loved Getting My Online Master’s Degree at Concordia University Irvine

I shouldn’t be, but I am always surprised when fate or divine intervention confirms a good choice I made that at the time I questioned or thought was crazy. Completing my M.A.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction at Concordia University Irvine was an example of one of these fate-filled chapters of my life.

What Concerns Did You have Before Pursuing a Graduate Program?

I was initially motivated to pursue my master’s to secure the highest retirement salary I possibly could. Being a single parent, I felt I needed to support my daughter in completing her college education before investing in my educational pursuits. Working full-time as a middle school teacher also concerned me about the time required to complete an advanced degree because it is highly demanding of your time and energy.

In pulling the trigger on this educational goal, I intended to enroll in the program that had an in-person cohort component but clicked on the fully online program by mistake. I panicked when I realized this. The Concordia University Irvine staff was very accommodating when I called and told me it was an easy fix that they could help me with.

I took a minute to think this through and decided that perhaps there was a reason that I did not yet completely understand why I had clicked on the choice that I did. I opted to remain in the fully online program, even though it made me nervous.

Did You have any Reservations about a Fully Online Program?

Still questioning my choice, I was concerned about my level of technology skills. I had basic skills that came with working in the classroom and using the computer and internet as a tool for learning and managing the professional aspects of my career and personal life. I knew that the fully online format of this master’s program would challenge my tech skills and push me into growing them in ways I didn’t even know I could.

I also wondered how the interactive conversations, which enhance learning and are a part of group projects, would work with my fellow students in my cohort. I doubted that the interactions conducted entirely online would be as authentic and meet the high-level debate like I had experienced in the traditional college classrooms of my past.

In addition, I would be required to use American Psychological Association (APA) writing style for all written work, including my capstone. I had no idea what APA writing consisted of and if it would be difficult to apply.

How Did Concordia University Irvine’s Online Format Address Your Concerns?

Despite my nagging concerns about how I was to complete my master’s successfully, I hit the ground running as the first course began and never looked back as I progressed through each course in preparation to build and submit my capstone.

The Concordia University Irvine coursework is well designed and cutting-edge, and the course supporting texts and supplemental materials are well chosen. The courses build on each other to prepare for determining the focus of your capstone while the final courses guide you through compiling and completing your capstone in a timely manner.

I also found the instructors and professors to be extremely helpful and supportive. All of them are well versed in their subject areas and helped me grow my skills in technology and writing to succeed in completing my master’s degree. Whenever I asked for help when I got stuck using the technology and Blackboard (the course management system) or requested input on the writing I worked on, my instructors got back to me in no time with assistance and great input to continue growing and learning.

Because the program had me taking a course at a time, completing all of the reading, assignments, and group work was very doable while working full-time. I managed my college coursework in the evenings and on weekends and still had time to invest in the things outside of work and college that brought me joy and built a healthy lifestyle.

How did You Foster Connection and Collaboration with Your Cohorts and Professors?

Like most new things, there was a learning curve to the interactions with peers in the online discussions and building the teamwork needed to complete a group project. I appreciated that this was done in baby steps. As my cohort progressed through the courses and got to know each other on a more personal level, the communication and discussions also became more complex and valuable in supporting my learning.

In Your Opinion, What are the Top Advantages of Concordia University Irvine’s Online M.A.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction Program?

I thoroughly enjoyed this learning experience and highly recommend Concordia University Irvine’s online master’s program. The format of taking one course at a time and the ability to complete the work on my own timeline helped me to successfully complete the program on time. The fact that all departments of Concordia staff are supportive and desire to see their students succeed is an added bonus, and what is learned in this master’s program is current and applicable to the classroom.

Concordia University Irvine has a highly developed technology department which was another support piece to this online master’s program. They are easy to contact and are very helpful in supporting students as you grow your use of technology as a tool of 21st-century education. In addition, Concordia’s library has an abundance of materials to access throughout your course work and the capstone.

As for that divine intervention, the fully online format of this master’s program prepared me very well for the unexpected school shut down and shift to online and hybrid formats because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was much more prepared to navigate the course management system my K-12 district selected, assist students in preparing and submitting their online assignments, and help peers troubleshoot online learning for their classes.

If you’re looking for an online master’s program, I definitely suggest checking out Concordia University Irvine’s!