Not only is Dr. Ray Broussard a UGA/USG eCore History professor still teaching in his 90s, but he’s also a World War II and Korean War veteran. eCampus visits Dr. Broussard’s home in Athens, Georgia for an update on his love of life and teaching.



We last interviewed Dr. Broussard in 2012, when we learned about his time in the Navy, his early teaching days, and his genuine surprise when he realized you really could teach History online. Today, he is not only the oldest, but also one of USG eCore’s most engaging instructors and consistently receives gushing comments from students in his course evaluations-- many who are amazed to learn world and United States history from someone who helped make the history.

At 91 years old, Dr. Broussard and his wife (a retired high school history teacher), haven’t been up for traveling as much, so he invited us to visit with him at his home. We arrived at his peaceful, quaint little house on the Eastside of Athens where he eagerly welcomed us at the door and guided us to the living room. Surrounded by family photos, shelves upon shelves of history books, and various naval memorabilia, we settled in on the couch for our chat. In Dr. Broussard’s own words, “History is not about the future. If any historian starts teaching about the future, stop listening. He is no historian.” Thus, we spent a lot of our time together speaking about his past and what influenced his career in higher education. 

His eyes sparkled as he recalled his early years as a graduate student and one of his professors, Dr. Carlos Castañeda, who was not just a mentor, but “almost like an uncle.” Dr. Castañeda, of whom the Perry-Castañeda Library at the University of Texas at Austin is named, played a central role in the early development of the Benson Latin American Collection there, which is considered one of the world’s foremost repositories of Latin American materials. 

With a double major in History and Spanish on the undergraduate level, Broussard was torn between the two when he reached graduate school. It was due to his close relationship with Castañada that he discovered Latin American Studies. According to Broussard, Latin American studies was really “whatever you want to make out of it; history, literature, and economics…” However, when he reached the doctoral level, he had to choose one because as he puts it, he “couldn’t write a thesis on all three.”

"History is not about the future. If any historian starts teaching you about the future, stop listening... they are no historian."

In his undergraduate years, Broussard spent a lot of time “taking various courses that
interested [him], but not with any particular focus or direction, educationally speaking.” Broussard says that if he could go back and speak to his younger self, he would advise him to “concentrate a little more.” He emphasizes the great importance of students focusing on something that really interests them, and it will come easily. Originally a chemistry major, Broussard found himself struggling to make Cs. However, he was making As in History without “even cracking a book,” he says. 

Today, Broussard’s excitement for history shows as he tells us about the book he is currently reading, Lucky 666: The Impossible Mission, about a B-17 bomber that flew a suicide mission into enemy territory during WWII, at one point making an emergency landing in the jungles of New Guinea. Stories like this one are of particular interest to Broussard because they took place in areas where he was actually stationed during the war.

 “I’m fascinated with what happened; it was an area of New Guinea in the Bismarck Sea. That’s where they were operating, and that’s where I was! On a little island on the Bismarck Archipelago called Manus.” 

While reading the book, he recalled reading in the newspaper at the time (1942-1943) about a new technique developed in the area called “Skip Bombing.” Bombers flew close to the water and dropped bombs onto the water, “skipping” them across the ocean to hit their intended targets. “This book is bringing back a lot of that, and filling in a lot of blanks of information that I didn’t have before.”

During his time of service in WW2, one of the less obvious challenges faced was the lack of sanitary conditions. Meline Bay in the Pacific “was a very miserable time for all of us,” he said. With no soap to clean or wash food trays, gastrointestinal problems were widespread through the troops. “And I’m not going to tell you anymore. It was pretty bad,” he said.

Broussard spoke with conviction as he reflected on the historical uniqueness of America. “This country is different than almost any other country, because of the way it started” during the American Revolution, he said. “They created a government where the people were in control,” but in the last 30 or 40 years, this appears to have become somewhat less certain, he explained.

Broussard’s love of history, country and teaching is what led him to eCore, the University System of Georgia’s online core curriculum (first two years of college). 

“Teaching is something I love to do. The more I did it, the more I loved it. That is why I’m still doing it, and I am grateful that they gave me an opportunity to do it when I couldn’t stand in front of a classroom anymore.” 

Broussard says he decided to retire from the classroom at the University of Georgia when his hearing deteriorated so much that he had trouble hearing his students. “But on the computer—no sound,” he says. Soon, Broussard was approached to teach an eCore history course; he thought it was “simply impossible” to teach online and that “it couldn’t be done.” Seventeen years later, Broussard can’t imagine life without his computer and the ease and convenience it offers him at his age. “I just have to get up to the computer desk and start punching those keys,” he says confidently, but not before revealing he “didn’t know beans about computers” prior to receiving a few lessons. 


Dr. Broussard and his family use Facebook as a form of extended communication.

Broussard has found online learning to be his preferred method of education. In 1966, Broussard had an average of thirty students in a class, but towards the end of his time in face-to-face instruction, he remembered looking out to a lecture hall of two-hundred and fifty students, having little participation. He began to evaluate how effective that form of teaching was, where he was only able to engage twenty percent of the class and found that “that’s not teaching.”

Even in smaller classes, he would find a number of students “scrunched down and not participating.” In online courses, discussion posts are required, which inspire student engagement. Broussard logs on every day to interact with his students, where he has found that most of the discussion in the course is between the student and himself, rather than student to student. He frequently poses challenging questions hoping to encourage his students to reflect deeply and “remember history as a story.”

"It's so good to hear history from somebody who's so old to remember so much of it!"

In addition to being highly engaged with his online students, Dr. Broussard also makes a
concerted effort to sway those who are not history fans. His advice for those who do not enjoy history is to, “just stop back and remember—history is a story. Look for the story.” And it seems that there are some students that appreciate the storytelling style of his online dialogue, as he still recalls a comment from one of his very first eCore course evaluations. “I still remember this one student wrote, ‘It’s good to hear history from somebody who’s so old to remember so much of it!’”

Toward the end of our time together, we asked Dr. Broussard what inspires him to continue teaching. He responded with what he calls his favorite expression, “It keeps my juices going. It gives me something to look forward to every day. You know, when you get along in years there’s not much that keeps you going. Some people just watch television all the time. I’m really not interested in television.” 

Students at most University System of Georgia institutions can enroll and register to take Professor Broussard’s introductory U.S. History course through eCore.


Have you taken eCore History with Dr. Broussard? Share your experience below.

Jessica Blakemore, Mia Bennafield, and Dr. Melanie Clay contributed to this article.  
Congratulations to UWG economics lecturer, Kim Holder on being named the 2017 UWG Employee of the Year! Kim received her B.S. in Economics from the University of West Georgia, followed by her M.A. in Economics from Georgia State University. She's actively engaged around campus, serving as an adviser for student organizations and a leader throughout the UWG community. Kim has recently received accolades for her National video competition, Rockonomix, which helps motivate student learning by using popular media to reinforce basic economic principles. 


Before she was the Best of the West and resident Economics Queen, Kim was an adult learner balancing a family and online learning in order to complete her bachelor's degree. We're diving deep into the archives today to revisit Kim during her time as an eCore student.

*This story originally appeared on the USG eCore website prior to 2008.

“As a little girl I often dreamed about what I would ‘be’ when I grew up.  It seemed that the world was full of so many possibilities that I wondered how anyone could choose just one!”  So begins Kim Holder, eCore student at UWG, on how her dreams seemingly got lost along the way as “real life” took over.  Childhood dreams of being a “schoolteacher” and/or a “veterinarian” seemed lost forever after marriage and two kids.  

But choices were made along the way that Kim feels make her “fortunate” and “blessed.”  All the possibilities that lay before her as a child and propelled her into college as a pre-med student logically led her to choose not just one “occupation” but several. The ones she chose were: wife, parent and stay-at-home mom.

Ten years later, after her personal dreams were safely tucked away like faded memories, several events caused them to re-surface.  Kim watched her little boy embrace the possibility of being “a shark scientist one day and a steam train engineer the next.”  The inner child of wonder and possibility in Kim was re-born.  Later, after “something inside [her] had been stirred,” Kim recalls, “a friend mentioned online classes you could take through local Georgia Colleges, [so] I began to cautiously investigate and a little bit of hope crept in.”

Now since the fall of 2004, Kim is about to finish her ninth eCore class, all 100% online. “eCore allowed me to return to school without having to wait until my children were both in school full-time which was my original plan.  Because of eCore I will graduate in 2008 instead of enrolling in 2008!  I saved countless dollars in babysitting and gas monies for the 1 ½ hour daily commute to Carrollton from home.  I was able to go to class in my pajamas after putting my kids to bed, and while sometimes it lasted until the wee hours of the morning, it’s hard to beat that kind of convenience.”  

 Kim sums up her experience so far by stating, “eCore gave me the hope to live my own dreams and to work towards what seemed, at times, to be an impossible goal.”  And true to her childhood dreams of multiple possibilities, Kim is seeking a “B.S. in Economics with a double minor in Chemistry and Biology, as well as the requirements to apply to dental school.”  eCore has not only helped give Kim the hope and tools needed to achieve her goals, but also a legacy she is passing down to her children.  According to Kim, “…parenting is not so much telling your children what to do but living your life so they can see the path you leave behind.”   
Lacey Barrett, 31
Dalton State College
BS Organizational Leadership: Healthcare Administration Concentration
Expected Graduation: May 2017


What classes are you currently taking with eCore/eMajor? 
Currently, I am taking Administrative Office Procedures, Reflective Seminar III, US Healthcare System, Reflective Seminar Capstone, and Public Finance.

Do you work in addition to taking online classes?  
I am currently employed full-time with Hamilton Medical Center as an IV Pharmacy Technician where I compound IVs for inpatients.  

Why is completing your college degree important to you?  
My education is important to me because no one in my immediate family has attended or graduated from college other than myself and my sister.  I want to give my family and my children someone to look up to and be proud of, and I want my future generations to follow in my footsteps. 

Why did you choose to take online classes?  
I have a busy schedule with working full-time, taking full-time online courses, being a mother of two small children, and being the church pianist for Spring Hill Church.

What have you enjoyed the most about your online classes?  
I enjoy that my classes are flexible and that I can logon to classes whenever I need to wherever I have an internet connection.

How would you describe the instructors you’ve had in your classes?  
All of my instructors have been kind and understanding if any issues arose, as long as the issue was communicated.  Test grades and assignment grades have usually been posted and updated quickly.

When you're not doing schoolwork, what are you doing?  
When I am not doing school work, I love to draw, paint, and spend time with my husband, my four-year-old son, and two-year-old daughter.  I am also a musician and a church pianist.  I enjoy playing music and singing with my kids.

What is something interesting about you that your classmates might be surprised to hear?
I was a member of L'Abri Symphony Orchestra for two years.

How and when do you make time to spend on your schoolwork?  
I work Monday through Thursday, so I spend my weekends doing school work.

Who or what inspires you and why? 
My inspiration comes from my children; they inspire me to be a better person by encouraging me to believe in myself.


If you are taking an online college course, chances are you will have to take a proctored exam at some point. A proctored exam means that the online student must arrange to take the exam under the supervision of a designated “proctor”. Online programs often use proctored exams as a way to ensure the academic integrity of the student’s performance in the class. 

In eCore classes, students are required to take at least one proctored exam per course. This is dependent upon the instructor, and can include the course midterm and/or the final exam. Proctored exams can be intimidating to online students who are accustomed to studying in the comfort of their own home, but they don’t have to be. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your proctored exam - and knock it out of the park!

  1. Review your proctoring options.
    Depending on your program, there are typically several acceptable proctors from which you can choose. This can include dedicated testing sites at your local college or university, education officers, school counselors, or even virtual testing options. When choosing your proctor, consider what is going to work best for you. Is it convenient to your work or home? Do the hours work with your schedule? What costs are associated with that particular testing option?

  2. Double check the time and location of your appointment.
    It’s your worst nightmare - you arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed at 9:30 for your exam appointment, only to realize that you were actually scheduled at 9:00 and they don’t have room to work you in. You do NOT want this to happen. The day before your exam, double check all of the information for your appointment to ensure that you have the accurate information regarding the time and location.

  3. Know what you are allowed to use on the exam.
    Some instructors allow you to bring support materials to use on the exam, such as a calculator, a formula sheet, or even your own notes. This information should be made available to students in the course, so check beforehand to make sure you have everything you need. The items allowed will also be sent to your selected proctor, so you will not be allowed to bring any items into the exam that are not on your instructor’s approved list.

  4. Arrive well rested and fed.
    During a proctored exam, it is important to stay focused and not be distracted from the material. Staying up late studying or skipping breakfast can decrease your ability to concentrate make it difficult to perform your best. A growling stomach can be very distracting (for you and your neighbor) when you’re trying to make it through a timed exam.
      
  5. Arrive early to the testing center.
    Plan to arrive to the testing center at least 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. This will allow for any delays you may experience navigating to your destination, finding parking, etc. It will also give you a chance to use the restroom, collect your thoughts, and mentally prepare yourself for the exam. 
Plan ahead and you will be well equipped for a successful outcome on your proctored exam!

For specific information about proctored exams in eCore classes, visit the eCore website. You can also contact the USG eCampus testing team with any questions at etesting@westga.edu

Good luck!
Tara Brown, 41
Dalton State College
BS in Organizational Leadership: Healthcare Administration Concentration
Expected Graduation: May 2017

What classes are you currently taking with eCore/eMajor?
Currently I am enrolled in US History, Intro to Criminal Justice, Technology for Organizations, Reflective Seminar 3, and Capstone.

Are you currently employed? If so, where and what do you do? 
Yes I am currently employed full-time for Adventist Health systems.  I am a Practice Manager for a busy Orthopedic practice.  I also try to take a pretty full class load when I can.

Why is completing your college degree important to you?
Since I was a little girl I loved school and I loved learning. I always had big plans of going to college and becoming something great. I became a Mom at a very young age so my desire to have a college education was put on hold. I attempted classes on and off for almost 20 years and finally got to a good place in my life that I could take the time to finish. 

Why did you choose to take online classes?
I really like the on-campus, face-to-face classes but working full time and being a wife and mom did not leave much time for that. I was so skeptical at first because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the course work. I am also a very social person so sitting behind a computer didn't seem like my thing. However, after the first semester of eCore I knew that choosing to take online classes was the best decision I had ever made. It was flexible for my schedule, and yet I don't feel like I have missed out on learning anything that I would have learned in the classroom environment. I am still able to interact with my fellow classmates and learn so many "real life" scenarios.

What have you enjoyed the most about your online classes?
I have really enjoyed the eMajor classes. They are not just general courses that may or may not apply to what you currently do or would like to do in the future. The classes for my program are tailored to the healthcare field and are relevant to what happens daily. I have learned so much regarding things that I deal with every day and it has given me major insight on how to handle certain things differently than I have in the past. 

How would you describe the instructors you’ve had in your eCore and eMajor classes?
My instructors have been great to work with. They seem to understand that we have so many things that we are juggling and they are always so eager to help us be successful. The knowledge and experience that they bring to the table is very beneficial.

When you're not doing schoolwork, what are you doing? 
I love spending time with my husband and our kids. We have a 13 year old still at home, and a 20 and 23 year old that both have babies of their own. So we love spending time with our grandbabies ages, 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years. I also love seeing new places and meeting new people so traveling any chance we get is my favorite thing to do. Otherwise, I am looking forward to graduation in May so I can read a book for pleasure or go home at night and watch TV again. Those are things I don't get to do much of these days.

What is something interesting about you that your classmates might be surprised to hear?
I think when most people meet me the one thing they are surprised about is that I am a grandmother. I definitely don't fit the description and don't "feel" like I am old enough to be one, either. 

How and when do you make time to spend on your schoolwork?
I make a point to log in and review assignments daily. This usually happens in the evenings after dinner, and weekends are when I am able to work on bigger assignments. It is not always necessary to log in every day but this helps keep me focused on what I need to do.  When you are taking multiple classes at one time it can be very overwhelming to keep up with when things are due. I have a planner that I write everything in....school, work, and personal. This is great way for me to visualize my day or week and keep track of overlapping assignments, or when other things may interfere. 

Who or what inspires you and why?
I am inspired to always strive to be a better person. To learn something new, try something new, or just improve what I currently have. I worked very hard as a single mom years ago to gain skills that provided me with jobs that made me feel like I made a difference and made me a better person. The only thing that has ever been lacking was my college degree. That has been my inspiration to keep going and to never give up. I hope that I will leave that legacy for my kids to see - that it doesn't matter how long it takes or how old you are, that you can accomplish your goals, and to always try to be a little better than you were today.

What would you say to someone who is considering taking their first online class through eCore or eMajor?
Just do it! Be organized and stay on top of your work and you will be successful.

What do you plan to do with your degree after graduation?
After graduation I hope to be able to advance within my organization and utilize my skills that I have learned in the program as well as my years of experience. I love healthcare and plan to continue doing this for as long as I can.

If you haven’t noticed yet, today is Friday the 13th, what many consider the unluckiest day of the year. It’s also a full moon, which may or may not contribute to some extra wackiness. To top it all off, the first week of eCore and eMajor classes also ends on this (supposedly) unluckiest of days. It seems the stars have aligned to set students up for some extra bad luck if they’re not careful. But fear not! We have your guide to avoiding the dreaded Friday the 13th curse - and starting your semester off with only the best of luck!

Here are 13 tips to help eCore and eMajor students AVOID any extra bad luck today and the rest of the semester.
  1. Login to class! The first week of class is almost over. If you haven’t logged in yet - do it today! Here’s how to login for eCore and eMajor classes.

  2. Do your introduction activities. eCore and eMajor classes have a participation deadline of noon TODAY. Students who do not participate by the deadline will be reported non-attending, and some schools drop those students from class. That’s a surefire ticket to the bad luck train!

  3. Absolutely, under no circumstances, should you step on cracks of any sort today!

  4. Ask for help. Having trouble getting logged into class? Our helpdesk is open late this week, and our reps can walk you through it. Don’t cause yourself any more stress than you need to - call us! The luck fairies will reward you, we promise! 1-855-933-2673.

  5. Schedule your proctored exam. All eCore classes and some eMajor classes require at least one proctored experience during the term. Scheduling your exam now is a great way to set yourself up for a smooth (and bad luck-free) semester. Look for the “Smarterproctoring” button inside your course to find a testing location and make your appointment.

  6. If you see a black cat coming your way… RUN!! (In the other direction, obviously).

  7. Secure your textbooks and course materials. Most eCore classes include free digital textbooks (OERs). However, some courses require a lab kit purchase, and most eMajor classes require a textbook. If you haven’t already purchased your materials, you should do so ASAP. Starting off the semester behind is no way to avoid the bad luck curse. Textbook requirements are available here for eCore and eMajor.

  8. Familiarize yourself with academic resources. Even the best students need a little help occasionally, and it is helpful to know what support services are available to you and how to access them. Check out this blog for a summary of on-campus and online resources available to you as an online student.

  9. Avoid throwing or handling any hard or sharp objects in close proximity to mirrors today. One day of bad luck is enough - you don’t want seven years!

  10. Make a study plan. If you haven’t already done so, today is a great time to lay out your study plan for the semester. Think about your daily routine and carve out some time to designate as “study time”. Although these classes are online, some students find it helpful to have regular times allotted in their schedule to work on assignments. With work and families and other responsibilities, time can get away from you easily. Having a set study schedule is a good way to make sure you have the time to dedicate to school every week.

  11. If it’s raining - go OUTSIDE before opening your umbrella, and be sure to close it before re-entering the building. No one wants a wet floor OR the bad luck that comes with open umbrellas indoors.

  12. Follow us on social media! Social media is a great place to interact with other online students and to be “in the know” on important announcements related to your classes. You’ll also find helpful student success tips, motivational articles, and highlights of our online students and faculty. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and follow our PlaneteCampus blog.

  13. Last but certainly not least - if you happen to see a ladder, do not be tempted to test your limbo skills under it. Walk AROUND the ladder! I repeat - walk AROUND the ladder!

Follow these tips, and you should be off to a great start. Also, if you see any pennies laying around it wouldn’t hurt to pick them up (but only if it is on heads)!
  Best of luck to all of our students this semester!
Angela Martin, 37
University of North Georgia
BA in History with Teacher Certification
Expected Graduation: 2019

What is your occupation?
I am self employed as a freelance artistic photographer, a full-time student, a full-time mom to a 3 year-old and a 17 year-old, and a full-time take-care-of-everything-elser.

What class are you currently taking with eCore/eMajor? 
This semester I am taking HIST 1112 (World Civilizations) and GEOL 1011K (Introductory Geosciences). In the past I have taken World Literature and HIST 1111. 

Why is completing your degree important to you? 
Completing my degree has been a work in progress since the early 2000's. I graduated high school early, attended Technical College, and earned a degree and licensure as a Master Cosmetologist (which I still hold). That degree was meant to be a means to an end. I always held the desire to return to college for a degree. But, life happens; I became pregnant with my oldest child, married and divorced, and struggled as a single parent for years before enrolling at (then) Gainesville College. While I was able to earn some credits at Gainesville College by taking night classes, my progress was not sustainable as a single parent. I withdrew. When the college changed to Gainesville State, I enrolled again, and again found that the scheduling of classes for a single mother working retail hours just did not work. So again, I withdrew. When Gainesville State became part of the University System of Georgia and subsequently merged into the University of North Georgia, a new world of opportunities arose. So, I enrolled for a third time. And because of online learning platforms like eCore along with night classes, I have been able to sustain a steady pace and will graduate with my Associates this Fall before transferring into the B.A program!

Why did you choose to take online classes? 
I chose online classes for the scheduling convenience. The classes are by no means 'easier,' but I can work them into my daily schedule a lot easier.

How would you describe the instructors you've had in your eCore/eMajor classes?
Thus far, my instructors have been phenomenal! I could not ask for more knowledgeable, helpful, and genuinely interested instructors. I wish I could meet all of them in person!

What has been the best thing about taking online classes? 
There are several 'best' things. One thing that I love is that the classes are open-resource, which means no out of pocket expense for books! Another best thing is the platform; it is easy to use, simple, streamlined, and very convenient. And besides the convenience of scheduling factor, the instructors through eCore have been wonderful.

When you're not doing school work, what are you doing? 
When I am not doing school work I am usually busy taking care of my 3 year-old, spending time with my husband and with my 17 year-old. Genealogy is a huge hobby/passion of mine, so I spend a lot of time researching and taking (sometimes dragging) my family out and about with me to random historical spots and cemeteries. They love it. Well the 3 year-old not so much, but everyone else does. My occupation (photography) is more artistic in nature, so I do not typically take the usual 'family portraits'; my photos usually have a theme, such as fantasy, cowboy/girl, 30's singer at a bar, etc. Being creative with photography is a great stress reliever for me.

How and when do you make time to focus on your school work? 
I set myself on some sort of a schedule. It isn't a normal school schedule, but it works for me. For instance, I will get up early and log-in, check on the work that is coming up in my classes, make sure I have them written down in my planner (including reading assignments). Then I use my iPad for reading assignments while I am taking care of other things throughout the day. I use the Quizlet app on my iPhone as a resource for remembering vocabulary and terms. In the afternoon and evenings I get back online to complete any discussions, postings, tests, etc. For essays, I start working weeks ahead if possible, just to make sure I have good resources and a couple of rough drafts. School literally becomes a part of my life schedule, like breathing. I am touching it in some form all day, and while that may seem overwhelming, it truly isn't, because this schedule allows me to take regular breaks through out the day, which actually seems to help me retain the information better.

What would you say to someone who is considering taking their first online class through eCore or eMajor? 
Make sure you are ready to read a lot of material. Start mentally preparing ahead of time; figure out how you will merge your classes into your daily schedule, including weekends. Check in daily and participate in discussions; I have had some fun and lively discussions through eCore! Once you get the hang of your own personal schedule, you will love eCore. Just remember, you will get out of online classes what you put into them, and if you put in the effort, you will have an excellent experience, learn a lot of great information, and earn a great grade!


What do you plan to do with your degree after graduation?  
I plan to teach History at the High School level, within the public school system.