When was the last time you paid for something using a check? Do you even own a checkbook? Do you carry and pay for things in cash? If you’re like me, the answers to these questions are... I don’t remember, no, and very rarely. 

Today’s economy is driven by electronic payments, and there is a huge industry supporting those systems that is only going to get bigger - FinTech. FinTech, short for Financial Technology, encompasses all of the technical support systems that move your money from one place to another every time you swipe that debit card, make a purchase on your phone, or even use an app to send money to your friend. It’s an industry that is in high demand, and an exciting one to get in on if you are looking for a career change. Possible positions in FinTech include Application Developer, Web Developer, Analyst, and even Cybersecurity and Information Security roles. 

Here are three of the top reasons you should consider a career in FinTech, especially if you’re here in Georgia. 

  1. FinTech is HUGE in Georgia! According to the American Transaction Processing Coalition (ATPC), 70% of all U.S. payments are processed through Georgia. Atlanta is home to several Fortune 500 Payment Processing companies, such as First Data and NCR, as well as an abundance of smaller start-ups. Some of the top FinTech employers in Atlanta include ADP, Inc., LexisNexis, TSYS, and WorldPay, just to name a few. With such a plethora of employers in the state, there is a high demand for skilled and qualified employees in this sector.

  2. FinTech companies in Atlanta are actively looking for employees. The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce recently supported the formation of the FinTech Atlanta Task Force, which is a coalition of companies and other organizations working to cement Atlanta as the recognized global capital of financial technology. The group’s priorities are to fund and fuel efforts to RECRUIT, RETAIN and EXPAND businesses and jobs across the FinTech ecosystem in metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. You read that right - there is a whole group of FinTech companies in Atlanta specifically tasked with recruiting and retaining qualified people into their organizations.

  3. The demand for employees in FinTech is expected to skyrocket. The FinTech Atlanta Taskforce has estimated a need for roughly 10,000 new employees over the next three years (2016-2019). As the state works to attract even more FinTech companies to Atlanta and the companies that are currently here continue to expand, the need for skilled employees is only going to grow. This is an industry that isn’t going anywhere and is sure to provide stable opportunities for employment in Atlanta for years to come.
There you have it!  A booming and rapidly growing industry with a global footprint right here in Atlanta that is actively looking for employees. And even greater news? There are some great fast-track online options in Georgia to help you become qualified for these positions. Through USG eMajor, Middle Georgia State University offers two online options to expedite your path to a career in FinTech: a 60-Credit Hour Associate of Science in Financial Technology or a Certificate in Financial Technology consisting of just 5 courses (15 Credit Hours). The Certificate option is especially appealing to those that already hold an AS, BS or graduate degree in a related field (such as IT or Finance) and need to add a specialization to their resume. 

For more information on these programs, visit emajor.usg.edu/FinTech, or contact Dr. Kevin Floyd in the School of Information Technology at MGA at kevin.floyd@mga.edu or 478-471-2801.
Jeanette Cox, 35
Dalton State College
BS in Criminal Justice
Expected Graduation: December, 2016

What is your occupation?
I am currently a full-time college student and housewife!

What class(es) are you currently taking with eCore/eMajor? 
I just finished a Corrections class this semester and am finishing up Criminal Law.

Why is completing your degree important to you?
I want to go on to law school. I already had an Associate’s Degree and I needed to finish up with the Bachelor’s so I could go on.

Why did you choose to take online classes through eCore/eMajor?
I began my entire first semester back to college with eCore. They offered all of the pre-requisite classes that I needed and it meant I would not have to drive 45 minutes to my college. They always have the classes that I need and I can take them on here when the times offered on campus do not match up with my availability! 

How would you describe the instructors you've had in your eCore classes?
My instructors have always communicated very well with me. I always know what is expected, assignment deadlines, and they are also always available to help with any questions that I have. 

What has been the best thing about taking online classes?
Online classes allow me to work on the material when it is convenient for me to do it. I do not have to drive and waste time and it has actually allowed me to be able to take more classes at one time because of the time it has saved me from driving back and forth.

When you're not doing school work, what are you doing? 
I have lots to do when I am not doing school work! I enjoy hunting and fishing. I also teach a children’s Sunday school class with my husband. We teach Children’s Church, as well. 

What would you say to someone who is considering taking their first online class through eCore or eMajor?
I say they should do it! I have learned so much from my eCore and eMajor classes. They have helped me with other classes that I have taken on campus. If you have the time to spend and invest in your education, I highly recommend these programs. I do not think I would be graduating at the end of this semester had these classes not been available to me online! 
Alexandra, 16

University of West Georgia
Chapel Hill High School

Alexandra is a student at Chapel Hill High School and is currently attending college online as a dual enrolled student with the University of West Georgia. 

Why is completing your degree important to you? 
I plan to transfer my credits to UGA in order to pursue a degree in environmental sciences (most likely). This is important to me because I will not have the skills or qualifications to pursue a career in environmental work if I do not complete an accredited degree program. 

Why did you choose to take online classes? 
I chose to do online classes with eCore because I was not satisfied with the options available at my school, and due to my class schedule, extracurricular activities, and distance from my home institution, an on campus class would have been inconvenient for me

How would you describe the instructors you’ve had in your eCore class?
The online teachers are, in one word, distant; but they are available to help when needed. It is definitely not like the classroom experience where the teacher is always right there instructing you directly. 

What has been the best thing about taking online classes?
The best thing about taking online classes is definitely flexibility. I can choose how to spend my time. If I need to work on one unit more than another, I can take more time on that one. I can also prioritize my time with my schedule, so if I need more time for other classes, I can take that time as well. 

When you’re not working on your eCore class, what else are you doing?
I still have other classes at my high school, so when I'm not working on my online course work, I am either at school, doing extracurriculars such as marching band or musical, working on homework for my high school classes, and the rest is free time spent with friends and family. 

How and when do you make time to focus on your eCore class?
I took two out of eight class periods out of my school schedule to work on my online courses. Therefore, I wake up in the morning and work on my eCore coursework, then go into school at 10. 

What would you say to someone who is considering taking their first online class through eCore or eMajor?

If you procrastinate, don't do it. If you have poor planning skills, don't do it. If you are awfully forgetful, don't do it. In these classes, no one is there to push you or give you a warning. You are completely on your own when it comes to getting things done, and that means you have to be responsible for yourself. The teachers and tutors are there to help you when needed, but they aren't supposed to be baby sitters. You have to have maturity and discipline in order to be successful in these classes. To those who have their heart set on taking eCore classes, to you I say good luck and remember to take your own notes. It really helps. 

There are many misconceptions out there about online learning. One of the biggest is that students in online classes are on their own to learn the material - with little to no support or assistance when they need it. In a quality distance learning program, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Students in eCore and eMajor courses have access to several academic support services and resources. If you haven’t utilized any of the resources listed below, check them out. They may just be able to give you that extra boost you need to ace the class! 
  1. Embedded Tutors (STEM Courses) Embedded Tutors are subject matter experts and are, as the name says, embedded inside all Science and Math eCore courses. These tutors are enrolled in the course just like students, so they are familiar with the course materials and assignments. Embedded tutors can help with content questions, clarification of assignments, or can even help you work out sample math problems or labs. 

    To communicate with the embedded tutor, look for the “Tutor Talk” topic on the discussion board inside your course in GoVIEW.

  2. Embedded Librarians
    Not in a STEM class? No problem! eCore has librarians embedded in all non-STEM and non-SPAN classes. These are actual librarians that are enrolled in the course and there to assist students with research and any library-related questions. They are a great resource if you are having trouble using GALILEO. The embedded librarians can be contacted via email, or through the discussion board.

    Librarians will also be embedded into all ORGL and CJ eMajor courses starting Short Session II of Fall 2016.

  3. Smarthinking
    All eCore and eMajor students have free, unlimited access to Smarthinking, an online tutoring service. Look for the Smarthinking logo in the top navigation bar inside your course in GoVIEW to access this service. With Smarthinking, you can interact with a live tutor, submit writing assignments for feedback, or submit a question to be answered by a tutor within 24 hours. There are also online Study Aids and ESL services offered under the Spanish Language Center, which allows students to receive feedback in English or Spanish.

    Smarthinking has several instructional videos on their YouTube channel to show you how to utilize these services.

    How to Use Drop In Tutoring
    How to Schedule a Tutoring Session
    How to Submit an Essay
    How to Use Writing Feedback

  4. Campus Tutoring Centers
    eCore and eMajor students are all enrolled through a home academic institution and have access to their college or university’s tutoring center. Services will vary by institution, but it is a good idea to check out what resources are available at your institution so that you already have the information when you need it. Links to campus tutoring centers are included on each institution’s directory page on the eCore and eMajor websites below.

    eCore Institution Directory
    eMajor Institution Directory

  5. Your Instructor
    Last, but most definitely not least, is your instructor. Students are sometimes too nervous to reach out to their instructor if they are struggling with an assignment or concept, especially in an online class. However, maintaining communication with your online instructor is one of the most crucial aspects of successful course completion. In eCore and eMajor courses specifically, instructors understand that online students are not your typical full-time, on-campus college student. Our students have jobs, families, and are often returning to college after being out of school for an extended amount of time. If at any point in an eCore or eMajor course you feel like you are falling behind or need a little extra clarification, reaching out to your instructor is always a smart move. Your instructor’s contact information is listed at the top of your syllabus, and you can also send them a message within the GoVIEW system. 
When evaluating online programs, take the time to investigate the student support resources available. In addition to other factors such as reputation of the institution and tuition rate, availability of and access to student support and resources should be another main component to consider when deciding which program is right for you. 
Nicolle Coleman, 45
Dalton State College
Expected Graduation: Spring 2018

Anyone who has been involved in the registration process (be it student, faculty, or staff) for an eCore or eMajor class has more than likely come into contact with Nicolle. She's the motor that keeps things going at eCampus during registration season, and she has a unique understanding of the needs of our adult learners because she is one herself. After leaving college 24 years ago to work in the corporate world and then to raise a family, she made the decision to return and finish her degree. She's been back in school for 2 semesters now, and has pulled off all A's! Let's learn a little about Nicolle and how she fits college into her busy schedule.

Where do you work?
USG eCampus, student services.

What is your major?
Organizational Leadership. 

Why is completing your degree important to you?
Lots of reasons, setting an example for my children is a big one.  No one on my side of the family has a 4 year degree. Also, for career advancement.

Why did you choose to take online classes through eCore/eMajor?
Since I have worked with eCore for 4+ years, it was a natural transition.  I love the convenience. 

How would you describe the instructors you've had in your eCore classes?
So far my instructors have been very good, very knowledgeable. 

What has been the best thing about taking online classes?
Again, convenience.  I am a busy mom of 2 active teens.  Being able to do my work any time in the day or night has been essential for me.  If I had to go to a physical class I would never be able to go back.

When you're not doing school work, what are you doing?
 work full time, have a part time cake business and run around crazy bringing kids everywhere. I sing at church and am active in my local community theater.

How and when do you make time to focus on your school work?
I review my class schedule and add the tasks to my schedule as a line item like every other task in my busy schedule.

What would you say to someone who is considering taking their first online class through eCore or eMajor? 
If you can manage your time well, this is a great opportunity.  I kept saying, "Maybe I will someday."  This allowed me to it do now since going to classes was not an option.

Corrine Sweet is an Associate Professor of Business at Darton State College and an online instructor in the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership degree through eMajor. 

Where did you complete your degree(s)?
Ed.S. in Instructional Technology from Valdosta State,
MBA in Information Technology from University of Central Missouri

What is your field of expertise and what drew you to it? Business and technology.  I was first introduced to technology in elementary school when my class would get to go to the computer lab and use the Apple II’s and it has fascinated me ever since.

How long have you taught online classes?
About 10 years

Why did you choose to become a college instructor? I wanted to teach others about technology and prefer working with adults.

What do you like most about teaching online? The variety of people I get to interact with.

What was your most challenging subject in school, and how did you get through it?I’m currently taking a class in quantitative statistics toward my Doctorate, and it is definitely giving me a challenge!  My best advice is to make sure you take enough time for studying and doing the assignments and don’t be afraid to search out additional resources to help you learn.

What do you like to do in your free time?My favorite hobby is traveling, and I try to get “out of town” and wander during any free time between semesters. When I only have a little free time I enjoy reading and watching TV, particularly anything involving comic book superheroes!  I also enjoy being crafty when I have some extra time, including papercrafts, sewing, and crochet.

What’s your favorite movie of all time? I would love to pick something intellectual, but I have to go with Guardians of the Galaxy!  I love the jokes, the action, and mostly Groot.

If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be? I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it!

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings? Buy a brownstone in Brooklyn and sell handcrafted items at a farmer’s market.

What is something interesting about you that your students would be surprised to know? I’ve been to 48 states. I was legally blind until I turned 18 and had corrective surgery.

What advice do you have for students taking online classes for the first time? Do not be afraid to ask for help!  The professor is there to help, but in an online class the professor can’t see if the students looked confused, so we need you let us know when you need extra guidance.

You teach in the BS in Organizational Leadership program. Why do you think this program is a smart choice for students? This program and the various concentrations do an excellent job of preparing students for so many careers and other opportunities. Students learn about so many different aspects of working in a variety of organizations, including healthcare and in a variety of offices, and develop skills that will help them lead in any situation.

Sheryl Lance, 54 
University of North Georgia

During a presentation at this year's annual eCore Faculty meeting, I asked the audience to send me examples of students in their courses who were excelling in class. Before the presentation ended, I had an email from Dr. Nihal Gunay saying she had a non-traditional student that was taking her first online class, and "she has been awesome!" Let's meet Sheryl, our brand new and "awesome" online student.

What is your home institution? University of North Ga.  Gainesville Campus

What is your age? 54

Are you currently employed? If so, where and what do you do? Yes. Mulberry Farms, Inc. Office Manager/Accounting

Why is completing your degree important to you? It is something I never had the opportunity to do when I was younger, but have always wanted to do.

Why did you choose to take online classes through eCore/eMajor? I was feeling a bit overextended with working 50+ hours a week and taking classes in the evenings. I thought an online class would provide a change.

How would you describe the instructors you've had in your eCore classes? Excellent!

What has been the best thing about taking online classes? Much more flexibility.

When you're not doing school work, what are you doing? I live alone so work very long hours in order to meet my financial obligations. I also have 2 adult children and two grandchildren I love to spend time with. In addition to that I volunteer with an organization that advocates for abused and neglected children (CASA). When time allows I love to run. It provides great stress relief! 

How and when do you make time to focus on your school work? In the evenings and on weekends. I must be honest, it takes a great amount of self discipline.

What would you say to someone who is considering taking their first online class? I would highly encourage it!
I am a working mother of two beautiful and energetic young children, a 5-year-old and an 8-month-old. I work at least 40 hours a week, so to survive the summer while the oldest is out of school, I have to have a plan. And I did. Luckily, my husband is a teacher and also has summers off, so he is able to stay home with the kids while I go to work. That is until yesterday, when he dislocated his shoulder and now has to wear a sling for up to four weeks. There goes my summer plan - out the window. 

What does this have to do with adult learners? No, I am not one myself, but I do have similar responsibilities. Adult students have lives outside of college. They do not have a dorm room that they can hole themselves up in to cram for an upcoming exam. They can’t retreat to the library for an all nighter where they cannot be bothered. They have jobs, families, doctor’s appointments, birthday parties. To fit college into an already busy schedule, adult students have to have a plan. They have to schedule study times after the kids have gone to bed or on their lunch breaks. They have to line up babysitters for proctored exam appointments. But most importantly, they have to adapt when those plans get tossed out the window. 

Being a grown up means things happen that are out of your control and sometimes throw your plans out of whack. The key to surviving is being able to change gears and not give up when that happens. You may have a big assignment due the next morning, but it doesn’t matter when your child is sick and you have to be up all night with him/her. In times like that, it may be easy to throw in the towel and think it can’t be done. But it can be done. Change your plan, and communicate with your instructor. They know life happens, and they are often willing to work with you on deadlines and extensions to help you succeed in the class.

As I’m typing this from home while I bounce a baby on my lap - the moral of this story is to not give up when life throws you a curveball. Throw your plan out the window, make a new one, and you can still get the job done. 

Dr. Elizabeth Gassel Perkins joined Darton State College in 2006 and is now the Dean of Humanities. She is also an online instructor in the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership degree through eMajor. Let's get to know Dr. Perkins!

Where did you complete your degree(s)?
Valdosta State University, Ed.D. in Leadership;
University of Montevallo, BA and MA in English.

What is your field of expertise and what drew you to it?
I teach in three different fields: English (primarily), leadership, and first-year experience. I have wanted to be a writer since the age of about six or seven, and I spent my entire life working toward that goal. Of course, my specific passions have shifted throughout my lifetime, and when I went to college, I fell in love with editing by working in the Harbert Writing Center. I also had some excellent professors and thought I would like to follow in their footsteps and try to be the guide that other students might need. I started teaching FYE because I am passionate about students and like to give them the tools to be successful in their college careers and beyond. Finally, I decided to pursue my doctorate in leadership to develop my abilities as a supervisor and as a member of the community.

How long have you taught online classes?
I have been teaching online for nine years now, though I have always used an online component for all of my classes; I have been teaching for 11 years and I have loved every minute of it.

Why did you choose to become a college instructor?
I really love helping people, but I am not cut out for careers like nursing! I started out with intentions of becoming an attorney when I was an undergraduate, and I even applied to law school and registered for classes. However, right before classes were to begin, I decided to go with my back-up plan and earn my master’s in English instead. I really loved what I was doing in the writing center, and according to my mother, I was always meant to be a teacher. I also loved college so much that I never wanted to leave! So, after I graduated, I applied to be a part-time English professor, and I have been teaching ever since.

What do you like most about teaching online?
As funny as it sounds, I feel like I have even better interaction from my online students! They are constantly logging in, responding to discussion boards, and asking questions. I feel like I know all of them very well, even if we have not talked by phone (though I always encourage and welcome phone calls).

What was your most challenging subject in school, and how did you get through it?
Ugh. Algebra. I cried almost every day after school. I had always loved math and used to ask my teachers for extra problems to do for fun (nerd alert), but when it came to algebra, I just couldn’t get it. I studied for hours and hours on end and stayed after class for help, too. The more practice I did, the easier it became, but I really had to work at it. I still don’t get algebra, but I loved statistics and (kind of) liked calculus.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I work a lot, so I don’t have much free time, but when I do, I like to travel, go on cruises (when I can afford it), and catch up on television. I’m quite the foody, too, so when I get time to try new restaurants or recipes, I certainly take advantage of the opportunity. Finally, I am a big sports fanatic, and my favorite sport to watch is hockey (Go Blues).

What’s your favorite movie of all time?
It’s a movie from the early 80s that not many people have seen, but it’s Arthur, with Dudley Moore and Liza Manelli. It is truly hilarious, and I have seen it over 100 times.

If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be?
I love hair and make-up, too, so I think I would like to be a professional make-up artist. I would love doing make-up for photo shoots, movies, theater, and major events.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?
This question is too hard! I have always wanted to open my own school, like Jo from Little Women did when her old Aunt March died, but I think maybe I would just invest in grants for students to go to college who have big dreams. I would also open a shelter for dogs. But of course, I would travel for at least a year and go all over Europe buying fancy make-up and shoes first!

What is something interesting about you that your students would be surprised to know? Even though I started college at 18 and was a traditional student, I was also very non-traditional in many ways. My parents couldn’t afford my college, though they were very supportive of me going to school. I had to pay my way through college, so I started when I was 14 saving for college and applying for scholarships. I also worked as many as three jobs and as much as 50-60 hours per week while taking courses full-time. What I wouldn’t have given to be able to take online courses! So, I understand how tough it is for some students who are balancing so many things. But, I graduated in four years summa cum laude and ranked first of all students in my major. If I can do it, anyone can!

What advice do you have for students taking online classes for the first time?
You can never underestimate the importance of logging in consistently! Make a calendar for yourself and don’t ever wait until the last minute to turn something in. Technology issues always happen right before you are about to submit something! Finally, make contact with your instructors. Reach out to them for help before you have a problem and not after. I love when my students call me so we can talk about their work and their progress!

You teach in the BS in Organizational Leadership program. Why do you think this program is a smart choice for students?
My studies in leadership changed the way that I see the world, and they inspired me to want to make a difference for all those with whom I interact. I also learned how to create strategic plans, balance the needs of company versus employee, and be a better communicator, thinker, and researcher. I highly recommend this field to everyone and anyone because what I learned is applicable to all jobs!

George Rhaney, 49
Fort Valley State University
Major: Organizational Leadership
Expected Graduation - May 2016

How many eMajor courses have you taken (or are you taking currently)?  I'm smiling as I have lost count!  I've been taking eMajor classes for a year and a half now.

Why is completing your degree important to you?  My story may differ from the average eMajor student in regard to my primary reason for completing this degree.  As a full-time operations manager with over 21 years of experience and as a husband with three beautiful children, my primary reason for returning to earn my degree lies within the existence of my children.   My wife and I take our children's education seriously.  At 6, 8 and 15, each understands our expectation for higher education.  Though they have examples within our family of doctors, surgeons, and educators, I was a little embarrassed my name wasn't among them.  While those professions are not my goal, I wanted to be an example to never give up! 

What are your career goals?  I am seriously considering the pursuit of a Master's Degree.  Since sharing my upcoming graduation with my current employer, I've been given a raise to take effect graduation week!  My immediate career goals are focused on eventually joining the ranks of senior management within my organization where I will be able to use the skill set learned within eMajor!  

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  As most boys my age, I wanted to be a professional football player, CEO of a business, a motivational speaker, and a preacher!   I'm laughing at that combination.

Why did you choose to take online classes through eMajor?  After researching the available options, eMajor proved to be the most reliable, accredited and financially astute choice for me. 

What eMajor class has been your favorite?  Honestly, I can't pinpoint one particular favorite as I've learned something from each class, even at this stage in life where I thought I knew a lot!

How would you describe the instructors you’ve had in your eMajor classes?  Because of my age, I've been able to connect rather well with my instructors as I have had a lot in common with most of them.  They have proven to be fair, willing to go above and beyond in assisting their students, yet to offer constructive criticism when necessary.  If I had to sum up my overall experience with my instructors in two words, it would simply be this..."They Care."

Besides being a college student, what do you spend your time doing? Honestly, my hobbies have been put on hold during this season of my life for obvious reasons.  When not in school, I enjoy photography and operating one of several TV production cameras at church. 

How and when do you make time for your schoolwork?  The great thing about eMajor is that I can do homework at odd times such as early in the morning before preparing for work or late during the evening on the weekends after spending time with the family.  During crunch time, I can always take as much time as necessary on the weekends as well.

Who inspires you and why?  My children inspire me because I must BE what I expect from them.  With that mindset, they keep me on my toes!

What would you say to someone who is considering an online degree through eMajor?  After returning to the classroom 25 years later, if "I" can succeed as a full-time manager, husband, and father of three, YOU can succeed too!  It's just a matter of time management and support from those within your closest circle.

Healthcare: the recession-proof industry. Whether the economy is booming or not, people are still going to get sick and there will always be a need for healthcare workers. If job security is something you are looking for, a career in healthcare makes perfect sense. However, if blood and needles aren't your thing, you may want to skip nursing or med school and consider the field of Healthcare Administration. 

Healthcare administration is the business behind the care. Health administrators are the ones who keep facilities up and running behind the scenes so that you can get the care you need. Healthcare administrators work anywhere you would find healthcare providers, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, medical practices, and outpatient centers. But employment possibilities don't stop at medical facilities. Healthcare administrators are also needed in places that don't actually provide health care, such as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies and departments. Administrators handle everything from marketing and financial operations to preparing facilities for quality and accreditation visits. 

Just as the demand for healthcare providers is on the rise, so is the demand for healthcare administrators. One of the main drivers of this increase in demand is the aging baby boomer generation. Roughly 75 million Americans are currently considered baby boomers--those born between 1946 and 1964. It is estimated that about 3 million baby boomers will retire each year for the next 20 years. As this generation continues to age, they are flooding the healthcare market. At the same time, medical professionals who are baby boomers are retiring in large numbers, leaving vacancies in the field. This scenario places increased pressure on an already stressed industry. In today’s political climate, the business and policies in healthcare are ever-changing. This, combined with the looming influx of the baby boomers means the need for educated healthcare administrators is higher than ever. As an administrator, it is important to keep up with the politics and changes in the industry to ensure that your facility is in adherence. 

Job satisfaction for healthcare administrators is typically high, and retention rates are good. Those in the field feel that they have a purpose and are able to give back to the community indirectly through the medical field. The average salary for health administrators in the US is $66,935, but of course, can vary by the size of the facility. Nevertheless, if you have a desire to help others but are not keen on working directly in the medical field, a career in healthcare administration may be the field for you. 

A degree focusing on healthcare administration is a great place to start if you are interested in entering this field. In the webinar 
below, Lisa Ann Hunt, a professor at Dalton State College and online eMajor instructor, talks more about the growing field of healthcare administration and the corresponding concentration within the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Administration degree. More information on this program is available at https://emajor.usg.edu/degrees/organizational-leadership/healthcare-administration.php

Dr. Sarah Kuck is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Darton State College, and was just recognized as the 2016 Regents Online Teacher of the Year. She has taught online courses for 10 years, and has has been an instructor with eMajor since Darton joined the collaborative program. This semester, she joins eMajor as the Academic Chair/Program Lead for the BS in Organizational Leadership and BS in Criminal Justice degrees. Take a minute to get to know a little more about our newest addition, Dr. Kuck.

Where did you complete your degree(s)? Georgia State University, Troy State University, and Valdosta State University

What is your field of expertise and what drew you to it?Public Administration - I like political science and public administration is the most pragmatic in the field of study.

Why did you choose to become a college instructor? I love students.

What do you like most about teaching online? Online education allows students that normally would not have access to college a chance to complete their education.

What was your most challenging subject in school, and how did you get through it? College Algebra - I utilized a class tutor and worked closely with my instructor

What do you like to do in your free time? Spend time with my family. I absolutely love to go deep sea fishing and I can bait my own hook.

What’s your favorite movie of all time? Dumb and Dumber

If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be? A flight attendant

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings? Throw a surprise party and hand my family and friends big checks. I would pay off their homes and any debt. We would have an annual vacation that my entire family and friends would attend. 

What is something interesting about you that your students would be surprised to know? I love to bake, but I don't enjoy eating sweets.
What advice do you have for students taking online classes for the first time? Stay organized and fill out your calendar with due dates!
JaShondra Kenney, 30
Fort Valley State University

Major: Organizational Leadership
Expected Graduation: May 2016

Why is completing your degree important to you?
It is important to me because it was always one of my biggest dreams to get my Bachelor's degree. Not from just any institution but from Fort Valley State University. My dream was put on hold after I had my son in 2008 and was no longer able to physically attend classes on the FVSU campus. This degree is important for my growth as well as the growth of my children. I want them to understand that even when life throws you curve balls, you can still dodge them and win the game.

What are your career goals?
I plan to start Grad school in about 6 months and get my Master's in Human Resources. From there, I plan to move up with the company I currently work for.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
Growing up, I wanted to be a psychologist because I loved helping people with their problems.

Why did you choose to take online classes through eMajor? 
Because it was the perfect opportunity for me to finally realize my dream.

What eMajor class has been your favorite? 
My favorite eMajor class was Desktop Publishing

How would you describe the instructors you've had in your eMajor classes? 
Most of them were easy to talk to and communicate with, but some were hard and made my life a little stressful.

Besides being a college student, what do you spend your time doing?
I work full-time as an Office Coordinator, and part-time from home as a Data Entry Clerk. In my free time I'm spending as much time as I can with my kids, doing hair (when my schedule permits), and just overall trying to enjoy life.

How and when do you make time for your schoolwork?
I do my homework on my lunch break, some weeknights, and on the weekends.

Who inspires you and why?
My mother inspires me because she's strong, hard-working, and a go-getter. As a single mother, my mother worked multiple jobs to make sure her children had and that she had. She was hard on us, but her being hard made us all push harder to be great. She retired, went back to school and got her Bachelor's in Business Administration then turned right back around and got her MBA - all while she was coming out of retirement and returning to work. Her strength inspires me every single day.

What would you say to someone who is considering an online degree through eMajor? 
I would tell them to go for it. It's convenient and it's a great way to get that education that you've always wanted.

As those in the south can tell from the layer of yellow dust coating every outside surface, spring is in the air. And that means summer is just around the corner. For traditional college students summer means a break from late-night studying, a time to travel or maybe make some extra money at a part-time (or even full-time) job. However, there are many benefits for those who choose to continue taking classes during the summer; and with online classes you may even be able to have a little fun while you’re at it!

Here are just a few reasons you should consider taking an online class this summer.

  1. You can shorten your time to graduation.
    Why restrict yourself to taking the traditional 10 classes per year (5 in the Fall and 5 in the Spring)? Taking 1-2 extra classes each summer, along with a regular full load in the Fall and Spring semesters, means you can meet your graduation requirements sooner - sometimes by a full semester.
  2. You can take fewer classes in Fall and Spring semesters, and still graduate on time.
    If a full 15-hour course load is a lot for you to juggle, then stretching those 10 classes per year across three semesters instead of two may help. When I was in college, I always took 4 classes in the Fall and Spring semesters, and then two in the summer. I didn’t fall behind in my degree program, but I did lessen my load so I could devote more time to each individual course (and be far less stressed than some of my classmates).
  3. You can bring up your GPA.
    I don’t know the statistics on this, but I know for me, having less classes to focus on usually meant I could get a better grade in the class. If you need to bring your GPA up, consider taking just one class this summer. You’ll be able to spend all of your study time on that one subject and hopefully pull off the “A” that you need to give you a little boost before classes start back in the Fall.
  4. Keep your mind in “school-mode.”
    Anyone who is or ever has been a full-time college student knows that being in school is a state of mind. You get yourself into the mindset of going to class, working on projects, and studying for exams. If you get yourself out of that routine for a long period of time, it can be difficult to readjust. Taking just one class in the summer can help to keep you on top of your academic game year-round.
  5. You can bring it to the beach!
    Trust me - I love the beach just as much as anyone else. You should definitely enjoy the summer and treat yourself to some time by the ocean or the neighborhood pool. The great thing about online classes is that YOU CAN STILL DO THAT! All you need is a laptop and a wi-fi connection, and you can stay caught up in your summer class wherever you are.

So there you have it; with online classes you can get ahead in school, stay on track to graduate, increase your GPA, or simply keep your mental momentum going without sacrificing your summer. So why not give it a try? The eCore summer schedule is now available on our website. Students at University System of Georgia eCore institutions can register for these courses right in their campus registration system - no transient process required.

It’s a simple concept - students who are more “involved” in a class are more likely to successfully complete the course. In a traditional face-to-face classroom, opportunities for engagement are obvious - ask and answer questions in class, participate in group discussions, or it may be as simple as consistently showing up to class. In an online class, however, students sometimes find it difficult to feel like an active participant in the course. At eCore, we have worked tirelessly to figure out how we can help students become engaged in their online courses across both distance (online learning) and across time (asynchronous online learning). We are continually working to strengthen and connect the eCore student services across student engagement.

As a student, you may wonder what you can do to stay engaged as an online learner and increase the likelihood of passing the course with the grade you want. Here are some tips that will help you not only in eCore and eMajor online courses, but in online courses in general.

1. Login to class!
This may sound like a no-brainer but when you don’t have to actually “go” to class at a specific time, it’s easy to put it off. You should log into class on DAY ONE and make a commitment to login and work every day or almost every day. Think about logging in as “showing up” for your online class. To stay engaged, you need to “show up” to class fairly often.
2. Familiarize yourself with the course
Log in to the course on DAY ONE and take a tour to familiarize yourself with the layout and structure. There are a few things you may even be able to review before the first day of class. You should look for:
    • Syllabus & Instructor’s Contact Info: Be sure to review the course syllabus; it is your contract with the professor. Here, you will find your grade point accumulation table, your instructor’s name, and external contact information. For eCore and eMajor classes, you will find it in the top left of the course syllabus.
    • Course Calendar: Important dates and deadlines critically influence your performance in college. Review the course calendar and make note of important due dates. Also note important dates like the drop/add window, texting windows, and midpoint withdrawal deadlines. Most institutions provide an academic calendar to help you keep all those vital dates and deadlines straight. eCore and eMajor follow the common statewide Calendar, which can be found here.
    • Textbook Requirements: If a textbook is required, you should plan to obtain the book prior to the first day of class. Having the book ahead of time means you will have more time to review the material and therefore participate in discussions. Some online courses may not have a textbook requirement. eCore, for example, offers free open educational resources in over half of their courses. In this case, the materials are linked inside the course and are often available for review prior to the first day of class inside the eConnection tutorial course. For eCore courses that do require a textbook purchase, some are available in eBook formats. Purchasing an eBook will allow you to receive the materials quicker. However, if a student does need to purchase a physical textbook, one can be purchased in any manner - new, used, electronic, or even rental.
    • Testing Requirements: Most online classes have some sort of testing requirement. It is important to determine the requirements at the beginning of the course so you can be adequately prepared. In eCore courses, at least one proctored exam is required (but not more than two) in each course. Typically, the midterm and/or final exam for the course are proctored. Proctored exams are taken in the presence of an approved test proctor and are usually held at a testing center. Visit the eCore website for more information about proctored exam requirements.
3. Manage your time wisely
The number one reason students withdraw from an eCore class is time management. Before you enroll in an online course, it is important to consider if you have enough time to devote to your studies for the duration of the class. Be sure to estimate correctly for accelerated terms like eCore’s 8-week sessions. In accelerated sessions, the same amount of material is covered in half the time, so it requires double the amount of study effort.

The first few days of a course are typically designated as a drop window. For eCore, this is a five day period where you can drop the course without receiving a “W”. You can save yourself a lot of worry by thoroughly exploring the class during that five day period and determining whether or not  you can keep up with the course assignments. If the time commitment is too challenging for you, consider dropping the class before the drop window closes.
4. Communicate
Once you determine you have the time to commit to the class, you have the book, and you have your syllabus - it’s time to participate! Closely monitor all forms of communication in the class - calendar, news items, discussion posts from the professor, and your email inside the Learning Management System. For eCore/eMajor courses, this is your GoVIEW email.

    • Discussion Board: The discussion board is the conversation flow of the class. Read and respond consistently and on time. You can use this forum to make a connection with your professor and your classmates. Try to be the first or second poster in your class on a topic!
    • Email: Check both your campus email and your GoVIEW email (for eCore/eMajor students) daily. eCore can only officially notify students at campus email addresses. Be sure to watch for eCore announcements throughout the semester. eCore emails are sent weekly to remind you of important deadlines, provide student success tips, and keep you informed of general information.
    • Diversity of Online Learning: Embrace the diversity of your class. In eCore classes, you will have students from up to 25 different USG institutions; your professor is also from an institution within the University System of Georgia but not necessarily from your institution. Students of all ages are in eCore classes. There is a lot to be learned from communicating with your fellow classmates!
5. Take advantage of your resources
If you fall behind on your discussion postings or your assignments - it’s easy to feel like you are all on your own in an online class. But remember, YOU ARE NOT! You have plenty of resources available to help you be successful in the course, you just have to take advantage of them. Explore what types of tutoring and library services are available to you BEFORE you need them. Then, if you get in a bind and need some help, you will know where to go. In eCore classes, you have access to your home institution’s resources in addition to eCore specific resources such as:

    • A student success team member who is assigned to your class. They’re there to help you locate the resources that are available to you, and to offer encouragement along the way.
    • Embedded librarians in all eCore classes except Spanish, Math, and Science classes. (What does an embedded librarian do, you ask? Meet one of them here!)
    • Embedded tutors in all eCore math and science classes.
    • Access to Smarthinking Online Tutoring and online writing labs in all classes.
    • GALILEO Library Services, which provides access to multiple information resources including secured access to licensed products, is available i all classes.
Engagement is a big part of online learning, and it directly impacts the student. When we do it right (faculty, student and staff), the student has increased opportunities for a great learning experience and a successful outcome. We want our students to succeed. At eCore, we are continuously improving our efforts to engage students in the class early on, but there is still more to be done. That’s why we want to hear from our students! Be sure to complete the course evaluation that is sent at the end of your class. It’s how we make changes to improve the success of students in our classes. Tell us - what would make you feel more engaged in your online class?

Julili Fowler, eCampus Associate Director of Student Engagement and Analytics
Katie Shoemake: eCampus Educational Program Specialist
Nikki Henderson: eCampus Educational Program Specialist