Why I Teach

March 23, 2009

Who Are These People?  Who Are These Online Students?

“I am leaving the country today and I will not have access to Internet until Wednesday or Thursday of next week.  If I can I will definitely chime in on discussion threads.”

I had not heard from this student for over ten days.  His work had been excellent; his discussions posted frequently.  Why the sudden silence and then the surprise message?

He was in the process of deployment.  While at a temporary “waiting” base, he did not have internet access.  After ten days of “silence,” he sent a letter of apology with his late Unit 5 project:  “The base computer would not read my jump drive so I had to retype my paper.”  He did, the entire manuscript.

This student completed his courses from Iraq.  No other assignments were turned in late except for a few discussion posts, delayed because of a sandstorm.

What a privilege to teach students, young and old, who are determined, often against all odds, to continue their education and improve the lives of themselves and their children.  One young student, recently released from prison, thanked her classmates for their encouragement as she risked expressing her thoughts on successive posts.  An older student decided not to drop the class after initial self-doubts and frustration with technology.  She was recently widowed, had never used a computer, but was determined to finally complete her AA degree after many years of being wife and mom.  Another student completed the course from her hospital bed – yet another during chemotherapy, another after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  One who was deaf thanked the class for their congratulations on his thoughtful discussions long before they knew of his communication challenge.

At Kaplan University these are some of our students, people of all ages, all stages of life, excited to be learning.  Often scared and unsure at first, they grow with confidence, motivated and encouraged by a supportive community of online learners and instructors.  What a privilege to be part of these lives.

Nancy Bo Flood, Ph.D. Kaplan University Adjunct Instructor

Nancy Bo Flood

As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, I have loved stories. I strongly believe that words – in poetry or prose – help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. I was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota and London University before following my passion – writing for children. Learn more...