Born to teach - Bronwyn fulfils her wishes
BRONWYN Chamberlain always wanted to teach.
“I’d always wanted to do teaching, but when I finished university 20 years ago I just wanted to get out and work,” she said.
“And when I moved here to Mansfield there was no employment in my industry.”
In her twenties, Bronwyn completed a degree in arts and a post-graduate degree in publishing and editing, but she never became a teacher.
But now, in her graduate year after completing her diploma of education online, she is a teacher at Mansfield Primary School.
Thanks to online learning, she was empowered to retake control of her own destiny – but it wasn’t easy.
“It was a lot harder this time,” said Bronwyn.
“Studying with kids it was a lot more difficult... you have to be very disciplined with your time.
“You are on your own and you have to decide what you are going to get out of it.
“For mature aged students it is self-driven - you can do it at midnight if that’s what works for you.”
By studying online, Bronwyn was offered the flexibility to reach her career goals without putting her life on hold.
And she is just one of literally millions of similar stories.
Online learning has given people who wouldn’t normally be able to attend university - like stay-at-home mums or those already in the workforce - easier access to higher education.
Now, any stigma that has lingered over online degrees has ebbed away.
Some USA studies show that employers are beginning to view online degrees as being on par with degrees completed from bricks and mortar universities.
A survey undertaken by Excelsior College and Zogby International found that 83 per cent of CEOs and business owners believed an online degree was just as credible as a degree obtained on campus – and this was four years ago.
And there is one big reason these online degrees have improved at such a rate and become normalised: technology.
I n yesteryear, a st udent following a distance learning course would have received course materials in the post and communicated with tutors via mail.
The methods for collaboration between tutors and students - from online forums and communities, instant messaging and webinars – have made distance education even more practical than face-to-face education.
Bronwyn can also see why it works so well.
“Social networking made it easier... we had closed groups on Facebook, and the technology has opened the door for online study to flourish,” she said.
“It was hard, but I think being a mature age student is helpful because you already know that you have what it takes to do it.”
The biggest upside of online degrees, arguably, is that more mature aged workers will enter and re-enter the workforce and contribute even more to society.
There can be many barriers for mature learners going to university – it can be impractical because of family or work, and people can feel apprehensive about entering a world that is dominated by high school leavers.
Online degrees have firmly kicked over this hurdle.
Now, online learning is serving up countless good news stories, and Bronwyn is just one such example.
“Being a mature age student is a real positive in the education industry, we have the best of both worlds,” she said.
“I’m loving every minute of it.
“The experience of online study is one I would recommend.”
LOVING EVERY MINUTE: Bronwyn Chamberlain is now a teacher at Mansfield Primary School after completing her diploma of education online.