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Zap! Pow! Bam! Students Tout Why They Love Concordia Portland's Online Program

By Sarah Su July 30, 2014

When Clark Kent takes off his glasses, a sudden wave of energy rushes through him that prepares and enables him to conquer anything that lies ahead — much like what Concordia University-Portland aims for its students. His abrupt superpowers shocked and even surprised him at first. With devotion and persistence, he realized the potential of his individual spirit, his ability to connect and cater to larger and diverse communities, his drive to easily accelerate through to reach his final destination — while opening the door for new opportunities. And because of the positivity and support from his fellow peers and biggest fans, he knew he was capable of achieving it all.

Concordia Portland students’ trajectory is similar to the evolution of a great superhero, and we are always thrilled to witness their progression over time and to showcase and admire their good deeds and accomplishments. In a recent contest conducted on our Facebook page, we asked, “What pleasantly surprised you about our online degree program?” We were overwhelmed and touched by the 110 students who participated!

What pleasantly surprised you about our online degree program?

Here is the winning entry, selected at random:

Shawana Rhaney: “The staff and how accessible they were. Whatever problem occurred, it was handled immediately. My experiences before coming to Concordia were not the case. Also, the quality of work in each course was a huge surprise. It pushed me to be the best student possible. I truly admire this school.” Many other students shared similar insights and experiences.

Here are a few of our favorites.

What surprised ambassadors about Concordia's online degree program?


Whether it’s saving children from the monkey bars or trying to find easier ways to explain long division, our students have to juggle additional responsibilities while completing their online program. Concordia University-Portland gives you the time and allows you to accomplish all your duties at the end of the day — Ka-Pow!

Alison Wagner: “As I sit here and finish up my Capstone Action Research project, I begin reflecting back on this amazing year with Concordia. I was skeptical about going back to school due to my hectic life schedule called ‘motherhood.’ But with this wonderful user-friendly online program I found it to fit into my life just perfectly. The staff, from the advisers to the professors, have been extremely helpful and always available when needed. I can’t say enough about this program and am constantly referring Concordia University to my fellow teachers who are looking into broadening their horizons.”

Maddie Kleinhample: “At first I was concerned about being able to manage this intensive program while teaching full time, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how understanding and supportive my instructors and peers have been, realizing that we are all in a similar situation (schedule-wise)! I chose my major based on where I think I’d like my career to go in the future, but I have been surprised at how relevant my courses are to my current experiences. The content is enriching and directly applicable to my classroom, which makes this program that much more valuable to me!”

Sense of community and connection

Superman doesn’t let his physicality prevent him from reaching out and relating to fellow mentors and peers, much how Concordia Portland’s virtual classrooms aren’t a setback from creating an intimate schooling experience — in fact it seems to enhance it.

Heather Cromer: “I am in the middle of my last week for my first online course and found myself pleasantly pleased. I was extremely hesitant to being in an online program because I learn best in the classroom, but the instructor has done a great job getting the class involved, and I almost feel free to take risks that I may not have been willing to do in front of a classroom of students.”

Mandi Presley: “I thought that getting my degree online would be a very anti-social experience, but it has been just the opposite. I have been pleasantly surprised to get to know those in my cohort very well. Concordia connects people, even through online courses.”

Melody Kramer Geroux: “I truly was surprised by the level of teacher and student interaction in the online environment. My professors were prompt in meeting my needs as an individual learner and very open to new ideas. I felt very comfortable and excited to participate in discussion forums with teachers from all parts of the world. I only wish that I could have had this experience with my professors at the university where I completed my bachelor’s program.”

Collaboration and diversity

Zap! The ability to collaborate with various individuals around the world creates great opportunities for networking and advocating for better learning and job performance outcomes.

Shelley Wilbert: “The superb camaraderie of support uplifting and encouraging one another from around the globe. It is a beautiful village of blessings, new friendships and amazing instructors! Many of us took it to another level through Skyping and telephone conversations that we forget sometimes our classroom is virtual, as we can chit chat for hours on Blackboard. We set appointment times just to check in with one another. An outstanding educational lifeline!!!”

Mixon Jonas: “I have been overwhelmed by how courses were designed and accommodated with significant collaborative learning. Although it has been my first experience with online learning, I have felt so immersed with valuable sharing of information and professional experiences from real professionals who currently are teachers and administrators who hold posts related to the field of education.”

Hannah Duffy Thompson“One of the things that surprised me the most was the variety of classmates that I encountered! I had even worked with the husband of one of my professors! I also was in classes with people from all over the country as well as from other countries. Some worked in cities, some in rural areas, but we all had so much in common when it came to our educational experiences in the classroom. It was a great eye-opening experience for me and reaffirmed my love for the profession. Thanks, Concordia!” 

Enhance classroom and teaching experience

Even the most prominent superheroes like Superman know there’s always room for improvement, and the universe is filled with endless knowledge waiting to be attained. Concordia University-Portland strives to reinforce this mentality by facilitating a positive community and atmosphere that results in creating only the best leaders.

Hannah McFallo: “I have been pleasantly surprised by how easily I have progressed through my coursework simply because I am passionate about learning this new content and how to apply it to my current teaching situations. My beliefs and practices have been challenged and affirmed, and I have become a better teacher because of it. I always thought that working through the courses to get my MEd would be rewarding, but I am pleasantly surprised by how much I have grown.”

Kelly Walz: “Something that pleasantly surprised me about the program is the fact that it is so relevant to my teaching environment. I was afraid that completing online coursework would be impersonal and out of touch with current trends. However, that is not the case. All that I am learning is relevant and applicable, and the instructors are excellent facilitators!”

Laura Fricke: “I have loved all of the new information that I learn every week and the way I am able to implement it. I was at a state meeting yesterday, and the national guest speaker quoted our conversation, which we quoted from our brain research class.”

Roman Michael Armstrong: “For me, the transition from my prior University’s online environment to Concordia was simple and painless. … As a Master’s in Education candidate, the program is giving me life learning tools that I can utilize for my personal development, as well as providing valuable strategies that I can facilitate and mediate with students in the classroom environment.”

Pacing of online program

Faster than a speeding bullet! Our students are amazed by how quickly the program goes by, and before they know it — they have a completed graduate degree!

Bradley Natalie Thomas: “I was ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the simple fact that I could actually accomplish my degree. It was/is doable!

Kristin Yancey-Shuttz: “I cannot get over how fast the program has gone by. If it was not for adding a dual concentration, I would be done in two classes! It is awesome!!!”

Katie Hunt Santarelli: “I was pleasantly surprised how seamlessly the weeks would go by. Everything was so organized and laid out that each week’s assignments were easily followed and not overwhelming. I can honestly say that my program did not feel like it was a year long!”

New opportunities

Watch out world! We love seeing the hard work and efforts put forth by our students be acknowledged and rewarded!

Tara Lynette Chester: “I was surprised at the opportunities the school offered, such as going to Finland & Sweden. Also the nontraditional position of the way educators should teach. Love it!”

Jennifer Robinson Watson: “I was pleasantly surprised that a degree from Concordia has been so well-respected. I just signed my contract for my first elementary school principal job, and I know that I wouldn’t have gotten it without the master’s that I finished last July!” 

World-class staff

Concordia University-Portland only appoints the most qualified individuals to teach and expedite our students. You won’t be encountering any kryptonite or Lex Luthors here!

Jessie Spriggs-Williams: “Concordia University has the best online classes! Why? Because the classes are calm like the sea. The instructors are always there with a lightning strike. The enrollment specialists hear the thundering and quickly come to solve the problem. Concordia University, you’re the BEST!!

Joel Powers: “I was pleasantly surprised at how great and knowledgeable the professors were. I have heard that online courses do not teach students much; however I passed my state test easily and retained quite a bit of the curriculum. It was also great to have time to do the work while teaching, coaching, and still having time for my wife and two young children. It was a worthwhile experience!”

Angela Renee Bates Odom: “I was pleasantly surprised how my instructors turned out to be my biggest cheerleaders!!! When I thought I had to give up, they encouraged me and helped me get to the end of the class. I have a few classes to go, and I owe it all to every instructor I’ve had thus far. They truly understand that I am an ‘Adult Learner,’ and that life happens.”

Yarissa Ramos: “Another aspect that has surpassed my expectations, like many have discussed here, is how quickly student support staff responds to any question or request. I have felt like I am the only student enrolled at Concordia, and you have time only for me! (not that I demand such attention, but that is how you treat all students, from what I gather in this thread). You are all fantastic people, and I am very proud to be a Concordia student.”

Interested in what Concordia Portland can do for you? Request more information using the simple form on this page.

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