2009 Ecampus Graduates

Holly Smucker - Lifelong learner

Ed.M Online - Online Master's of Education
Junction City, ORĀ  - Living in Taiwan

Holly Smucker

What does completing your degree mean to you? How do you feel it will improve your life and career?
Completing my master's degree has always been part of my life goals, and as a classroom teacher, my degree has given me practical knowledge that improves my teaching and has inspired me to be a better educator. Teaching is a profession where being a lifelong learner is essential, and the knowledge and experiences I gained in my program rejuvenated my passion to learn and become a better teacher for the benefit of my students.

Why did you choose to complete your degree online through OSU Extended Campus? What did you like about this method of education?
Oregon-licensed educators are required to pursue course work in order to renew their teaching licenses, so completing my master's degree is an intentional and focused way to not only finish the required number of hours, but to make a lasting impact in education. Additionally, my master's degree allows me to be seen as a more qualified professional in the education field and would be the springboard from which to move if I choose to pursue doctorate course work.

Did you have an instructor or advisor who was influential in helping you succeed as a distance student?

LeoNora Cohen taught my Action Research course and she inspired me to pursue research in the classroom, as well as to try for publication of my research. Her instruction was full of care and quick feedback, which made for a productive and enjoyable course. Rob Siegel taught my course about assessment and he transformed my view of classroom assessment by challenging me to connect with a wide variety of stakeholders in education whom I may not have otherwise contacted. He set the standard high and allowed me to grow rather than just get by with minimal work.

What will your Ecampus degree allow you to do that you were unable to do before?
When my husband and I decided to move to Taiwan, I had already taken four graduate classes in Oregon and planned to finish my degree when we returned to Oregon after what we thought would be two years. Our first six months in Taiwan proved to be an incredible experience and our planned two years was extended into four. At that point, I realized that online course work would likely be my best option in order to complete my degree in a reasonable timeframe. With the kinds of courses required to renew my Oregon teaching license, and my plan to add a reading specialist endorsement to my license, I needed a program that would fit a fairly specific framework of courses. Finding a quality program that could be done entirely online and that fit my course work requirements was difficult to find, until I discovered OSU's Master's in Education program. This program was designed for teachers who were teaching full time and wanted to complete their master's degree. I couldn't have been more thrilled! Because of my Ecampus degree, I could complete my master's degree and renew my teaching license, all while living in Asia.

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