Money & Work

Online Education Works Well for Women

(ARA) - By day, she's a billing analyst for her local electric company. By night, Heather Morel, 29, of Minneapolis, is a wife, mother and student. Not at her local university, but at Capella, an accredited online university.

"I have a full time job and two young children," says Morel. "There's no way I could pursue my MBA - which I need to get ahead in the business I'm in - if I had to go downtown every week and sit through a class. With online learning, I do all my course work at home when the kids are asleep. It's great."

Kimberly Leslie-Patton, 38, of Birmingham, sings praise for online learning too. "There's no way I could have earned my Ph.D. in organization and management, which was critical to the advancement of my career, if I'd been tied down to a classroom," she says.

Leslie-Patton and Morel are among a growing number of women who've discovered that online learning is a great way to earn the credentials they need to reach their career goals.

"People have so much to juggle these days, between their jobs, families and social lives. For many working adults, sitting through a class on campus one or two nights a week is impossible. With online learning, students can log into the course room wherever and whenever it fits into their lives," says Mike Offerman, president of Capella University.

"One of the best things about online learning is it offers you flexibility," says Morel. "You can get your work done any time you have an hour or two to spare."

To log on, all the learner needs is a computer and an Internet connection, and in a wired economy that is getting easier to do. "I did the majority of my coursework online in hotel rooms while traveling the country on business," says Leslie-Patton, who owns and operates a crisis management consulting business.

"Most people tell us the thing they like best about online learning is the flexibility, but that's just one of the many benefits," says Offerman.

On traditional college campuses, services are spread out. Students have to spend a lot of time going from place to place to register, buy their books, visit financial aid, and the library. It all takes time that working adults don't have to spare. At Capella, it's one-stop shopping.

"Through the unique Internet portal that we call iGuide, learners will find the admissions office, financial aid office, writing center, book store, library and more all in one place," says Offerman. "We have spent ten years building and refining our online services to meet the needs of working adults."

"I liked the fact that I could simply pick up the phone or email the librarian at Capella, ask for the materials I needed to complete a paper, then have them mailed to me the same day," says Leslie-Patton. "Everything about the learning experience was very convenient."

Capella offers certificates, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Faculty who teach in Capella's Schools of Business, Education, Human Services, Psychology and Technology are as diverse as the student body. "They live throughout the country, and like our students, come from every conceivable practice area," says Offerman.

Capella's faculty members bring both academic and real-world experience, and specific training to teach online. "Every professor I've worked with has been able to replicate a campus feel online," says Morel. "I may not have been sitting in a classroom, but I definitely developed a sort of camaraderie with my fellow students."

Morel is about half-way through her program now, and is already seeing a payoff. She recently applied for two management positions at her company and says she never would have considered pursuing these types of jobs before. "Thanks to all I've learned about negotiation and people skills, I think I have a good shot at both of them," she says.

"I used to have to look for opportunities, now that I have a Ph.D., they find me," says Leslie-Patton.

For more information about Capella University log on to or call (888) CAPELLA to speak with an admissions counselor.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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