Outstanding Online Graduate Student Award: Janeia Tabor

Janeia Tabor pictureThe Webster University Alumni Association and the Online Learning Center would like to congratulate Janeia Tabor, the winner of the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Online Graduate Student Award. Webster professor Dr. Jeff Haldeman said, “Janeia is a self-confident assertive leader who has participated actively in a number of graduate courses in organizational development….She expresses her point of view clearly and is active in moving others on her team toward particular goals at her workplace and in the classroom. For one so young, she has consistently been an exemplar to her fellows.”

We asked Janeia some questions to reflect on her award and her online experience:

What does the Outstanding Graduate Award mean to you? 

                EVERYTHING!!! This award absolutely means the world to me! It took me a minute to take it all in when I opened the email because it was unexpected. Yes I work VERY hard and I deserve this award, but I’m rarely offered opportunities of this stature and I’m so very humble and grateful that I was chosen! This award means that every late night, every early morning, the lack of sleep and every struggle has been worth it! This award means that my hard work and determination has not gone unnoticed! This award means I’ve overcome every obstacle set before me! This award means that I’ve truly been an exemplar role model for my 6 year old daughter and has shown her when you commit to something, don’t just get it done, but do your very best! This award means that all things are possible for me no matter how many hats I wear while on my journey.

What was your motivation to finish this degree?

                My motivation to finish this degree was to better my career and apply what I’ve learned to my corporate organization. For many years, I’ve witnessed organizations suffer from issues that they could have prevented and/or done something about if only they had the right leadership in place to make a difference. I’m eager to be that change that I want to see with my Organizational Development Degree.

Why did you choose to do your degree online with WebsterU? 

                I am a fulltime employee, mom, and wife. I also have my own business. My job and personal life is demanding and always on the go. Online classes were the better option for me because it gave me the flexibility of completing my assignments when it was convenient for me due to my work/life non-traditional schedules.

What was your most memorable online course and instructor? Can you elaborate why?

                All of my courses are memorable and I learned so much from each instructor. However, if I absolutely had to pick a most memorable online course, it would be ORDV 5950 Organizational Development in a Global Context, with Dr. Irv (Irwin Rubin)! This course differed from the others because I had to think about each concept in a global context. However, what set this class apart from the others was Dr. Irv! Where most instructors just offered feedback, he did the same, but he also made me think outside of the norm. Dr. Irv challenged my thinking on a higher level and I greatly appreciate his teaching methods/strategies. Any student is lucky to have him!

What was the hardest part about doing your coursework remotely? 

                The most difficult part about doing coursework remotely was relying on email communication for answers that I could have gotten right away if I was in a classroom setting. Instructors usually respond within 24-48hrs.

We usually recommend that online students set a time and place to “go to” class. Where Did you do this? Would you give us tips? 

                I have a home office. This is usually where I get most of my work done. My only tip is to make sure you’re comfortable in the space that you choose because you’ll be there awhile. Limit distractions and noisy environments.

How long did it take you to feel comfortable with the fact that you may never see your classmates? Do you feel you got to know some of them better than others throughout the program? 

                This was not an issue for me, as I signed up for courses already knowing the online expectation.  However, I do feel that I got to know some of my classmates better than others throughout the program. I still call and text with a couple of students often and have built a friendship outside of class.

How did you approach your class on a daily basis – did you have a set pattern for accessing certain tools or parts of the course each day?

                My planner was my lifeline. Every Sunday, I would write out all of my assignments, textbook reading materials, and due dates. Then I would plug them into my planner and check them off as I completed them. I usually attempted to get my textbook reading and TEDTalks done at work on my lunch and then I would complete my discussion boards on weekday evenings and my assignments on the weekends.

What advice would you give students who are considering getting their degree online?

                Make sure that the online route is right for you. Some students think it’s less work than the traditional classroom route, but I actually feel that it’s more work. The instructors are available when you need them, but the online route is more independent. You still have to dedicate the same amount of time and effort, if not more, than the classroom route. You have to be committed.

                Make sure you have a dependable laptop/desktop to complete assignments. This is very important because it’s where you’ll spend most of your time.