What inspired you to pursue an online degree?

David Hankins: When I chose to start a family, I was faced with needing to work to have an income at the same time. Texas Tech University's online graduate program provided the flexibility I needed to get my school work done while serving in the United States Air Force.

Heidi Scott: Online education allows you to build your degree around your needs. With so many options now available, you can find what best suits your growth and development goals, both personally and for your career. Attending school online allows the freedom and flexibility needed in today's changing world.

Michael Antoine: An online degree offered me the flexibility of maintaining full time career while obtaining my education. My program promised opportunities for career advancement and job security. I needed a change of direction in my career and an opportunity to tie my education to the world around me.

What do you feel is a common misconception surrounding Online Education?

DH: Many people believe the quality of an online degree is different than a traditional one. However, I found the classes to be just as rigorous and the professors just as tough. Once I was done, the degree was identical to one I would have received attending face-to-face courses.

HS: Distance learning implies separation and detachment; yet technology and engagement provide an interconnected and productive learning experience. Adult Organizational Learning and Leadership (AOLL) leverages technology tools and methods, enabling learning, feedback and community.

MA: There is a misconception that employers value traditional programs over online, and online programs take up too much personal time. In fact, online programs offer many of the same opportunities as traditional, yet with a more comfortable learning environment, along with the convenience and flexibility to maintain a full time career and personal life.

Tell us a little bit about how your program has prepared you to succeed in your future career.

DH: My current role is senior director of marketing for e-learning and academic partnerships at Texas Tech University. As senior director, it is crucial that I be a strategic communicator in today's global and digital environment.

HS: AOLL teaches organizational development, strategic thinking, leadership capacity and scholarly research to increase practical understanding for future career pathways. AOLL promotes learning and opens doors.

MA: This program is credited in multiple areas and prepared me for success in my career, highlighting the following:

• Core fundamentals of homeland security and emergency management

• Leadership and teamwork

• Public speaking

• Enhancing my writing skills

• Time management and organization

• Research/ skills

• Work ethic

What would you like people to know about pursuing an online degree?

DH: Online education allows you to build your degree around your needs. With so many options now available, you can find what best suits your growth and development goals, both personally and for your career. Attending online allows the freedom and flexibility needed in today's changing world.

HS: Be active, engaged and invested. Support tools and methods, optimize partnerships and be accountable for your own work. Seek faculty guidance, ask questions and participate in online forums. Find balance and be humble. Embrace thought diversity and perspectives. Most of all, enjoy learning.

MA: Speaking from experience, I can say it will definitely change your life for the better. It can open up a new world of opportunities for advancement and give you a competitive edge that amongst your peers. Most of all, it will give you a sense of confidence and accomplishment.