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 DMC Ask Me Anything

 

Watch the full AMA session on Adobe Connect

Pre-submitted Attendee Questions

Watch the entire Pre-submitted Questions Portion of Presentation

Question 1: Did you consider the differences between WVU’s DMC and IMC programs? If so, what made you select the DMC program?

Katy Jones, CMO at FoodLogiQ: I was first drawn to the DMC program for certain, but did look at the IMC program. For me personally, I think having had ten plus years of experience in a lot of the core marketing communications skill set I felt like the greatest value for me was going to be out of getting that next level of -- there’s the “how” in Integrated Marketing Communications and I think DMC goes a lot more into the “why” and the drivers behind what’s successful and what’s not. For me, where I’m at in my career, I was drawn to a lot of the courses in IMC and so actually for one of my electives did decide to choose one of the IMC courses as opposed to the DMC courses and focused on the IMC course that’s focused on content marketing. I loved that class a lot because I got to actually leave that course with a very specific content marketing plan for my company FoodLogiQ. I certainly saw value in both but for me, pursuing DMC was just a better fit for where I am in my career right now.

Question 2: What does a typical DMC program assignment look like?

Alex McPherson, Director of Analytics & Insights at FleishmanHillard: It’s absolutely going to vary by class, and this definitely changes as you progress through the entirety of the graduate program. However, a lot of them, especially early on, ended up being written papers on marketing-focused topics, very research heavy. But as you get deeper into the course and really understand the core concepts of data marketing, we end up getting hands on with some basic Excel data, you can create target audience segments, design customer journey maps, and a whole host of other neat projects. By the time you come out of it you have this bulk of work that’s really going to be useful in your professional context as well. To give one example of this, in one of the classes the assignment was doing research on the sentiment analysis, the sentiment engines of a number of different social listening tools. I was actually just last week in a meeting with one of our social listening vendors and just mentioned it off-hand and they actually asked me “Hey could you actually send that to me? I’d love to see your analysis of what other competitors are doing in this sentiment listening space,” so it’s little things like that that really end up becoming very valuable in your professional scope as well as being turned in as assignments for this course.

Question 3: How challenging is balancing the class work with your work/life?

Dan Dipiazzo, VP of Marketing at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA: Well, that’s a great one, and it depends on what day you ask me what answer I’ll give probably. Because I won’t lie, it is challenging, and I think it should be challenging. This is a master’s degree program, it shouldn’t be something you can just phone in. As an example, today I had strategy meetings at work, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in that, I’m doing this, and I’ve got to bust home because today is the last day to turn in our last assignment for this session and I’ve got about four hours to crank that thing out. Not that I’ve waited totally until the last minute, I’ve been working on it, but it’s something you have to juggle, but it’s doable. I think the great thing is that you get the layout of the course at the beginning, you know what the assignments are and when they’re coming, and you can balance that yourself. I think that is a real key. I knew I had three assignments that were due today, I managed to get a couple of them done and turn them in over the weekend because I knew I was going to have some rough days ahead at work, so you have to judge for yourself where you can find those opportunities. It is demanding and it is a stretch, but it is a relatively short period of time and I think it’s worth it so far.

Question 4: If you travel for work, are the professors flexible regarding work schedules?

Katy Jones: Dan, your story kind of made me smile and chuckle, because I’ve had many a Wednesday night where you get home and you’re like “Okay, now I’ve got to get down to business,” but at the same time you can frontload the work if you know you have something where you’re just going to be unavailable and you’re travelling or if you have life. Sundays -- a lot of weekends -- were school days for me to really focus, get heads down, get out of the house, go to the local coffee shop. But when I’m travelling, the discussion boards are obviously accessible twenty four hours a day so you can do them at any time. I’ve definitely seen my classmates post at all times of the evening and early morning. And really the communication a lot of times with the professors specifically is over email, so again because of the remote nature of the coursework, travelling is not an issue. Just having an internet connection is all that is required to get the work done and communicate with your professor. Again, I travel quite a bit and have not had an issue with connectivity.

Question 5: With such a fast-paced program, do you ever feel overwhelmed? If so, does WVU have resources to assist you or do you need to look for outside assistance?

Alex McPherson: Absolutely, I think that we can all attest that there will be times where you feel overwhelmed especially during some of the portions with two courses at the same time. That’s where you have to stay diligent at managing your own schedule as well as creating a personal support system for yourself. Myself personally, I’ve relied a lot on friends, family, and even co-workers here at FleishmanHillard to get me through. Katy, along with the rest of my cohort, we actually started a Facebook message group to support ourselves through the trying times, ask ourselves various questions, vent about our times and support each other through what can be a busy workload. But at the same time if things get really overwhelming, from the university perspective the course professors are always there for you to talk to them available by phone or email, and additionally WVU has counseling and help services through the WVU Carruth Center in case that is an option that is needed as well.

Question 6: What type of position are you looking for after you graduate? What is the salary range you're expecting?

Dan Dipiazzo: I do like this one because my smart answer to that is “I just want to hold onto a position that I have,” would be a key thing. But honestly I do think that as you go up in an organization the demands and the competition are harder. For me, if I want to become the CMO of a company or if I want to move into a larger organization in a more senior role, that’s definitely an option. One of the reasons I focused on the DMC program versus IMC or something more general was because I think this whole data area is going to be so important and it really is a differentiator. It’s not just about having a master’s degree, there are plenty of people out there with masters, MBAs, whatever. But I think there are very few who can say they have a specialty in data marketing and I think that’s going to be a real differentiator for anyone who’s in this program. In terms of salary, I could speak to what I look for when I’m hiring folks here and the kinds of jobs we would be looking at with someone with this kind of background. This will vary across organizations, obviously. To be quite honest, a company like ours isn’t going to be the top payer because we know that we have a fun environment, we work in a theme park and you can get by with that. It’s probably different than an agency or some other organizations. We’re probably looking at managers in the $60,000-$70,000 range who would be able to do data analytics and work with some of our CRM programs at a park level, and it’s probably closer to $70,000-$80,000 in our property support center. And obviously, more senior people at a higher level, at a VP level, would be more than that, but those would be more junior-level folks who would be coming out with this kind of an education.

Question 7: Do you see an uptick in usage of data analytics in one industry over another?

Katy Jones: I think overall, we saw a number of years ago, everything was about big data, big data, big data, and I think lots of industries were gathering all of this information and data, and now we’re in this wave of “What actionable insights can you actually execute on as a result of that data?” I think that’s the wave that we’re seeing and I think that’s why a program like this is so important particularly for the marketing industry. I think we have certainly in marketing seen a significant uptick in data analytics and specific positions around that. Personally, I operate in the food industry and the food space, in particularly in the supply chain, there has been a major boon in that area, but I also think retail has seen a significant boon in terms of not just gathering all this data, but then how do you actually make strategic business-related decisions as a result of analyzing that data. Certainly retail, tech, and the food space for me personally has been historically very archaic, and we’re really at a very exciting time to see a lot of really great advances in data and data analytics in the food space.

Question 8: Do you feel as though all employees of an organization should have a minimum level of awareness for the importance of data analytics?

Dan Dipiazzo: Yeah, absolutely, and if the food industry is archaic, the theme park industry is prehistoric, I guess. As I was thinking about this question, I’m scanning down the hallway here at work thinking about every person, every role, every discipline here. Every one of us is being pressed more and more for analytics to support what we do. Even some of the traditional marketing disciplines that you would think are purely creative – all of our advertising creative, content creation, the websites – everything we do, we’re being analyzed and we’re analyzing ourselves. We’re looking at segmentation, we’re looking at really understanding our audiences and who’s responding, how we target, and we have more and more things to do, and more and more pressure on budget. It really forces everyone to justify what they want to do and how it’s going to pay out, and to be competitive for those dollars. Where we have been successful is where we have been able to do that. My expectation for my organization is that everyone has a good grasp at least of the data that we have and can articulate that, and the people who can and the people who can visualize that well in presentations and speak in those kinds of terms are much more successful. I think it’s just a growing need. At any level at any area of marketing, you’re going to have to show some aptitude in this area or at least some understanding of the tools and what you need to have.

Question 9: What data analytics programs and/or platforms work best for your specific industry? Are any of these 'out of the box' or did your organization have to customize/create them from scratch?

Alex McPherson: This is a really great question. There’s so many, to be completely honest. As I work across a number of different industries, I find each time the answer is different. The answer is “find what is best for your client’s specific use case.” I’ll go over a couple just for reference. Let’s say you’re managing social media accounts. For that phone, social, and channel management perspective, Sprinklr is an example of one that is one of the industry standards for both posting and then being able to analyze your posts, tag them to learn sort of deeper insights as to what specific types of posts perform better than others. Also, there is earned online and social listening. From that aspect, “earned” meaning specifically people talking about your brands, news outlets writing about your brands, etc. Naming a few of these that we use for various clients: Netbase, Zignal, Crimson Hexagon, Brandwatch, and Synthesio. All of these have similar but somewhat different functionalities for monitoring the online conversation, having alert systems that will allow you to know when the conversations online reach a certain volume. It’ll let you know and give you a tip before a crisis situation arises. Tons of different types of things in that nature. Also, we have, especially at FleishmanHillard, we have ended up developing some tools overall to help us internally learn to do different things. We use Google Sheets a lot; in using that we’ve developed some tools that allow us to benchmark a lot of data around client events, product launches, and issues. Overall when there is a crisis situation and the client needs to know immediately “How does this current thing we’re going through compare to something else?” it’s just a really click of a few buttons on that sheet and then we’ve already graphed it out and compared those things. Also, we’ve created something that pulls in Twitter global trends data where essentially it’s pulling in the top 50 trends globally, and then also for individual regions like the U.S., Canada, etc., so we can identify “Is our client, our brands, being mentioned in these top trending items and is that coming up?” so we can watch out and really be aware of if a crisis situation is coming. Or, maybe there’s something really good that’s happening and we want to help support that and maybe get it into the top 10 trending items. The last one I’ll mention, we’ve begun using a tool called Supermetrics, it’s a Google Sheets add-on that I would highly recommend. You can pull that through and it can gather data on followers for various accounts. It can gather the actual posts themselves, the engagements on those posts (the likes, shares, retweets, comments, etc.) and ultimately you can set that to automate and refresh at various intervals. It’s a really great way, again, if your company doesn’t have a lot of money to invest in some of these much more expensive, overarching social listening tools, if you have somebody with a little bit of know-how, you can really start developing some things that do some of these basic analysis processes, looking at both your own personal content and data of competitive peers, on your own. There’s lots of different options out there. Do some google searching because there’s some really neat things with data out there right now that are just really starting to grow.

Question 10: How often do you use Adobe Illustrator?

Alex McPherson: I personally don’t use Adobe Illustrator at all. At an agency, I end up having a creative team who is able to do things like that. I’d say probably my other hosts on this call may have to step into some of these things a little more frequently but specifically as it relates to the DMC program, you’re not really going to learn anything specifically within Adobe Illustrator skills. The courses are about the data themselves, learning about them, and while you do learn some basics of visualization, especially as it pertains to charts in Excel or Google Sheets, you’re not really learning to make data illustrations per se. Now that said, there are a couple of new electives that are starting to come out for the DMC program, one of which is DMC 683 - Data Communication and Visualization for the Client. That one may touch on some Illustrator-adjacent type skill.

Question 11: Do you think it would be a hard transition into this graduate program for someone who has an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Hospitality and Tourism Management?

Katy Jones: I think I referenced earlier, my undergraduate degree was in Journalism and Mass Communication, I think there were elements of that that helped me transition into this graduate program but much of what is very helpful is actually a real world marketing hands-on experience because many of the assignments and a lot of the opportunity that you have is to actually apply your real world learnings to assignments and papers and things like that. I don’t necessarily think that any undergraduate degree would be at a disadvantage. The accounting pieces of that I think would, particularly in the earlier classes, where there is a lot of really big, as Alex referenced, big Excel spreadsheets of data that you need to comb through and if you’re not used to that it can be a bit daunting and it was for me, so having an undergraduate degree in accounting… you know I think Hospitality and Tourism Management, I think there would be some pieces of that where you could take, if you learned some cases studies around marketing and that particular industry, that you could apply to the lessons. But I don’t think it would be a hard transition, I think some application, just really focus and working hard and working towards the degree is the biggest, base piece to it.

Question 12: Please explain the difference between data marketing communications and graphics reporting. Will this master’s program prepare a student for both?

Katy Jones: In my mind, the data marketing communications, the underpinning of the “why” and driving the “are” or “why” of marketing communications, there’s all these difference pieces and parts that are moving around marketing communications, but how you can use the data to drive decisions, that to me is the underpinning of data marketing communications, whether that’s PPC, SEO and all the varied elements of the entire course. The graphics reporting is a subset of that and a very important subset of that and how you’re presenting the data. As Alex referenced there is a data visualization course as a subset of the DMC program and it sounds like some additional electives that will be available which is really exciting, it’s an element of it, I don’t think that overall a lot of graphics across the board, across the program. It’s a subset of it. It was personally one of my favorite classes, the data visualization course was not only about how to present data and present it well, but how not to present it. Which I think is a very critical piece to presenting data marketing communications in an authentic way. We learned a lot about how to not overinflate results, to be honest and authentic in what you’re presenting, which I think again is a very critical piece to it. I think that certainly obviously the master’s program will prepare the student for data marketing communications. I think you will get elements of graphics, particularly if you elect to do those additional pieces, but largely obviously much more focused on DMC than the graphics piece of it.

Question 13: What aspects of the program have you found especially helpful? Not helpful?

Dan Dipiazzo: I’m three classes in now, so with that background, I would say that I found a lot helpful and to be honest, I probably came into it a little smug, kind of thinking “Well, I’ve been working a long time, I’ve been doing this a long time, I should be able just to kind of cruise through this and maybe I’ll learn a couple of things here or there,” and I have to say that I’ve been humbled a little bit at how much more I actually have to learn, which maybe says something about me more than the program. I find that I have taken things that maybe I thought I knew and really seen them in a new light, I’ve been forced to think a little bit more in depth about some areas or to really dig in, dig deeper than some of the surface level knowledge that I had. I’ve found that a lot of the assignments, a lot of the writing assignments that we’ve had have been helpful because it really has forced me to go beyond a surface explanation to putting it into a real case study or real example. I think that that’s been helpful. I’ve learned certainly some things in some of the discussions, and that’s part of the program is the weekly discussion forums, so that’s been helpful too, learning about some of the different industries and backgrounds that my classmates have and some of the things that they can bring into the discussion and hopefully they’ve learned a few things from me too, so I think that’s been really helpful. In terms of things that haven’t been helpful, I can’t say that there’s anything so far that hasn’t been. I think anybody would hit these things, certain topics that maybe you already know it, and so maybe it’s less new information, but I still don’t think there’s anything I would say wasn’t helpful or wasn’t useful or didn’t really connect into something that made a lot of sense and was valuable. I think that it’s all been good at this point and I assume it will stay that way.


Open Q&A

Watch the entire Open Q&A Portion

Question 1: Katy, you mentioned that you're not much of a math person. Were there any courses that were difficult because of this? I'm in the same boat as you.

Katy Jones: I remember it was early on, and it’s been eighteen months so forgive me because it can be a bit of a blur, but I do remember there was this, I want to either say it was a customer lifetime value calculation where you’re looking at a period of time over a very large subset of customers, what their projected lifetime value for the company is. I distinctly remember having this moment at my dining room table, and I’m kind of like, head in my hands, trying to figure this calculation out and you’re building it out in Excel, and my 10 year old is in the other room and he’s like “Mom, you’re going to get it,” and I got it! And it was a very nice element. There were definitely a few courses that you could tell that the professors may have gotten a few questions and in those each of those instances they would pro-actively post something on the discussion board and post some more specific step-by-step so there was always help and there was never anything in the end that I didn’t get to the resolution and get to the answer. And if I didn’t get it 100%, there was always this feedback and the explanation of “here’s how to do it.” I don’t think that it’s anything that can’t be done, but it is going to be a lot of hard work, to Dan’s point, and it should be. For me, it was a push, but I felt really good at the end that I could get to that point, but there was always a resource and always help if you got stuck.

Dan Dipiazzo: I’m not a math person either and probably a lot of us aren’t, but thank God for Excel because that does a lot of stuff for you, and I think so far we’ve been given templates and formats to follow and it’s more about knowing what the inputs are than having to do hardcore mathematics. You certainly have to understand what those components are and why they make sense more so than just the calculation itself.

Alex McPherson: My fun little anecdote is I got a C in two courses in undergrad. The first was Intro to Public Relations and the second one was College Algebra. Especially when it comes to using Excel and things like that, as long as you can get some of those basic concepts, you’ll get there, and the professors will also certainly help you get there as well. You’ll have all the support you need to make sure you get through the math bit.

Question 2: I'm more interested in creating the graphic element of data. Do you think that completing this master's program will put me a step ahead of a research agency's creative team? or does it not really matter?

Dan Dipiazzo: I’ll give you a thought on that because actually, that oddly is a lot of my job, in fact having gone through a big strategy presentation today I would say that 90% of it was really visualizing the data, whatever that is, our attendants, different trends, visitor data and all that. I think that you have to understand what you’re visualizing for it to be affective. If you’re just more interested in the graphic part of it then I don’t know that this is the best program for that. If you really want to understand how the data makes sense and then how you can show it affectively to tell a story then I think this would help you based on what I’ve seen so far. It’s really about what pieces you need to have, what tells the story, what’s extraneous and you can get rid of so you can really zero people in on that, and how you can present that in a compelling way that even if somebody doesn’t dig into all the numbers, they can easily look at a slide or a page and go “oh yeah, I see where the problem is or the opportunity is.” It kind of depends; if you’re purely interested in graphics then maybe not, but if you’re interested in the “why” and the “what” behind the graphics then I think this would be helpful.

Katy Jones: I would echo that. Most of the assignments are submitted in Word or Excel, they’re just in the discussion board, the weekly discussion posts, so you’re not going to be using designing programs. Personally, I gravitate towards presenting things in a very visual, presentable way, because I find that helps build the story, and PowerPoint and other things like that. I think if you’re looking for a program that is really going to be focused on design, I don’t think this is it. But to Dan’s point, he’s spot on: it’s really how you’re taking the underpinnings of the data that’s driving marketing and then presenting it and there will be elements of that throughout the course. As I mentioned, a lot of the assignments are submitted in Excel which is really minimal design unless you’re building some charts and things like that, or Word.

Question 3: What do you wish you had known or done to prepare before you started this program? I haven't been in "school mode" for a long time.

Dan Dipiazzo: This one obviously speaks to me because I hadn’t been in “school mode” for 30 years. That was a long time for sure. It’s actually very interesting because my daughter is a senior in college now and actually just kind of observing her and helping her with some things almost reawakened my sense of “Oh, maybe this is something I could do!” What I wish I would have known probably more so is just having a little better sense of what the flow was going to be in terms of the assignments and how they were going to go. I went into it blind until we really started and then I got the idea. Once you get the cadence of how the program works and the weekly discussions and the different assignments, and how you can balance that, then it makes a lot of sense. I would say that was the biggest thing, just understanding that so you can figure out how it fits in with the rest of your life.

Alex McPherson: To give people an idea of that flow, an easy, basic portion of it is: every Wednesday night you’re going to have a discussion post assignment to turn in, every Friday you’re going to have discussion post responses to have turned in, and then every Monday you’re going to have an assignment to turn in. It’s as simple as that and it just basically rotates exactly like that through all of your courses. It does really get to a point where it’s an easy cadence and no matter what else seems to be going on in your life, you’ll at least have the edge and you’ll know what you need to get done when so you can try to plan around it.

Question 4: Would this program be too challenging for a parent of 2 under 2?

Katy Jones: I don’t want to presume anything, but Dan, it sounds like you have kids in college. I have, as I mentioned, a 7 and a 10 year old who… it was actually a driver for me to do this so that they could see their mom working hard towards an education so it was nice to be able to see that. With a strong support system, a strong spouse or partner, who, when you say “I need you to handle bedtime right now because I’ve got a discussion post that I’ve got to get done in the next x hours unless I’m going to stay up until 1 o’clock in the morning.” I don’t think it would be too challenging with a lot of organization and a lot of planning. To Alex’s point, you know when the posts are due, you get everything at one time, so often I really would take a day over the weekend or in a hotel when I’m travelling and away from my family to catch up and do one or two discussion posts at a time because you are in school mode and you’re able to really just focus on it. Juggling baseball games and all sorts of things, it does require a lot of planning and a lot of preparation, and a lot of family support. I don’t think it’s too challenging, I think it’s doable.

Question 5: I read that it is required to pass the introduction course with at least a 70% in order to proceed with the course. How challenging was the first course for you guys

Dan Dipiazzo: Well, I just did that. I think what you are referring to, maybe, is an assessment. There’s an assessment tool or test you have to take. I did not find it to be terribly difficult. I think it was basic concepts. I think there were one or two that I missed – I was probably going too fast. I don’t think it was difficult. The idea behind it, as I understand it, is if you don’t pass, then I think you go through a boot camp and you learn some of those basics and it’s really to make sure everybody’s kind of grounded into the things that will help you be a success as you go through the program instead of kind of struggling as you go along so I think it’s a great idea from that standpoint. But I think it’s really, kind of, basic concepts.

Alex McPherson: Yeah, and to add to what Dan just said, as well, you have potentially two chances at the very beginning where you get to take that course in the program, and then near the end, you’ll have basically gone through and you really will have a good grasp on those concepts. At least in my case, the first professor was, again, absolutely excellent - honestly one of the best of the entire program. There’s so much value in that first course. But, by the time you get to the end of it, the university makes sure you have all of the resources you could have to pass that exam and you would get a second chance if you didn’t pass it the first time. Again, there is plenty of opportunity to make that happen.

Question 6: What is one thing that you were the most excited to learn about, or took the most from during your time in the program?

Alex McPherson: One of the things that was interesting for me it’s just in my current role and capacity, I hadn’t thought of things as precisely in this manner – since again I was dealing with mostly online, digital, social – was customer journey maps. So that’s something we learned in two courses- I did one for my final portfolio. Which was taking from the first step of customer awareness all the way through to the customer buying the product, to mapping out what paths are they taking, what are you doing from digital, social, online, direct mailing aspect to speak directly with this customer. And then, sort of, what are the results of that? It’s sort of a fascinating brain puzzle essentially to really think and put yourself in the shoes of that customer so you really have a better understanding of the different marketing avenues you have to hopefully enable them to become lifetime customers. That is something I found really useful and I even mentioned it in a team meeting just today. And my boss essentially said our clients are looking exactly for some things like that, so please show me what you did. So that was really sort of cool to get that feedback, as well, that something that we learned within this course that I was especially not familiar with was very valuable.

Katy Jones: Just to echo Alex, there are so many elements of this. I think I was excited about this element to it but then you really just feel it, how much you’re able to use your real world experience, again, assuming you are currently in an agency or a marketing role, so I was able to build out a customer experience map for our stats platform and share that internally within the organization. I think it helps too because you’re feeling like you’re working towards assignments and deliverables that you’re able to use with your real world position. Many times, students in our cohort would use their current job and float things by - being in a startup - I was a person of one, when I joined, and have grown the team to now six and adding another, so being able to build these elements out – I was excited about it – and it was key, very true and something that was really helpful.

Question 7: What is it like going through a completely online program? Is there any kind of support to help students who aren't used to online classes?

Dan Dipiazzo: I can take a shot at that one. I’ll admit it took me a minute to get used to it. I kind of felt a little bit like a dummy at first. I work on programs all day long. It’s not like I’m unfamiliar with technology and don’t know how to operate things. It took me a little bit to get used to the Blackboard system, which is the main program you use to access things. Once you kind of get the hang of it and understand that aspect of it, the challenge is you’re kind of in this long distance relationship with your classmates. I feel like I know them very well but haven’t met any of them in person. But in the same token, you do start to build that relationship. The professors, all I’ve had so far, are very accessible, active, and very responsive to any kind of questions so while you aren’t physically sitting in the same room together, you almost have that same sense, a lot of times. And you can tell as deadlines approach for the discussions, everyone seems to be in there at the same time and there’s a lot of back and forth. You still kind of get that sense even though it’s distant. The benefit obviously is that you can be flexible. So, I don’t have to be somewhere 10 o’clock Tuesday morning. I don’t have to necessarily do this at an inconvenient time. I can make it work around my schedule. That’s really the biggest benefit is you can make it kind of work for you, whenever you can sneak in those moments to work on some of this.

Alex McPherson: For me one of the big aspects of online learning was accountability. You had to learn to be accountable for yourself and understand these are when the deadlines are, find what trick works for you, whether it be setting little reminders or even having a significant other or spouse always nudging you, “Hey did you turn that assignment in yet?” Things like that end up being very helpful. You also want to keep up the communication with your instructor. Review the assignments early. Review your discussion posts early so if you have a question, you’re giving yourself and your professor a little bit of time, if you want to submit those questions and ask. Unlike in an in-person class, you can’t just sort of go up at the end of it and ask someone, it’s through this digital medium. You know, myself, I was moving this past week, or I guess it was a week or two ago, and I actually forgot to submit my discussion post response. It completely passed my mind. But what I did was I went ahead and submitted them late and I emailed the professor and said “Hey, I completely forgot about this, sorry. I submitted them anyway. I will make sure to be more diligent in the future.” I may have gotten a point or two off for lateness but they were very understanding. It’s all sort of keeping up with that communication as well as trying to stay diligent to those deadlines.

Katy Jones: Just to echo both Alex and Dan, this is the first time Alex and I have heard each other’s voice. We have been in the same cohort for 18 months. I feel like I know him. I’ve read his writing, very, very eloquent discussion posts for the last 18 months. But it’s this connection that you have, and I know it sounds weird because it’s all online, and you’re not talking to people but to Dan’s point, you hear their tone of voice, and you can start to really get to know them. Again, that diligence helps with everything. To look through the assignments, get a feel for the course, and to ask questions ahead of time – not waiting until 11pm on a Wednesday night and expecting your professor to get back to you right away. That is a critical piece that requires some professionalism and diligence.