An Interview with Amanda Manning
“I would advise students who are interested in studying English online to just go for it.”
Amanda Manning is studying to earn her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. She is an online student at University of Phoenix.
Amanda is studying English because she wants to further develop her skills as an aspiring writer. She chose to study online because she appreciates the convenience and usability of an online program.
In your own words, what is English?
English is the study of different literatures written in the English language that originated from different times and parts of the world. It also examines the impact of literature on the evolution of culture.
Why did you choose to get a bachelors degree in English online?
I chose to get my bachelors degree in English from University of Phoenix because I love writing and developing stories and characters. Prior to enrolling in my program, I actually wrote and published a historical romance novel, and I wanted to build upon my writing skills in an academic program.
I chose to study online specifically because I needed a program that accommodated my obligations as the mother of a large family.
What do you find most and least enjoyable about studying English?
The most enjoyable part of studying English is interacting with classmates. Students engage in intriguing discussions online. Plus, I have made a few friends who I interact with using e-mail and online chat.
The least enjoyable aspect about my program in English is the demands of the coursework. I need to stay driven to complete the classwork on time, and I can’t procrastinate.
When you first considered studying English online what were your expectations?
When I first considering studying English online, I expected to learn about all types of literature ranging from ancient to modern eras. Now that I have been in the program for a while, I realize that the classwork becomes more and more challenging, which requires a lot of focus on my part.
What kinds of classes have you taken in your English program?
In my English program, I have taken math classes, history classes such as American Revolution, Spanish classes, and literature classes such as Literary Masterpieces and Ancient Literature. Most of the history classes in my program emphasize how literature impacts cultural change in various epochs. Most coursework requires a lot of reading.
Which of these classes do you think will be most valuable for your future goals?
I think my literature and history classes will be most valuable for my future goals. Through these classes, I have a better understanding of historical events and various forms of literature, which will enable me to write better. Most of my personal writing includes a lot of history.
What classes do you feel will be least useful?
My least useful class is Spanish, because it doesn’t relate to writing. However, it has helped me in my current career as a substitute teacher. Some of my classes have a few Spanish-speaking students, so I am able to converse with them a little bit.
What resources do you use to help you succeed in your studies?
To help me succeed in my studies, I utilize a writing resource provided by University of Phoenix. The tool gives me guidance on basic English grammar, as well as examples of different types of essays in APA format.
How do you interact with your professors?
I interact with my professors using e-mail, phone and the new chat system provided by University of Phoenix. I like the chat system because it allows me to message my professor with a question and receive an immediate response if they are online. This way, I don’t have to wait for an e-mail or for them to pick up the phone if they are busy.
Are you able to interact with your peers while studying online?
Yes, I am able to interact with my peers while studying online. I have actually gotten to know some of my classmates fairly well through the discussion boards and e-mailing back and forth. My classmates range from recent high school graduates to people who are in their 50s or 60s.
What personality traits do you think would help a student to succeed in an English program?
In order to succeed in an online English program, a student needs to be outgoing. Students need to be willing to voice their opinion about a particular book and discuss their reasons for why they enjoyed or disliked it.
What is your weekly schedule?
My weekly schedule is pretty hectic because I have to divide my time between working a part-time job as a substitute teacher, taking care of my children and completing my classwork. I spend about 10 to 12 hours per week working on homework.
How do you manage your course load? What study tips would you give to a prospective student?
I manage my course load by closely following the syllabus, which helps me stay on top of everything. At the very beginning of the class, I look over the syllabus and prepare myself accordingly for the upcoming individual assignments or learning team assignments.
I would encourage students to not get frustrated with classwork. They should take notes on the main points of a reading and ask for help when they need it.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After I graduate with my bachelors degree in English, I hope to enroll in a masters program as well as continue my hobby of writing books. I am also interested in setting up a tutoring service for children.
Do you think the fact that you studied online will affect your job or school prospects?
No, I don’t think the fact that I studied online will affect my job or school prospects. Hopefully, most employers recognize the fact that earning an online degree requires more focus, drive and self-reliance. After all, employers are looking for people who are willing to persevere.
If you were to redo the past 1 year of college, what would you do differently?
If I could redo the past 1 year of college, I wouldn’t do anything differently except for maybe starting my bachelors program earlier.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in studying English online?
I would advise students who are interested in studying English online to just go for it. The entire online process is so easy and user-friendly. Plus, they are given the opportunity to learn so much in the program.