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Distance Learning Success:

Reyna Valdez - Human Development and Family Relations


What Program Are You Studying?​

Human Development and Family Relations

First Experience with Online Classes?<

No.

Why CU Denver?

Just after having my daughter in 2011 I enrolled at CCD and later started my current position at CU Denver Pre-Collegiate programs part time. While working for a CU academic program, my interest in the university grew but what really sparked my transfer decision was learning about University experiences from my colleagues, CU Denver Leaders and events on campus. I officially transferred to CU Denver in the fall of 2013.

Biggest Educational Triumph?

The greatest triumph I’ve encountered is learning the importance of cultural diversity. With CU Denver core classes like ethnic and religious studies I have being able to express myself openly about controversial and sensitive subjects all while learning from others’ prospective without bias. 

Class discussions and lectures pulled me out of the tunnel vison acquired from prior environmental and family influences. Cultural diversity is fundamental aspect of education and necessity for building professional and personal relationships!

Where are some of the locations that you have been while participating in classes?

Listening to audio lectures in my car via canvas app, more listening while I was prepping dinner, lunch time, at the hospital, waiting room at appointments, hotel rooms on family trips and hotel computers

What barriers have you had to face?

The balancing act was the greatest barrier by far. Being a non-traditional student, mother with 2 fulltime jobs (Work and Home) finding a balance is essential to academic success. 

There were times when I refused to study at home because of distractions. Later I found that in order to get my homework done I would have to find the time to do it whether at home or on campus even of that meant long nights or very early mornings.

What stands out about your experiences?

It’s all about the organization and interaction from the instructors and TA’s. I’ve had online courses where the setup was hard to follow and I only seen 4-5 posts from instructor throughout the whole semester. 

I’ve also seen professors that treat the online classroom just like an onsite course utilizing all technology and being readily available for feedback and response. I’ve been in online classes that rely solely on the text book and some where the instructor posts video lectures and requires video sit ins and voice threads. 

All of this stands out to me because after having one “textbook taught” online course I could have given up and not enrolled in an online class again. I know that every on campus course is different so this applies to online as well. I just have to stick with it and adapt to the different class styles.

Career success stories?

YES! As mentioned when I first transferred here to CU Denver it was in part because of my work environment and professional influences. Starting out part-time at the CU Denver Center for Pre-Collegiate programs I later was hired full-time as a state employee. 

Not only do my supervisor and upper leadership teams fully support my education, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees are highly encouraged. Prior to working here the idea of a college degree was a foreign concept because of my first generation upbringing. Now, graduate school is on my agenda without a doubt. 

Through my current job I have gained a passion for education and helping others access higher education. I see my job and schooling as a blessing and a calling because each day I find that I am actually doing what I love and that is learning. ​

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