Fall & Figuring It Out

Happy September everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and I recently bought my plane ticket for winter break to head back to Virginia for Thanksgiving and virtual finals.

The first day of fall is very near and I am so excited for the air to start getting crisp and chilly, with rainy Florida fall days. Additionally, I’ve been very busy lately and it still boggles my mind how taking less credit hours (12) with more virtual classes, fills up my schedule more than taking 18 credit hours with in-person classes. I’m still adjusting and learning how to set boundaries, which is proving very tricky indeed. There is an unfortunate expectation with online classes that because classes are virtual, students are readily available 24/7, but I’m quite exhausted. There is a balance between virtual classes and life, and I feel like teachers, students, and staff are all figuring it out together.

My bitmoji enjoying some meditation after a long day.

Today my schedule consists of yoga, working out, breakfast, blogging, Aerospace Structures I homework, working on essays for study abroad program scholarships for Summer 2021, writing an essay for my Air Force class on a national security issue of choice, more study abroad scholarship applications, writing a letter to my brother as he is currently at basic training, an ROTC meeting, working on an Experimental Aerodynamics lab report virtually with my lab partner, going to get my daily wellness check, printing a slew of items, preparing myself for PT tomorrow (ie filling up my camelbak with water, laying out my PT gear, yoga because my muscles are sore and still recovering), and then sleep!

Teachers typically assume I have extraneous free time to relax on Saturdays and Sundays, but my weekends are equally as busy as my weekdays. I could use a 3 day weekend to get caught up on everything right about now. I am looking forward to the end of the fall semester, putting down my laptop and phone, and relaxing.

In other news my sister got a new puppy that I am so excited to meet when I return to Virginia in late November. Taking virtual finals with a tiny mascot seems like an amazing stress relief.

My sister’s new puppy Dasiy!

To be continued folks, keep on keeping on, stay safe and studious, will report back soon!

Online Classes & COVID-19

Happy March everyone! I am currently blogging from Northern Virginia, and here’s how my schedule has changed since COVID-19 come in effect and I began taking online classes:

I still wakeup early and drink coffee and I still begin working from the very beginning of the day until the end of the day.

I spend more time working on class things now than before. This is partly because I had to spend two days packing and vacating from living on campus to moving back up north by myself. Usually move out occurs at the end of the semester, after finals, and I am able to have my friends/family help me pack. This time was extremely expedited, solo, and very stressful . . . on top of up in the air RA responsibilities and professors starting online classes and uploading lectures and assignments that I began to fall behind on. Moving out and going to a safe place where I was not at risk of becoming sick (from exposure to thousands of students returning from traveling over spring break) began taking precedence over me trying to stay on top of 60+ priority daily email notifications. 

So to say the least, my personal transition to online classes was very abrupt and sort of felt like I was running to keep up with a moving train. Quarantine preparation and move-out time were not originally factored into my Spring Break plan.

A selfie from the airport quickly traveling back from Daytona Beach to IAD, not pictured: a lot of hand sanitizer and a row to myself on the plane.
Flashback to waking up stress free and looking outside in Key West over Spring Break.

Once I traveled back home and transitioned to actually having time to spend on my online classes though here are a few things I’ve noticed:

Typical in-person classes in Aerospace Engineering are difficult, especially ones that are traditionally not offered as online courses (in the fall/spring as well as summer semesters) because they are too challenging. Now, take these courses with professors who are not the most technologically savvy, and force them to transition to teaching upper level engineering courses via a digital platform. In your head you might be thinking, that doesn’t sound like an idea that would flow very smoothly, and yes, I will tell you, indeed it does not.

Thankfully, however, flexibility is the key to Air Power and AFROTC has smoothly transitioned to hosting online classes and digital assignments to compensate for not having in person Leadership Laboratories, Physical Training sessions, and Air Force classes. That being said, it is significantly easier for classes that frequently rely on digital assignments and communication over online platforms to quickly and easily make a transition to solely remote learning.

I’ve had my first Solid Mechanics test online since digital courses began and even though most of the material was taught before spring break, it was still significantly more stressful as the constant worry of technical issues, distractions, or everyday life problems that occur in a home setting were looming around me (think power outages, that yes, of course happened to me 20 minutes prior to starting my exam).

I have come to the realization that I spend more time on my coursework now with online classes than I did with in-person classes because even with power-points, notes, and recorded lectures being uploaded, I am pretty much teaching myself material in addition to completing homework, projects, and “in-class” assignments on my own.

Verdict: I prefer in person learning to online classes.

Will report back soon folks, keep on keeping on, stay safe and stay well!

Have you Thought About Taking Online Classes During the Summer?

Have you ever thought of taking online classes during the summer to increase your chances of graduating early? It is not too late to register for this summer! That’s the path I took for the past two summers while also doing an internship. I have talked about Online vs. Regular Classes previously, but now I have gathered two stories of students who took online classes while also doing an internship or working a full-time position. Overall, they were great and recommended experiences:

“I took International Business during Summer 2016 while on internship with Alaska Airlines. My professor was great, and he posted video lectures online each week, so I would watch his chapter lecture, read the chapter, and do discussion posts. We could do the posts on our own time, as long as they were done by the end of the week. Additionally, we had a group project to do, which was challenging because one of my group members went on vacation and didn’t do her part. I believe we had also two exams, which were obviously open book. Lastly, we had a final paper, in which we had to write a business plan for how we would expand our American company into international markets.

I probably spent 30 min to 1 hour each night doing homework or reading the textbook (3 to 4 hours per week). Towards the end of the class I spent more time on the class, since I had a final paper to write. It was pretty easy to take a class during my internship. I started the online class a week before my internship, so I had a feel for it before I jumped into working full time. I worked 40 hours per week (typically 8am to 5pm) with an additional hour of commute each way. Once I got home I would do some homework for my online class. I spaced out my homework throughout the week so that I wouldn’t have to spend my weekends doing homework (since I had flight benefits and wanted to travel!).

I really liked combining an online class with my internship. I felt like I was being very productive over the summer. My manager at my internship was very impressed that I was able to take classes along with working full time.” Lindsey Hanbidge, ERAU Daytona 2017 Graduating Senior

“During the summer of 2016, I took a Leadership online class as an elective while working full-time at an airport for a ground handling company. The class was straightforward and included weekly discussions and assignments. We also had a term paper and a final exam. I would say that I spent on average 3-4 hours per week on that class. It was crucial to set a side a time during the week to sit down with no distractions and knock out my class work. If you put it off until Sunday night each week, you will definitely regret it. With all that said, working full-time and taking an online class at the same time is totally feasible and totally recommended!” – Jake Neville, ERAU Daytona Class of 2016


Editor’s note: Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or program coordinator before deciding whether online courses are right for you. 

It’s Over!

I can’t believe the fall 2016 semester is already over. I feel like it was not a long time ago that I ended my summer internship. I’m very happy that finals are now over and that we have a bit less than a month of vacation.

I had my last final on Tuesday evening. This semester, only has two finals during the four days that are considered “finals week.” In most of my classes, the professors gave the final during regular class time on the last day of classes. Instead of being a big comprehensive exam with the material we saw from the beginning of the semester, it was just a normal exam with the material covered in the last few weeks. To make it even easier, one of my finals was open book and we were allowed to reference our textbook, our computer (with no internet access), PowerPoint slides and notes. It was definitely my easiest exam!

I am now at the airport waiting for my flight to go home for the holidays! Before I left Daytona Beach, I made sure my schedule was set for next semester. I was on the waitlist for one of my classes that only had one section. Fortunately, the Department of Physical Sciences decided to add a second section of Biology because many students were on the waiting list for the class. If you are currently on a waitlist for one of your classes, you have a few options. First, you can wait until the first week of classes in January where the class might open since many students drop classes. Second, you can try to force entry in a class, but this process is more complicated since you have to talk with your Program Coordinator, the Department of your class and the professor teaching the course. Finally, you might be able to take the class online* through Worldwide. You can read my blog to see if an online class is a good option for you.

I will be home with my family until January 1. On the first day of 2017, I will head with my family to London for a week!

Happy holidays and see you in 2017!

Nicolas

*Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you.

First Class of the Semester Completed

This Wednesday, I completed my first class of the semester. You might be thinking that this is impossible since we are only in November and the fall semester ends in mid-December. The professor let me take the final exam in advance. Just kidding!

The Business Statistics class (MATH 222) I took was an online class through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus. It was the first time I took a Mathematics online course. Even though I was pleased overall with the class, I would not recommend it to students who are studying at the Daytona Beach or Prescott campuses. The main reason is that an online Math class is quite different from the other classes students have to take.

As you know, a Math class is more about solving problems than writing essays. It happened a couple times over the semester that I did not understand how to do a problem. Professors don’t really teach you anything in online classes; you are on your own. You learn by reading the textbook and by looking at the slides. I found that my best friend during that class was the Internet. I watched videos that explained how to do certain problems. Sometimes, I thought the videos explained better than the textbook did.

Three Weeks Remaining
Only a few weeks separate today from the end of the fall semester! This also means that end of semester projects, essays and finals are arriving at the same time. I have my final analytical report due on Monday in my Tech Report class (COM 221). A presentation about this report is also required as part of the final grade. In Comparative Religions (HU 345), I have an essay due right after the Thanksgiving break. In my Supply Chain class (BA 363), I have a group project to do due on the last day of classes. Finally, I have a few tests left in some classes before the final exam.

Long Weekend
On Veterans Day (today), I am going to see my friend in Baltimore, MD. He works for a  ground handling company at the airport so I hope to learn a few things during my short visit! Before every flight I board, I try to sit by the window at the gate area to look at all the activities going around the aircraft. Today, I’ll have the chance to be walking on the airport ramp!

Until next time!

Nicolas

Editor’s note: Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you. 

Online vs. Regular Classes

The fall semester is just around the corner and many of you are finalizing your class schedule before the start of the semester. Have you ever thought of taking an online class through our Worldwide Campus instead of a regular one in the classroom? In my two years of college so far, I have taken three online classes. I took one class during the summer of 2015 and one this summer while doing an internship. The other class I took was during last spring semester. Classes taken from your computer can both have benefits and drawbacks.

I think the biggest advantage of an online is that you can work on it whenever you want. There is no lecture by the professor like a regular class. You don’t need to leave your home and drive to school. You can simply stay home and study. If your schedule is busy, then an online class could be your answer.

Online classes are usually cheaper than classes taught in a classroom. Students might save money but won’t have the same learning experience than in a traditional classroom.

I feel like instructors in online classes give more feedback to the students on their assignment. They have to complete a rubric evaluation for every assignments. Students can see where they lost points and see the instructor’s comments.

One of the disadvantages of online classes is that you are basically on your own. If you need help because you don’t understand something, you can’t just go ask the professor after class. You can message the instructor, but he or she might reply back a few days later. During an online class, you don’t really have classmates and you have to learn by yourself. You have to teach yourself the weekly material.

Format of an online class at ERAU

  • Review Questions
  • Discussion
  • Group Project
  • Research Paper
  • Final Assessment

All the online classes I took were business classes and their format was quite similar. Online classes at ERAU have a duration of nine weeks. Every week, students will have to submit various assignments on a date set by the instructor at the beginning of the semester. These assignments can include review questions, essays, and discussions. The review questions are pretty straight-forward. You will have to answer questions from a chapter in the textbook. Depending on the class you take, you might have to submit a weekly essay on the topic of the week. Finally, you will have to interact with different students in you class by posting and replying to a discussion thread.

Your class might include a group project. I really had a bad experience with the group project in my Business Information Systems class (MGMT 320). The instructor will assign you in a team (typically four students) and you will have to submit an essay/report. In my group, only one of the three colleagues I had participated in the project. The two of us did the whole work for our team. We tried to get the participation of the two other members by sending emails but it did not work. After we submitted the project, one member sent us an email saying that she was not able to participate since she was at a wedding. The last member seemed to have disappeared from the class. He wouldn’t be active in the weekly discussion threads.

At the end of the nine weeks, you will be required to submit a term paper that can range between 6 to 12 pages. The final assessment is due on the last day and can consist of multiple choice questions, true or false, matching, and/or short essay questions.

I hope that you learned more about online classes and that you will choose the best option for your needs. They both have their pros and cons.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Editor’s note: Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you. 

Quick Update

This past week has been quite busy juggling between work and my online summer class. I am working currently working with the 2017 summer schedule. My online class is almost coming to an end with less than two weeks remaining. Students must always request permission to take courses online, but it’s a good way to keep moving towards graduation during the summer months.

Last week, we had to turn in a rough draft of a research paper on leadership, which is due in a week. I only have a few assignments left before finishing the class. Since I work 40 hours a week, I have to study and do homework during the evenings after work and on weekends. This week, I will review and edit my essay and turn in my final submission. We also have a final exam in two week. It consists of five short essay questions.

In less than two weeks, my internship at Air Canada will end. I am taking the time to enjoy my last few days as an intern. I hope to come back next spring as a full-time employee.

Until next time!

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

End of Class, Research Paper, Interviews, Exams

Next Sunday, during Spring Break, I will finish my first class of the spring semester. I am taking Organizational Behavior (MGMT 317) online. I have a lot of work to do before I can finally rest for a week.

First, for my online class, I have to write a final report of 15 pages on an aviation company and discuss the topics in the modules we saw over the nine-week course. I also have to complete a weekly discussion with my classmates. Finally, there is an open book final exam consisting of multiple choice, true or false, short answer, and essay questions. This is all due on Sunday at 11:59PM, yay!

I also have two interviews this week for internship positions for the summer. I hope to get answers back quickly so I can plan my summer accordingly. One of the companies that I applied to is based in Montreal, so I won’t need to find a place to live since I will live with my family at home. The other organization I am interviewing with is not located close to home so I will have to temporary housing for three months. Most of the companies proceed like this. They will help you to find housing close to the headquarters, but you are on your own to pay your living expenses.

Finally, I have to prepare for tests if I do not want to study a lot over the break. I have a Managerial Accounting and a Corporate Finance midterm on the week right after vacation.

A few weeks ago, my professor in my Airport Management class told us that we would not have an in class final exam. He does things differently then my other professors. We do take home assignments throughout the semester and will have a large final group project that will account for most of our grade. We will also have a take home final exam. I like to explore different ways to learn. In this class, we don’t have to memorize material to do well on the exams since there are none. Our assignments work with real life aviation examples. For the final project, we will play the role of the manager of San Diego International Airport (SAN). We will have to prepare a SWOT analysis to determine if we can keep the airport in its current location or take action to develop a brand new airport. I didn’t know that the airport operates with a single runway and welcomes more than 20 million passengers every year.

Well, I have to go back to work on my final report!

Until next time!

Nicolas


 

Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

 

August 2012

Summer online classes are officially over for me! What does this mean? I have completed my degree at Embry-Riddle! Once all the paper work goes in and is completed I hope to receive my diploma in a few weeks! It’s hard to believe how fast these four years have gone by. Four years ago around this time I was loading up the truck about to head down to move into the dorm rooms for my freshman year. In fact many of the freshman that year remembers that move in! We got to experience a tropical storm first thing!

Well, since I have finally completed my degree I have been applying for various flying jobs in the Atlanta area. I currently do not have my CFI yet and if I don’t get selected for this Fall’s panel for Air Traffic Control I plan on getting my CFI so I can instruct. So basically now I am playing the waiting game that many Air Traffic Major/Minor graduates know about!

The end of July I took a road trip to Woodruff, SC, where the 2012 Youth Masters took place.

I competed in this event back in 2005 and 2006 and since then I have helped out supporting our youth in aviation. This year was one of our biggest years having close to 30 pilots show up! These kids knew how to fly R/C very well for their age. The youngest pilot was just 8 years old and he finished 2nd in the Advanced class that was offered. We had a great time and I even let the kids fly my own competition plane during the contest. We provide the planes and everyone flies the same plane per round. To see the smiles on the kids faces flying these aircraft are priceless! Several of the older kids came up to express their interest in Embry-Riddle and hope to one day go there. Luckily I still had a few more brochures about the University and I handed them out to the future students.

After the Youth Masters I went straight to the lake with my grandparents. We are apart of a boat club at Lake Jackson in Georgia where we can bring our motor home there and camp for as long as we want. We also have a ski boat we bring down and a jet ski. It was nice to relax for a week at the lake! It’s something I have not done in a long time!

This is about it for this month! I plan on going to a few more R/C competitions in my region the next few months but other than that it’s basically time for me to settle down and get a big boy job! Again if anyone has any questions feel free to email me!

BTW! I use to be the kicker for my high school football team and one of my former teammates is now playing for the Baltimore Ravens! The coolest thing about it is his first game is against the Atlanta Falcons. Good luck Bobby Rainey for this year’s season!