Saturday, July 14, 2012

eLearning Design Program Opens New Door

Even though Jill McNair had an MBA, she couldn’t find a job. After her husband’s art business collapsed during the recession, McNair applied to many companies to help support the family. 

“After months of fruitless searching, I decided to go back to school and update my skill set,” said McNair. “I also decided that I wanted to pursue a new field that would be interesting, rewarding and would be in high demand.”

She looked into programs in educational technology at a nearby state university but found it to be too expensive, even with financial aid assistance. She then came across Rio Salado College’s eLearning Design certificate program in a catalog, and it piqued her interest.

Rio’s flexibility and affordability would allow her to pursue an education in the growing field of educational technology. She was confident that her skills would be in high demand after graduation.

McNair said she decided to go for it, and supplement her income by starting a small childcare business in the home. "Within a month or so, I had received financial aid and was taking my first online class," she said.

Managing her time and finding a quiet study space were her biggest obstacles.

“I remember one day asking my husband and daughter to plan an outing during a time that I had to concentrate in order to finish an assignment,” said McNair. “I realized that it was not feasible to ask them go somewhere every time I needed to concentrate – I’m the one who should be going somewhere.”

McNair overcame these obstacles with the purchase of an inexpensive laptop and the creation of a study space in her bedroom. She also worked during the late night hours and while her daughter was asleep or at school.

The eLearning design program taught her instructional designing. She went from not having any knowledge in the area, to creating courses, modules and many other online learning tools.

Her two internship experiences made a huge impact, especially one in which she redesigned Rio Salado’s eLearning Design community. McNair completed the program this past May and is starting a freelance business. She is also continuing with one of her internships and building a portfolio.

Her advice to other students in the eLearning Design program? “Take a chance and contact the company you would like to intern for," McNair said. "This is a relatively small industry, so you might get a yes! I know for sure that the answer is ‘no’ if you don’t ask.”

By Patricia Oliverio-Lauderdale, PR Intern at Rio Salado College
Article published in the Tempe Republic July 14


New York Hospital said...

It's always inspiring when someone takes their future into their own hands. It's great to hear Jill was able to leverage her knowledge into a freelance business.


Charles said...

Thank you, it's an excellent eLearning Design Program.

Cheap College Textbooks said...

eLearning Design Program from Riosalado Education is the perfect choice for us to learn how to create online training and make it exciting, interactive and professional.

Heartburn no more said...

Awesome program... three certificates and an associate degree to choose from and all that from home. Really tempted to join :)

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goldsenze said...

It's always inspiring when someone takes their future into their own hands. It's great to hear Jill was able to leverage her knowledge into a freelance business.

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Unlock iPhone 5 said...

Thanks for the article…good info here. I'm in my second year of a startup business and I wouldn't say that I'm completely fly by night but I have tried to plan and when I have I always end up realizing that things are just still so volatile and constantly changing that there's no way any particular plan will stay in effect for very long. It's a day to day, week to week, month to month challenge to adapt and stay on top of things.

Seph said...

Touching story!

It's amazing how technology has changed the workforce. I have a friend who owns a 'digital office' so to speak. And he gets to work anywhere in the world. I think he used an eLearning program as well like yourself in San Francisco. I don't know the program. But they teach the Silicon Valley guys/girls. Keep up the good fight. May I ask what your husband is doing now? Maybe he can find a way to teach art online?

Olivia said...

The article is wonderfully written and the way
the points that were sent across is very understandable.

John Sheldon said...

I read this article and got a feeling of relief that I wasn't alone is trying to do an online education site. Thanks for the support. My site is


I used online education, well to get my degree. Love it and have since started working toward the goal of teaching online. Having started out the classic NERD, online learning just seemed a natural progression. I love that many schools and avenues are starting to use the social media venues for learning. I will be back for more.
Thanks for sharing.
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Digital Art Lover said...

Totally agree with the fact that online learning is an attractive alternative to classical educational programs. I myself work in this field and I see so many people improving their lives.

seksiseuraa said...

Thank you for this informative article, I'll bookmark it!

Ern said...

This field definitely is small yet growing. It's good to hear that your college has a course offering this. :-)

Hall said...

This will be much appreciated in rural areas where it's tough for students to earn dual credit. Accumulating college credit can really save poor families quite a bit during a students initial few years of college.