Sarah Kleine is the Head of the Project Management office at Essencse Designs in Kansas City and a 2019 graduate of the M.Ed. in Professional Studies Learning Technologies program. She talks about how the fully online program helped her combine her passions for technology, education, and business while working full-time.
What drove you to enroll in the program?
I selected the University of Minnesota school because of the program’s reputation. Additionally, the faculty’s experience and interest areas piqued my interest and were closely aligned with many of my own.
I initially enrolled in the PhD program with the intention to change my career path toward a more academic role. However, as I progressed through the program and reflected on my own goals, I found a different path. I decided that an alternate path, staying in the corporate world would enable me to bridge my passions for learning and technology with my corporate expertise and ended up being a better fit for my career goals. I finished up with the M.Ed. program and am very happy with this decision.
Did the M.Ed. in Learning Technologies help you in your career goals?
Yes, this program helped me both refine my career goals and move them forward. I have leveraged what I learned in the program to develop blended learning solutions for training and onboarding programs in the project management office. I also work closely with the learning and development teams to create online training programs that support our transformation initiatives.
I have also had the privilege of getting involved with a local educational technology group, helping high school kids develop virutal reality learning solutions. This program has given me the knowledge and confidence to be able to create a career that uniquely aligns to me and my interests.
Were there any surprises and challenges along the way?
I was able to experience the Learning Technologies (LT) program both in-person in Minneapolis and remotely from Kansas City. While I always appreciate in-person interactions, the remote experience was excellent. I felt that I still was able to receive the full experience of the program and community. I really appreciated that the program supported remote learning as an option.
What was your experience with the faculty?
My experience was excellent. The LT faculty were supportive, caring, and worked hard to ensure I was able to achieve my goals. My advisors were easy to work with as well as being inspirational mentors to learn from.
Did you attend the program full-time or part-time?
I was a part-time student and worked full-time in the corporate world throughout the program. It was very manageable. I also had the opportunity to work as a graduate instructor. This role provided invaluable first-hand experience to practice what I learned in the classroom.
Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?
Enrolling in the LT program at the University of Minnesota was one of the best decisions I have made. The experiences, the people I met, and everything I learned continue to drive and inspire my work.