Back to Blog Associate Degree in Information Technology Offers Personalized Support for Students Blog Share Share on FacebookFollow us on LinkedInShare on PinterestShare via Email Enrolling in an information technology (IT) associate degree program is a big step for most people. Juggling work and home commitments, while studying online, can bring new challenges. Every University of Cincinnati (UC) Online program offers students an extra support layer, a Student Success Coordinator (SSC), to help them get the most from school and successfully cross the finish line. SSCs are a special member of the UC Online team, and they play a key role in our asynchronous learning (“study when and where you want”) format. Madison Jones is a member of the SSC team. Her responsibilities include supporting students in the Associate of Applied Business (AAB) in Information Technology program. “My role is to bring a sense of community to online students, so they feel like a true Bearcat,” she says. “I support IT students throughout their time with us.” How Madison Helps UC Online Students Madison connects students to UC Online information, resources, and best practices. She often starts by encouraging a new student to connect with their professors to inquire about the staff’s virtual office hours. She keeps in touch regularly and personalizes her approach based on a student’s preferences, communicating as often as they want and using the method (via phone, email, etc.) they like. Madison’s role is focused internally, too. She works closely with the AAB IT program’s academic advisors. She meets monthly with faculty to ensure everyone is aligned with the same goals. Most online students will never set foot on campus, and Madison’s support role is designed to provide real-time guidance and support to students who study 100% online. It’s a big-picture, university-wide view that Madison offers, and she describes her holistic responsibilities in this way: “An important role we play is connecting students with various departments, including Financial Aid, Veteran Programs & Services, Accessibility Resources, Tutoring Services, and any other support they need. For example, the Veteran Program & Services team ensures all individuals associated with the military can seamlessly transition from their armed forces experience to college. Accessibility Resources provide full and equal access to students with disabilities or those requiring testing accommodations.” From One Bearcat to Another As a UC graduate, Madison knows the university inside and out. She spent years compiling a network of faculty, staff, and office contacts that she remains in touch with today. Often when speaking with a new student enrolled in the AAB IT program, she readily emails or texts the right point-person in a support office, saving the student time and guesswork. Once the “handoff” is made, Madison likes to stay involved to ensure the student finds the needed information. Madison’s skills at helping students navigate online learning are something our students quickly come to appreciate — especially during the first week of school, when everything about UC Online is new. “My priority is to connect students with professors and help them access tutoring … I let students know they’re not alone and remind them the degree requires time and effort to stay on track.” – Madison Jones, Student Success Coordinator for the AAB Information Technology program Expectations for Associate Degree Students Typical concerns for an AAB IT student include time management and self-discipline. Madison encourages her students to use a calendar for due dates and schedule homework time as they would plan for other responsibilities. While UC Online’s format allows students to work at their own pace, the programs require a consistent focus. Madison occasionally hears from students who are struggling with courses or who have been sick and missed assignments. She says, “My priority is to connect students with professors and help them access tutoring if they have trouble with coursework. I let students know they’re not alone and remind them the associate degree requires time and effort to stay on track.” For students seeking to interact with other classmates, Madison connects them to the IT Tech Club. “The club is 100% online and allows students to connect with others in the IT community,” she says. “They discuss trending topics, brainstorm problems and have fun.” Sidenote: Madison says the tech club is highly recommended by alums because of its value and relevance to technology-focused careers! Madison’s connection with a UC Online student, starting day one through graduation. She keeps in touch with communications about deadlines and other important dates, including graduation, and touches base within the first week to offer encouragement — something students appreciate. “If you’re interested in the AAB IT program, know that I’m here to support you from day one,” says Madison. “But if you want to be independent and only have me, check in occasionally, that works, too.” Madison Jones, University of Cincinnati graduate, is the Student Success Coordinator for the Associate of Applied Business in Information Technology program at UC Online. Why IT Careers are Hot According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology roles should grow 13 percent from now through 2030. That’s much faster than the average of all other occupations. The rapidly growing technology field includes a focus on in-demand areas, such as computer programming and networking, database management, and information security. UC Online’s Associate Information Technology degree includes relevant coursework, such as Information Security and Assurance, Contemporary Programming, and Computer Networking. With so many tech-centric focus areas to explore and specialize in, there is virtually no limit to a career in IT. Plus, the benefits of joining the swelling IT job market are well-known. They include great pay, how you’re always learning, and the ability to chart your course. If you’re aiming for a promotion at work, seeking a new job, or looking to sharpen your IT skills, our AAB IT program could be the perfect fit for you and your career goals. UC Online also offers two IT certificates: Certificate in Information Technology (a perfect stepping stone to help you enter the IT workforce) and Application Software Support Specialist Certificate (helps students learn job-ready skills in the computer support workforce). “We want to make sure the UC Online learning experience is fulfilling and that students are happy.” – Madison Jones, Student Success Coordinator for the Associate Information Technology program UC Online is Designed for Student Success Heading back to college may feel overwhelming at first. There will be new technologies to learn and people to meet who may take you out of your comfort zone. But you won’t go it alone at UC Online. From top-level, experienced faculty to specialty departments that help students to SSCs, like Madison, cheering you on, you’ll find the right support for what you need. Why not take the first step and contact us to learn more about our popular Associate Information Technology degree? As Madison says, “We want to make sure the UC Online learning experience is fulfilling and that students are happy. I’ll be the student’s lifeline as they navigate our online classrooms and highly-ranked learning environment.” Madison and the rest of our AAB IT faculty and staff look forward to talking with you!