Online Psychology Professor Profile

A psychology professor’s expert opinion on getting your online degree in psychology.

Dr. Melanie Roudkovski, Ph.D., LPC
Associate Professor of Psychology
LeTourneau University, Longview, TX
Experience: Over 8 years teaching online; Two years in a traditional classroom

Why did you choose psychology as your career?

online-psychology-professor-interview1I went into the field of counseling psychology to help people. I wanted to practice counseling in a setting that would allow me to work with people of all ages and backgrounds.

While I was working on my Master’s in Counseling, I was inspired by two of my professors. Both were incredible teachers with counseling practices on the side. One of them really began to mentor me. His encouragement and belief in my abilities was very meaningful. Both professors encouraged me to pursue my doctorate.

That is why I do what I do. I love teaching, I love the opportunity to inspire students the way I was inspired, and I love counseling and helping people—watching them grow and realizing their potential in their relationships and within themselves.

Why did you choose to become an online psychology professor?

I was approached about becoming an online psychology professor when I was in my previous job. I thought it would be a good challenge, and the money was good!

Is getting a degree online a good way to get a degree?

I think online courses offer students an opportunity for an education when they would not be able to attend the traditional classroom, for whatever reason. I would say, however, that online education is not for everyone. Also, the program must be well-designed for online to be a “good way to get a degree.”

What misconceptions do students have about online degrees?

Students often expect online courses to be easier than traditional courses. Also, students expect to have as much contact with the professor in the online setting, and that is typically not the case. While the instructor should have regular contact with the students, online learning requires much more discipline and self-study than the traditional program.

What misconceptions did you have about teaching online?

I initially thought it would be easier to teach online and take less time. After teaching for several years in both settings, I have found ways to utilize about the same amount of time in each.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job?

I enjoy the flexibility of teaching online. I can teach while on vacation; I can teach while I’m sitting at home with my family. If done well, and if an instructor stays on top of grading and other class items, the online experience is more flexible. I like the sense of community that the students report. They are forced to interact with peers, when in the classroom they may never even learn the names of their classmates.

Do you see online education becoming the wave of the future?

I think it is already prominent in higher education. It seems that most schools are moving to launch online programs. I think this is more demand than anything—schools have to keep up with the demand. Unfortunately, I think the demand exists partially because students think it will be easier and take less time. I honestly believe that hybrid learning will be more prominent than strict online learning in the future. Taking the best of online and the best of face-to-face seems to be the most ideal.

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