Online Teaching Blog

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How Online Education Can Be Life Changing

How Online Education Can Be Life Changing

by Daniel A. Straasburg
May 03, 2016

I would like to start this article by telling you about an Online Adjunct Professor that showed me what not only a teacher, but a leader does from her virtual classroom back on October 08, 2008. That date changed my life forever and I would like to share this experience and how my Online Adjunct Professor has had such a residual impact on my life. This is why I chose to be an Online Adjunct Professor, and why to me it is so very important to have a sound, quantifiable while maintaining the quality of a Curriculum Vita to obtain the interviews that we all are seeking to eventually get hired at a university.

We all have a reason to be an Adjunct Professor, some do it for money, and others do it for the love of teaching. Let’s face it, in a society where students are coming out of college having racked up so much debt that the average student is overwhelmed with paying back their student loans. Even educators are finding it harder and harder to get hired within our career fields. This is not only a cost to attain a Master’s Degree, but it is an investment into the person and his/her goals in life. I am not one that will go and invest all the money I make into Wall Street and maybe make it rich, but I will invest in someone that I know has a vested interest in success; those individuals are my wife and me. We both believe that investing in higher education is an area in a person’s life that can never go wrong, however, if a person is to succeed, they have to not only seek out the education, but also identify how you want to use your education.


I started my educational adventure being taught by Online Adjunct Professors from Liberty University out of Lynchburg, VA. At the time, I was stationed at Fort Benning, GA as an Army Infantry Drill Sergeant. Now for those that don’t know, a Drill Sergeant averages around 80 hours plus for a single work week. As a Drill Sergeant, you have to be up before the Soldiers, which on average was before 4 am and your day started with planning that continued throughout the day and sometimes very late into the evening hours. Planning and training as a Drill Sergeant is your life, mix in stressors from each individual young Soldiers to stressors from back home to top it all off. It was not uncommon to see me with my iPod listening to lectures whenever I could, cracking the binding of my books with highlighters in hand and typing away for either a discussion board or an assignment at every moment I could get away to achieve my goal of a Bachelor of Science Degree.

This all changed on October 8, 2008 when I was hit by a drunk driver in Janesville, WI as I was riding to destress on my 2007 Harley Davidson Heritage Soft Tail Classic. I was at a four way stop sign waiting to cross and was hit by a driver that was under the influence and just so happened to also be unlicensed and an uninsured driver. I sustained a quad break in by left leg two Tibia/two Fibula fractures. The orthopedic surgeon had to insert a titanium rod and screws into both my ankle and leg to sustain my body weight in an attempt to salvage my left leg. The irony was this was the day prior to my last test in my final class before being able to be conferred for my Bachelor’s Degree and I couldn’t do anything about it. I was stuck in the hospital with a swollen leg and was on some serious pain meds due to the injury. The head nurse asked me if there was anything that I needed. So what did I ask her to do? I requested that she please call Liberty University and speak with the Military Liaison office and tell them what has happened and that I won’t be able to take my final exam as scheduled. She did, and my Online Adjunct Professor took the time even after the hospital sent in the medical documents to prove I was in fact in the hospital and wasn’t pulling a fast one to call and check up on me. My Online Adjunct Professor called the hospital daily to check on my status and see how I was doing, to me that was above and beyond. I remember that the professor asked me to call her when I was going to take my final, and that I had 30 days to finish the exam. I didn’t wait two days. I called her and told her that this degree meant a lot to me and that I wanted to push through. I remember the professor asking me if I was sure and I was determined to get conferred.

Some don’t know my history, so let me elude you to a bit more about me. I grew up as ward of the State of Indiana, for those that don’t know what the means let me just say I was a foster care child. My parents’ rights were terminated when I was very young and I didn’t have the support network that so many seem today to take for granted. I see this through the various online media sites, on television and as a member of various online teaching pages I see it spilling over into a few sites that are just for instructors. Please don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that as an Adjunct Professor we may need to vent and talk to others to work through things. This is actually healthy, to talk about and it shows each of us that we are not alone in our quest to help the generations that are attempting to achieve the levels of success that we have achieved.

I remember the professor, after my surgeries, made herself available through both her phone and cleared her calendar for the early afternoon of both the date and time that I had requested to take my test. Looking back I am pretty sure that she might have thought I was crazy to have such a traumatic event happen and I was worried about attaining a level that I was told growing up in foster care that I would amount to nothing and I was fighting back the only way I knew how. My professor was there telephonically, my nurse whom if the pain got too much for me to handle was by my bedside ready to administer my pain meds and make me more comfortable. By this time, my 8-year-old son had come to visit me and was playing on the floor as I took my test. He would stop playing periodically to ask how daddy was feeling and go back to playing. In extreme pain, I finished the final in exactly 1 hour and 46 minutes, which I was allotted 2 hours to complete. As soon as I hit submit, the nurse assisted in pain relief and handed me the phone. While doing so she covered the receiver and informed me that my Professor sounded like she was crying on the other end saying this was a first for her, and stating that I was a very strong person. Not letting me know she was teary eyed, but still being able to hear it in her voice she told me that she was happy to inform me that I passed her class and that she was sending my grade in that minute so that I could be conferred with my classmates.

As I returned to academia six years later with the memory of my last Online Adjunct Professor, the passion to earn my Master’s degree was obvious, but not without challenges. This was due to multiple mobilizations and rehabilitation. But on December 19, 2015, I was able to graduate with Honors and cross the stage while being inducted into two Honor Societies. Surrounded by my wife, kids, and friends, as well as Professors that poured confidence into me and my education. In a way, I know that my Adjunct Online Marketing Professor from Liberty University would have been there if she could due to her influence some seven years earlier.

Prior to graduating, I was looking into being an Adjunct Professor and was looking around online, which is where I was first introduced to The Babb Group through one of my Professors. I looked into it and thought like some of us, that they were only out for money, I got this. It took me literally three weeks to search and look at all the Curriculum Vitas that are out there online. There were so many, it was overwhelming, and I honestly got to the point where I knew I needed assistance. I reached out to Sheila Fry and Shelly Baker, whom I had met through multiple venues online and asked for guidance and support. They were both awesome and knew exactly what I needed to do and whom I needed to talk with. I then met Dani Babb, and she has been awesome in not only support, but also making herself available much like we as Adjuncts do for our students, and she has surrounded herself with a team of professionals that all have the same heart. Now, I don’t know Dani too well yet, but I can tell you that her heart is for all of us Adjunct Professors and her team seems to always look out for each of us with the same passion that Dani strives to attain in every encounter that I have had with her.

This passion overflowed from Dani into Sheila Fry, whom has made it her calling to assist me in showing me what a great CV really looks like. This to me was the game changer. As I stated earlier, I wrote my version of my CV in three weeks and that was a start, but the one that Sheila Fry and I together produced shows not only what I have learned in the schoolhouse realm, but also what I have achieved through experience and things I do all the time that I didn’t know that I was able to put in my CV. Prior to working with Sheila and Shelly, my CV was like cheap boxed wine. Now for some that is fine, but I wanted to stand out, to be noticed amongst my peers. It was quickly produced and I didn’t have the time to let the wine sit and age. Just like a fine wine, my CV needed the right blend for taste, smoothness, and age. This is how I would describe my joint CV, like everything else I took ownership in not only investing, but by working with Sheila and Shelly.

To make this situation better and after doing a bit of research, I would like to confirm that the very Online Marketing Adjunct Professor from eight years ago is none other than Dani Babb. I pulled out my course syllabus late last night and found her syllabus from eight years ago. Now to have lived this full circle of what a single gesture of kindness and how she was able to light a passion to pour into the next generation of students is even more awesome for me. So from a former student of Dani Babb, I would like to give her to credit she deserves for going above and beyond. “Thank You Dani, even though we have never met face-to-face, your act of kindness and passion for your students radiates through!!”

In closing, I would recommend any Adjunct to dust off his/her CV and at least get a fresh set of eyes on it. Who knows, there might be a whole lot of things that you nor I could think to add to make us individually stand out amongst our peers. Just like I did with my CV and I do with everything that I write, I will send to a few people to proof my work so that I am putting the best quality out for the Selection Groups or the Deans to make me stand out so that my CV gets me that interview which once the interview is given the rest is for me to show the panel why it is important for them to have me on their team.

A Note to our readers from Dani:

When Daniel volunteered to write an article about online education, we had no idea that we had worked together at Liberty, where he was my student - as he explains in the article. We are publishing this with the hopes that other online professors who may feel burned out can read a story about how the individual actions you take can change the lives of your students.

Sincerely, Dani Babb