The Online Student Dilemma

I recently did a video (LINK HERE) where I discussed briefly a situation that has come up on more than one occasion at Full Sail University. I am a current online student with Full Sail and I felt that I needed to air some grievances I had with the lack of inclusion for online students. This post will not contain the fun colorful images I usually include in my blog posts, but it will be just me talking about things that being an online student means, things we are not included in and the answer I was given when I asked the school about this.

If you are a student currently, online or campus, or considering enrolling in Full Sail as an Online student, please continue reading.


I am currently in my 9th month of classes with Full Sail University. As I had stated in the past I enrolled as a computer animation major and am currently switching to digital cinematography. More recently there was a post on the connect board for students. (Connect is like the go to for what happenings in the school. You access groups, clubs, the library and see all sorts of events and things the school and students are doing.) On this board I happened to notice a camera man from Saturday Night Live would be coming to the school in Orlando to talk to “students”

Connect post 1 camera man

These guest speakers happen often and range from all different areas of the entertainment and media industries. They serve as good insight into working in that industry, it also gives students the opportunity to hear first-hand about the job they are currently in school to do. It’s actually a pretty good thing when you think about it.

I had instantly became interested in this event and as an online student my first task was to inquire as to whether it would be streamed or recorded for later viewing. (After I commented they edited the post to reflect that it wouldn’t be) I commented asking simply if it would be available to online students to which I get a reply of “This event is not going to be streamed.”

Comment response fso connect

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wrap my head around this. We as online students have classes, classes that have live go to sessions, in fact in my 3D foundations course I was part of the classroom as an online student. I was watching the instructors computer screen, I was seeing and hearing everything the students physically there were, and I was engaging in the class. We often attend these sessions and although they all haven’t been this inclusive we still have the ability to log into a platform whether it be Go To Training sessions, Discord, Google Hangouts or even Skype and participate in activities virtually. I was confused why some of these events were excluded from streaming. Why wouldn’t they want to allow all “students” the opportunity to attend?

I had made up my mind, after a few of these same scenarios had happened leading up to this one to call the school. I was pissed and rightfully so. Here is another example of this….

Costco the retail people that sell in bulk were having a sign-up thing happening at Full Sail…

Costvo

Naturally this prompted some comments as a membership with Costco’s would be great especially for a broke college student… So once again it was asked if it would be available for online students……

costco response

While this response wasn’t a definite no, it still stated that they thought you had to be in person… Which clues me in to the fact that these organizers are not asking these places about their online student body. It wouldn’t be much more effort to inquire if this could or would be extended to the online students as well thus having all this information to include in the post. I am rather sure that Costco’s would work with students, at least I’d hope they would, but still to not consider the online student body is wrong. And happens more often than not.

This one really upset me…. So Live Nation you know the concert people? Yea they were coming to Full Sail….

live nation concerts

This is something that I am sure a vast majority of the online students would be interested in. I know I was. This is amazing and Live Nation is all over the United States, so it does pertain to us and could be a beneficial learning experience. I quickly went to the comments as I didn’t notice anything on whether it would be streamed. When I got the comments opened this is what I saw.

livenation comments

“We tried to get an online stream but at this time are not permitted to. This is up to each company and is unfortunately not within our control”

HOLD THE PHONE!!!! So, you booked a guest speaker to come to a COLLEGE to talk to COLLEGE STUDENTS about this company and it isn’t being extended to the ENTIRE STUDENT BODY? Did they fail to inform Live Nation that they were also an ONLINE school and that a large amount of the overall STUDENT BODY is ONLINE thus it would require streaming for those students who cannot physically be there? Or was that too much work to say all that? What would she have backed out? GOOD!!!! Honestly if you are a guest speaker invited to a college to talk to the students who pay tuition to attend said college you should be okay with talking to ALL the students that pay to attend that college. AND if you are a college booking said guest speaker and they state they don’t want it to live streamed for the entire student body then you CANCLE it immediately…. Don’t exclude students paying tuition because a company doesn’t want to include them…. I just don’t understand this… What is the mindset at this school?

I will tell you what it is….

THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US ONLINE STUDENTS!!!!!!!

Sad reality to accept. I often feel like an after thought for this school. I value my education, I value the time I spend and the money I am spending to be there, and I want to feel like part of the school. I want to take pride in the school I attend, I want to have good things to say not just “Well this happened…. Again” I shouldn’t be making posts like this because frankly this sort of thing shouldn’t be happening.

When I inquired at the school as to why we online students were excluded from some things they do I was told that I made the choice to be online. Yea because I opted to be online and not attend on campus it’s my fault I can’t take advantage of the opportunities given to those students.

What kind of horseradish is this? I pay the same amount of money to attend that school. I should be afforded the same opportunities as every other student. I understand there are on campus things that are impossible to extend to me and I am not talking about that because yes, in that case I am online, and it isn’t feasible to expect the school to ship me a virtual reality lab or a movie set to use… I GET THAT!!!! But a school, a MEDIA school, that has ONLINE CLASSES, that STRESSES NETWORKING, that offers VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS FOR ONLINE STUDENTS, should under no circumstances EXCLUDE any students interested in guest speakers or events that can be streamed. They should make every attempt to make these available to ALL students regardless and if they can’t, because the talent or company says no to streaming, THEN DON’T BOOK THEM!!!!!!! Don’t work with them…… They work with all the students paying to be here or NONE! Simple…. Will Full Sail adopt this philosophy? Will they start caring more about the online student body? Will they lower our tuition because we can’t take advantage of opportunities to expand our learning experience?

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No because we are a number and a huge lump sum of money they get. As long as we keep paying they don’t care. It’s the mentality of “Well you can move to Florida attend on campus” or “You can opt to not attend at all if you don’t like it” Let’s break that down shall we? I am not in the greatest financial situation. I mean I ain’t starving but I live paycheck to barely paycheck. I am raising a 16-year-old son and I am 41 years old myself. I don’t think financially it makes sense to move to a state that I really don’t want to live in (AGAIN) for school. I also don’t think it’s feasible to up root my son from his friends and further compromise his education because the school I am paying thousands of dollars to attend won’t grow a damn backbone and tell talent they book that they are streaming, or this isn’t happening…. And yes, I could drop out and not pursue a degree in digital cinematography, I could seek out another online college that is less expensive and offers a similar course but treats the online students far better (They exist… SNHU is one of them) and who’s to say I haven’t been exploring this option? (Believe me I have) I think the answer of  “I made the choice to be online” is correct but a cop out.

My reply:

Dear Full Sail University,

At the time of my phone conversation with a student liaison inquiring about why students online were excluded from attending guest speakers and other things offered to students, I was informed I had to understand I made the choice to be online. I am not satisfied by this answer as it doesn’t address the issue at hand. I made the choice to attend a school that offered online classes and to which my understanding was I was revered as part of that school, when I graduate I would be considered alumni, while in attendance as a tuition paying student I would be treated equally to those who are on campus as we all pay the same amount to attend and I am being told this isn’t the case by this answer. This answer simply states that because I chose to attend online I wouldn’t be treated equally, and I wouldn’t have the same opportunities as the campus students and that while I pay the same amount you don’t care that this bothers me or any other online student. These things are not how a college should operate. If we online students don’t get the opportunities extended to us that can be, and by that I mean guest speakers all should be streamed and recorded regardless for those interested…. All clubs should be extended to online as well because there are a few that are campus exclusive… Then lower the price of tuition for online students….

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Pissed Off Online Student!

Have you personally encountered situations as an online student that have left you feeling left out? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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