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NC eLearning Success Stories

Nancy Long

Nancy Long

Stay-at-home mom

Location: Granville County
Degree / Program: Computer Information Technology

Nancy Long, a Granville County resident, had been out of the workplace for 20 years, when the loss of her husband’s job prompted her to enter the Computer Information Technology program at Vance-Granville Community College.  “I had been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years,” Nancy said.  Before her first child was born, she worked in the Laboratory at WakeMed.  “Twenty years is a long time to be out of the lab.  When I went back I wanted a change.  Computers seemed like a good field.  Technology is always changing and almost all of us use computers.”

Nancy chose to pursue her education through online classes because her priority has been home-schooling her four children.  At 16, her oldest child enrolled in the dual enrollment program at Vance-Granville. “By the time she graduated from high school, she had almost finished two years of college,” Nancy said.  This, coupled with the desire to help with family finances, led her to enroll at VGCC.
“I’m learning a lot,” she said.  “I’ve been able to apply what I’m learning to my children’s education.”  She noted that the spreadsheet application has helped her with recording her children’s grades.  She also strengthened her home computer network, using the concepts that she learned in the network security course.  Nancy believes that the example she is setting for her children will help them achieve their educational goals.  “I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Vance-Granville,” she said.  “It has enhanced my personal life, my future goals and my job opportunities.”  Nancy is not sure what her ‘dream job’ might be.  She is taking the time to enjoy learning and is open to many different possible careers.  “I’m trying to see what I really have an affinity for and what I love,” she said.

As with many home-schooled families, Nancy and her children really do not have a typical day.  Their course work is delivered by various means.  Some courses are taught on CD, others are taught by Nancy, and still others are taken through outside sources.  Her son is active in a home-school football league and her daughters compete in horseback riding.  Nancy makes sure that their education is enhanced with the arts and other extra-curricular activities.  Because of the demands home-schooling places on her, Nancy stresses that online learning is the only way that she would be able to pursue an education.  “If I couldn’t do it online, I couldn’t do it,” she said.

Nancy believes that online distance education courses only work if students are engaged and motivated. “It depends on your learning style and it helps if you’re a self-starter.  Motivation is really the key,” she said with a mix of determination and conviction.  “I can work at three a.m.  I can do this in Ottawa!” she said. “For the motivated learner, this saves so much time.”