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This summer, he interned on Starbucks’ Retail Communications & Partner Engagement team in Seattle, and is planning on graduating from ASU this August.Overall, he says that his experience at ASU has been positive.Before joining SCAP, he took classes in person at San Diego State University, but he said he’s had a more rewarding experience through the College Achievement Plan.“I actually got more out of my online classes—I would say coding is one of the most interactive and self-gratifying programs at ASU,” he shared.“They are typically very in contact with you if you choose to be in contact with them,” she explained.“I think professors help a lot.” Keohokapu pointed out that most professors have multiple ways to contact them, including online chat rooms.“I’ve had some really good discussions with people from the philosophy club online,” she said.“That’s been a way to connect about academics.” Banks has used a wide range of tools to connect with classmates—she said she found a study partner through one of her class’s discussion boards, and even organized a “Secret Santa” school supply exchange on Workplace.

“You can Skype with them, talk with them on the phone, talk to them on Facebook–there’s all sorts of ways to connect.” Banks, who is working on an interdisciplinary studies degree with concentrations in psychology and sociology, was even able to participate in ASU’s philosophy club, which recently began engaging with online students.“I’ve had a very rewarding experience at Arizona State,” he said.Seattle retail partner Christine Keohokapu, 23, didn’t ever attend an in-person university—her first college credits were obtained through Starbucks and ASU’s Pathway to Admission program.“So many of my GIT classes have been very applied and hands-on,” said the barista from Illinois.“I’ve been working with graphic software since I started at Arizona State.” One project that sticks out to Collins involved redesigning a website.But she learned that just because you don’t meet in a classroom doesn’t mean online professors aren’t there to help.“I’ve never had a professor go longer than a day without answering my emails,” she said.As new enrollees in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan gear up for fall classes, we spoke to seven of the 7,500 partners participating in ASU’s online degree program to bust some frequent myths associated with online education.Online courses are not “easy A’s,” said Steinmetz, a Starbucks barista and shift supervisor from San Diego.“We actually had to go out and conduct guerrilla user testing, so we would actually sit people down and have them run through a mockup,” he said.Collins did similar research for his senior project.

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