The international students starting their college careers in 2020 are pioneers. From campus shutdowns to increased visa restrictions, every step of the student journey has been a challenge — and an opportunity to try something new. Through the University of Dayton’s innovative digital classroom experience, many students continue to chart a path forward. UDayton Live — the university’s live-to-device virtual classroom — is redefining access to education for students like Praneeth, who is pursuing a master’s degree in engineering management from India.
“My dream is to start my career with a decent job in my field,” said Praneeth. “There were many options when I got my undergraduate degree, but ... I’m particular.”
Praneeth looked for employment in the automotive industry after earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, but it was not easy to find the right job. Instead, he started working at his uncle’s technology firm to gain experience. He used the time to consider his next step.
“While I was working with my uncle,” Praneeth said, “I had the idea to pursue a master’s degree related to management, especially engineering management.”
Praneeth spent the next six months reviewing every detail of various engineering management programs worldwide. With a mechanical engineering undergraduate degree and some real-world work experience, Praneeth had a very good idea of what he was looking for in a program.
“I had done a lot of research into which colleges offer the detailed course I required related to management,” said Praneeth. “I had [examined] the course curriculum and subjects offered through Dayton’s engineering management program. I saw courses on Six Sigma and project management — I know these are very valuable subjects for my career. So that put Dayton on my radar.”
Dayton has one of the best graduate engineering programs in the United States — ranked 46th by U.S. News & World Report. Dayton is also affordable, offering exceptional academic quality for a reasonable price, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, which named Dayton a “best value” university. Currently, with UDayton Live, students can pursue graduate degrees in computer science and engineering management through the live-to-device platform.
UDayton Live is not just another online program with recorded lectures and class communication limited to message boards and forums: Students interact with award-winning professors in real time. They form small groups and complete collaborative projects through the platform. Classes are challenging, and the technology keeps pace with the rigorous course load. Despite living all over the globe, students work together with ease. Praneeth enjoys collaborative projects and was excited to meet other students for the first time in September.
“I took [the] initiative to collect the numbers of my classmates,” said Praneeth. “For the students [who] are interested, we set up a regular video conference meeting where we all can gather. [We] share our screens to study and work together. It’s fun and convenient.”
Now that classes are more than half completed, Praneeth has a lot of experience using UDayton Live. He has listened to lectures from world-class instructors, and he’s shared his ideas with his classmates in small-group sessions. He has completed projects and delivered presentations in real time to classmates in every corner of the globe.
“One or two times we had connectivity issues while attending organizational behavior class, but the tech team took the initiative and resolved the problem super fast; it was just one of those glitches that happen sometimes,” said Praneeth.
UDayton Live is a very great platform and the interface we are using to submit assignments is easy to understand. I really enjoy it.”—Praneeth, UDayton Live student, India
Students who participate in the UDayton Live program start their master’s degree before transitioning to campus. Students can enroll in classes from home with no study delays or interruptions, earn credits, and get a head start before arriving in the US. Students can also take advantage of advisors and academic services, including ESL help and career guidance.
“Ms. Killie, my UDayton Live advisor, has helped me [decide] which subjects I should pick for my next semester and [to] make a plan for my studies,” said Praneeth. “That’s been really great.”
Students at UDayton Live can choose between two paths to a degree. Through the Master’s Degree Program, students take the first two semesters of graduate school from home, then transition to campus to finish their education. Through the Flexible Master’s Degree Program, students can start during their final year of undergraduate studies.
While studying through this live-to-device program, students are eligible for remote internships, and, after they arrive in the United States, they qualify for Optional Practical Training (OPT) work opportunities. They also save money on room and board costs, and save time by starting remotely.
If most students are like Praneeth, they can’t wait to make it to Dayton to finish their studies on campus.
“It’s really a very convenient method to learn, considering this pandemic situation, but I can’t wait to come on campus and study in person at Dayton,” said Praneeth. “I know if I receive a competitive master’s [degree] from the University of Dayton, I will get a job doing something I will enjoy.”
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