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Nur Kanaan

Degree pursued: 
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

Take a moment to introduce yourself – what you do/where you live/family/how long have you been working, etc.?

It’s a bit complicated, but I’m an American citizen who was born and, for the most part, raised in Saudi Arabia. I’ve also lived in the USA, UAE and Canada. Canada is technically my home-base, but my spouse is a Canadian Diplomat so our lives now involve a lot of moving around. We are currently posted to Bangalore, India where we have been since the summer of 2014. Prior to our move, I worked for Citizenship and Immigration Canada for nine years. Since being in India, I have completed my basic yoga teacher’s certificate and I am now working towards my advanced certificate.

What made you decide to pursue online learning?

Due to unforeseen family circumstances, I was unable to complete my undergraduate studies after graduating from high school. Not having attained my Bachelor’s degree had always been a burden on me, and it was something I always wanted to achieve. Since I was not going to be working while abroad, my spouse and I agreed that it would be the best time for me to continue my education. My spouse is my biggest supporter. He believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my degree through Queen’s University.

How did you find your first online course/learning experience?

After being away from school for around 10 years it was difficult to get back into a study routine. The first online course was challenging. I was juggling school work, packing our house, and making a major international move from Canada. I felt overwhelmed and wondered if I had made the right decision of going back to school.

A few weeks into my move, I settled myself in and focused entirely on my studies. Exploring the Queen’s online platform, I discovered that online learning is a very versatile learning environment. Being part of a collaborative online course, I discovered that I was not the only mature student in the course, nor was I the only one with other responsibilities. Some of my classmates were mature students, parents, living abroad, and/or working.

Although my first university course at Queen’s was challenging, I managed to take the journey as a learning experience. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue my degree in a flexible way.

How did you find the experience using technology to accesses classes?

Easier than expected! Queen’s online courses offer a wide variety of material and resources that can be accessible at any time or anywhere with access to the internet. For example, the Queen’s University dashboard system, Moodle [now onQ], allows the students to access their course material, notes, instructions, syllabus, lectures, and discussions all with a click of a button. Online learning also encourages students to participate in activities, interact in group discussions, and manage time effectively, as well as providing interaction with students, TAs, and professors. Queen’s online collaboration and interaction made me feel more at ease and allowed me to reach out to my professors, TAs, and fellow classmates.

What advice would you give to someone starting an online degree?

Reach out and make your presence known. The more interaction you make, the more you will make the online experience feel like a classroom, and the more support you will have.