The Live Online Learning Experience at NSS

Mar 30, 2022
Jessica Grande

Not Your Average Online Class

When you hear the words “online learning” it’s easy to think of the typical, asynchronous setting that doesn’t allow for any meaningful interactions with your instructors, classmates, or even the learning material‌! Well, here at NSS, our live online learning experience is anything but typical! With our synchronous and hands-on learning environment, students get real-time interactions with their instructors and classmates while still having all the perks of remote learning. 

Making Learning More Accessible Than Ever Before

Since moving NSS’s learning experience online in 2020, gaining new skills to launch a tech career has never been more accessible! For starters, students no longer have to live within commuting distance to attend NSS. Students are now able to attend from all across Tennessee and beyond without having to move to Nashville. 

We have several students who could only do the program as a remote class either due to location or work schedules not really allowing them to travel to the building.”

-  Michael Holloway, Lead Instructor, Data Programs 

Live online learning with NSS is also more accessible for students with kids, making it easier to maintain daily routines and make more time for what matters most while pursuing a career in tech. 

 We even see times where partnering parents hand a baby over for a few minutes and planned breaks around kissing kids goodnight, etc.”

- Lynn Samuelson, Part-time Web Development Instructor  

“As a single parent, I know the benefit of being home with your child even if they are not the focus of your attention,” full-time data analytics instructor Chris Wright adds. “It also allows moments of interaction which would be unavailable with in-person learning. A simple, ‘Hello’, when they get home from school, or a brief snack break together, is more meaningful than most can realize.” Chris has not only seen it first hand from his own experience, but also from the conversations he’s had with his own students. “It is possible to be a parent and complete in-person education, but I feel we should be dismantling obstacles to education wherever possible” 

In addition to being more accessible, remote learning is helping students create a better work-life balance, which is important during an intensive program like an NSS bootcamp.

Establish A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Juggling school, work, and family is a challenge many of our students face. Live online classes allow them to practice setting healthy boundaries when working from home and use their commute time for family or other obligations. Christina Ashworth shares that remote learning allowed her to continue school and care for her grandfather as his health was declining.

I’ve seen many students who have a much better work-life balance (spending time with kids during lunch, taking the dog out during breaks, etc.)”

- Christina Ashworth, Full-time Web Development Junior Instructor & Alumna. 

Online, But Not Alone

One concern we hear from prospective students who are not sure if remote learning is right for them is that they won’t get enough support from their instructors and that they will feel isolated at home. Emily Hartzell, an alumna of Web Development Cohort 42, shares about her own online bootcamp experience at NSS: “There is a support system. I think that might be the #1 concern with how isolating it might [feel], and I think it’s only isolating if you make it. I know I had to step out of my comfort zone a few times just to be the first person to reach out to people, but everyone was more than willing to respond, always encouraging, always had a good experience talking with alumni or my other classmates who are going through the same thing you’re going through.”   

“Instructors and students have more direct access to each other during the day in the remote environment,” shares Josh Barton, full-time web development instructor. “As much as we like to think that ‘just walking over to someone’ is easier, the instruction team can more efficiently interact with all students, especially when they are working in groups or alone.” 

Classroom Collaboration Made Easy

Our synchronous online classroom makes collaboration easy! Instructors and teaching assistants are on the video calls, via Zoom, with you during every class session to make sure you have everything you need to succeed in individual work and team projects. 

Breakout rooms in our Zoom classroom provide a great way to speak with individual students, or small groups, with privacy, all while minimizing disruption to the class. “Fast paced learning can be stressful,” Chris Wright shares. “Sometimes an individual just wants to hear they are doing well and are keeping pace. I have had many of these conversations, during which students are honest and vulnerable. This connection and support is much easier to achieve in a breakout room than in front of a classroom.” 

Students can more easily collaborate in groups. It's easy to ‘mob code’ something when that means sharing a screen in a breakout room rather than crowding around a screen. Letting a student present their code to the rest of the class is more natural.”

- Joshua Barton, Full-time Web Development Instructor

Additionally, the cohort and NSS staff stay connected through Slack, a business communication platform. Zoom and Slack not only enhance the remote classroom experience, but prepare students in the video conferencing and message tools used in many remote jobs.

Prepares You For Remote Work After Bootcamp

“I am glad my course was virtual. I feel like I have the skills to operate at a valuable level remotely and would not have been as comfortable as I am without my time with Nashville Software School being a remote environment.” - Samantha Sitarek, Data Analytics Alumna. 

From collaborating virtually on group projects to presenting capstone projects to peers and employers in remote meetings, students who graduate from an online bootcamp at NSS enter the workforce with the skills required to land remote jobs. And while NSS has over 400+ employer connections in the Middle Tennessee area, job searches for junior tech talent are no longer restricted to employers in the Nashville area thanks to the growth of remote work accelerating across the tech industry. 

Mallory Blake shares that her first job after graduating from the Full-time Data Analytics bootcamp was with a team on a hybrid schedule with three days a week in the office and two days a week working remotely. "Remote learning through NSS helped me practice how to collaborate online in a technical environment,” she states. “When I started my job, I was already in the habit of screen sharing frequently, and had gotten a good sense of when it was time to hop on a quick call instead of continuing to collaborate over chat."

[Online learning at NSS] is a chance for [students] to learn vital skills that we will need in the workplace. Remote work and collaboration requires an immense amount of communication, trust, and autonomy. NSS [online] students graduate with the ability to communicate effectively in any type of situation and will have so many additional tools and skills for working with teams in any setting.”

- Audrey Borgra, Web Development Alumna. 

And while classes are online, that doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance to see your classmates in person. Many of our local students organize gatherings outside of class to connect. And for those not living in or moving to Nashville, it’s a pretty great place to visit, especially after you have your new job in tech!

Do you have questions about our live online learning experience? Connect with us and we’ll be happy to answer your questions! 

Topics: Learning, Analytics + Data Science, Web Development, Software Engineering