How a Skeptical Online Learner Made UCF Digital Marketing Boot Camp Work Remotely

Prior to his classes at UCF Digital Marketing Boot Camp going online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Evan Lagerloef’s day-to-day schedule was already demanding. On a typical weekday, he might wake up at 5:30 a.m. and hit the gym before heading to his job in the marketing department at Dixon Ticonderoga — makers of the No. 2 pencils we all know and love from grade school. 

On days when he had class, Evan would typically leave work at around 5 p.m. and head to campus early, ahead of his 6 p.m. evening class so he could study, work on assignments, or chat with teachers and classmates. All in all, he had a nice routine worked out for himself. 

“I would skip going home and get to class early,” Evan said. “It was hard to go home, then get comfy, and then go out again. Mentally, it helped me to go straight from the work environment to the classroom environment.”

Adjusting to a new setup 

About three-quarters of the way through the program, circumstances forced the digital boot camp to go remote. Evan is the first to admit he thrives in social environments, so transitioning from an in-person classroom experience to remote learning was a challenge. 

His daily routine didn’t change too much. He still got up early to hit the gym, then worked from his office at Dixon Ticonderoga, before heading home and logging on to classes conducted via video. Instead of heading to the classroom early, he’d log onto the video chat about 10 minutes before class started and chat with his instructors or friends. Outside of class days, he spent 20 to 25 hours each week working on assignments or studying. 

While Evan was initially apprehensive about learning at home with all the distractions it entails, he made it work. He was living in a small apartment at the time, so he often improvised his desk setup. 

“I just had a Mac laptop for a while,” Evan said. “I actually purchased a second monitor because I like to work that way. I also purchased another keyboard so I didn’t have to reach up to type. Sometimes I work at our dining room table. I didn’t need a ton of space.”

Taking the conversation online

Although he admits he was out of his comfort zone, Evan credits his ability to make the situation work in part to the accessibility of his instructors and classmates. 

“We had a Slack channel with our classmates,” said Evan. “The in-person classes switched to video chat, but it was still pretty easy to communicate. I think very highly of my instructors as they were both extremely helpful.”

After completing the course and earning his Certificate of Completion in April, Evan says he still keeps in touch with his instructors. 

“I still have a relationship with them today,” he said. “They’ve given me plenty of information outside of this class and I know they’d be willing to help me if I needed a new job.”

Changing career tracks 

Evan initially discovered UCF Digital Marketing Boot Camp after realizing he wanted to pursue a career in digital marketing. While he loved his job at Dixon Ticonderoga, it was more of a traditional marketing role. 

“It’s the twenty-first century — everything’s online,” said Evan. “Digital marketing is also more trackable, which appeals to me because I’m very analytical.” 

Although Evan was nervous about committing to such a rigorous program, his hard work paid off. He stepped out of his comfort zone and into a more fulfilling career path

“Ever since this course, things have been going a lot better career-wise,” said Evan. “I’m going in the direction I want to go. More importantly, I learned that I was a lot more capable than I thought I was. I learned to believe in myself and my own capabilities more.” 

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