Learning online: building confidence through virtual interactions, the new global norm

After completing her BSc, Sharona Bookbinder found her real passion in the field of art therapy. She completed her graduate diploma and practiced Art Therapy for 20-years both in a hospital and in her own company before deciding it was time to upgrade her education.

Sharona had many things to consider when deciding on the best school and the best program to compliment her experience and further her learning:

“As a mother of 3-teenage boys, working full-time at a hospital and running my own company providing the same therapeutic services, I needed something that was flexible enough to fit into the few free hours I had. Distance learning was attractive and seemed to be the only option that fit. Once I decided on an MBA, at that time, the University of Fredericton (UFred) was the only 100% online program, and I applied right away.”

In addition to providing a suitable coursework load for a very busy student, UFred’s online MBA was also compatible with Sharona’s needs in various other ways, “UFred had more flexibility and was so much more affordable for my stretched budget. The class sizes, the synchronous once-a-week classes, and the supportive team were all elements that drew me in,” she said.


At first, online learning proved challenging, but eventually revealed itself as a beneficial and experiential part of the instruction for Sharona:

“Although quite intense, mastering the online forum was an education in and of itself! I feel so much more confident in online interactions, especially understanding that I lead a virtual team and must foster them in unique ways, “she said. “I really appreciated that each course had some group work, which kept me connected to my classmates, even creating some lasting bonds.”

Sharona thoughtfully chose her MBA specialty stream:

“As much as I am ensconced in a non-profit industry, I chose Innovation Leadership because it seemed to offer the broadest range of knowledge for all kinds of business. I had the option of stepping into the profit industry even if I had social impact in mind.”

She is already reaping the benefits of her UFred MBA:

“This program has broadened my knowledge and vocabulary; seeing the macro perspective often at work and understanding organizational directives. It has benefited my personal business by refining my leadership, streamlining my processes, organizing my human resource as well as appreciating and support my human capital.”

Sharona found it liberating and even helpful to her learning style to study in the comforts of home, “I really loved going to class in my pajamas and felt so comfortable at home while freeing my mind to learn.”