Throughout his life, Brant Thomason earned both a bachelor's, a master's degree, taught history at both the high school and college level for 16 years, and served in the Army National Guard. But in order to keep up with innovative teaching approaches and emerging technologies, Brant made the decision to return to school to earn a Master in Adult Education online from the University of Georgia.
While his previous academic experiences were all of the traditional, on-campus variety, Thomason said he knew he wouldn’t be able to take that route. “I really didn’t have a choice about doing non-traditional – I simply couldn’t go back and do it the traditional way, working where I do,” said Thomason. “There just wasn’t enough time to come to work and get back to a regular degree program anywhere.”
Although taking courses online was a new experience, Thomason derived a great deal from his program, especially in the area of class discussions. “The instructor would post assignments and discussion questions [online], and a big part of the grade in nearly all the classes was a certain amount of participation, and it had to be substantive contributions. For me, the upside of it was I had time to think before I opened my mouth, so to speak.” A particularly interesting part of his online journey was the amount of writing required. Thomason had experienced a lot of writing at his graduate program in history at Alabama, but, "[At UGA], we probably wrote twice that– I probably wrote a couple hundred pages worth of papers,” he said.
Through his research, Thomason found a topic that he hopes to conduct an extensive follow-up upon, combined with his access to military information and new insights he gained from his classes. Thomason hopes this will be helpful to members of the military. “I’ve been in and around the military for a number of years and the master’s thesis I wrote at Georgia did research into how repetitive deployments affected the education of soldiers,” he said. “I thought of trying to continue working with that topic, and working where I do, there’s access to folks who have been deployed multiple times. It’s conceivable that in a few years we could come up with some kind of program to help the military in some way with these soldiers who had been deployed repetitively and had their education interrupted.”