Margie White, Manager Instructional Services Department Allen School’s Online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding Program
Q: What have you found to be the biggest misconception the students have about taking courses online? A: Before they begin, the students fear that there will be no interaction. You have to have good instructors. Surprisingly, students who normally would not speak out in a classroom are more open to participating online because they have the safety of the computer and they are willing to voice opinions and thoughts. In a ground classroom, you have several students who monopolize the class and the others don’t get heard. Online everybody has the opportunity to be heard. If you are bashful, or not sure that your opinion is worthy, you may not be willing to voice it in a room full of people. With online, you have time to think about it, then go in and write it and present it. Q: Have you found the “human factor” to be diminished in any way with online training?
A: I don’t think that at all. Online doesn’t decrease interaction. The discussions are “meaty” and there is real communication between the instructor and the students and between the students themselves. Also, we do ClassLive which is real time web conferencing where, with microphone and headset and speakers, people can communicate verbally in real time. For example, to use Coding to demonstrate this: The instructor gives a little lecture. Then, the instructor works on a white board putting up coding case studies and the students code them and then, they talk about how those specific codes came about. Q: Do students need to be tech-savvy to start with? A: We ask in our Admissions essay if they send email, surf the Internet, pay bills online. If so, then we know they have a level of comfort with the computer. They don’t need to be expert on the computer. Q: What are you finding to be the reasons that so many people are applying to the program? A: There are a lot of reasons why they want to come into the program. We get late bloomers, like me, who make the decision to get into a secure career, those reacting to the economy, those wishing to have second careers, those who feel they missed earlier opportunities. At the moment, the ages of our students in the online program range from nineteen to those in their sixties. Q. What are some of the areas that students can go into after this training, if not specifically in Billing and Coding? A: The ones who love Coding more than Billing might want to pursue a little more education and then work for a Cancer registry. These are databases of statistics – most states have them, hospitals, too – where they list every type of Cancer and, for example, when it started, where it started, what type of treatment was administered, etc. Researchers use these databases to determine what treatments are working for Cancer. There are also Trauma registries that keep statistics on how many motor vehicle accidents occurred and the type of injuries sustained. All of these things are codes and a number of those who study MIBC are amazed at what they can do with the training and the possibilities there are to work with researchers. Grads can also work in insurance companies doing claims review. http://online.allenschool.edu