Clarion Virtual Campus Helped Diane Appelt '12 Fit an MSLS Into Her Busy Schedule

Earning a graduate degree online was not the way Diane Appelt (’12) had planned to get her Master of Science in Library Science. It turned out to be the best decision she could have made, both personally and professionally.

“In 2010 I started the program taking on-campus classes (in Harrisburg), but it was not working for my schedule.  I needed a lot more flexibility,” Appelt said. She switched to Clarion’s virtual campus in 2011 and completed her degree in two years.

Appelt is now a reference and instructional librarian at Harrisburg Area Community College. The interview was her first for a professional library position, and she was hired.

“I carefully considered all of my educational options for a master’s degree:  Clarion’s program had everything I wanted. Others were expensive and some not accredited. I entered Clarion with confidence, because many of my co-workers had high praise for the quality and the value of the program. They said that courses offered timely information and prepared them well for their careers.”

Appelt, mother of two, and was working in her own graphic design business as she attempted to fit her studies into her busy life. 

“I had been out of school for almost 25 years (BFA ‘85, Kutztown), and I considered myself more of a classroom learner, but I was able to pick up the online process quickly,” she said. “The discussions, conferences, interaction with faculty and the other students were all incorporated into the virtual campus program.”

 “The tutorial, a week-long group of exercises that all virtual students must complete before being admitted to the virtual campus, was excellent for preparing me to work in this environment.  So much of what I used as an online student – communicating electronically, interacting with others through discussion boards, messaging – are the things that my students use, and I feel so well equipped to help them.”

Appelt enjoyed the guest speakers that instructors Karen Cook and Linda Lillard often brought in, which not only gave real-life applications to the theories, but also provided networking opportunities for speakers and students and among the students themselves.

Appelt was also impressed with the variety of classes offered online.

“The selection was excellent for targeting my studies to my particular interest, which was as a reference and teaching librarian. I was able to find courses for the digital library, teaching online, deep Web searching and instructional design,” she said.

Through the program, Appelt met people she now considers peers, with whom she has been collaborating. 

“Julie Brnik at the Hershey Public Library has done some programs with me, and I have also worked with Sarah Miller who is a trainer at the Dauphin County Library System. I still talk and Facebook with classmates from around the world.”

Appelt’s children are now in college, and she said she wants to be an example to them. 

“Learning continues your whole life.  For me, it was a challenge, but if you want to, you can make it work. I was taking advantage of any spare minute to study. If I could do it, they can do it.”

Clarion’s Master of Science in Library Science was launched in 1967, the first of its kind in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The current program, offered exclusively through the virtual campus, includes students from all over the United States, as well as many international students.


For more information

Anyone interested in finding out more about online degree or certificate programs at Clarion University can call 1-866-272-5612, option 2, or via e-mail at They can also visit the Clarion University's Online Campus.

Last Updated 3/4/20