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Course Stories, Season 4, Episode 5: ASU 101: The ASU Experience - Setting Our Online Sun Devils Up for Success

Starting your academic career as a new online student can be daunting. Our latest episode unpacks these challenges and how to support students by meeting them where they’re at. Join us as Maria Balderas and Maddie Christus share how they’re changing the student new student experiences for our online students. 

Marie and Maddie help us explore a unique course, ASU 101: The ASU experience, which going beyond the typical student orientation. We unpack how this course is designed to be more of a constant companion for students, guiding them from their first class to graduation, designed to equip students with the essential skills for navigating the online academic realm. We hear how Maddie, the ID/instructor/graphic designer/what can’t she do for these courses, partners with advisors and faculty in various programs to ensure we’re tailoring experiences to specific program needs to ensure students are well-prepared for success. Hear about this and the exciting ways you can take student success to the next level with a specialized experience course for your students!  It’s an exciting journey into the future of online education, and if you’re ready to craft your own personalized ASU Experience course, contact Maria at

In this Episode:

Maria wearing a blue shirt

Maria Balderas

Academic and Success Retention Specialist

Maria Balderas is an Academic Success and Retention Specialist in the Learning Initiatives Team at EdPlus. In this role, she supports Engineering student support staff and faculty in enhancing the online student experience from the first-year through graduation. She also leads the ASU 101 and First-Year Experience project for all ASU Online programs. She is passionate about helping learners find support and belonging at ASU, particularly first generation students. She is dedicated to building inclusion and equitable educational experiences for all ASU Online learners and their diverse needs.

Madeline Christus

Instruction and Student Success Specialist

Maddie is an Instruction and Student Success Specialist with the Learning Initiatives Team in EdPlus She manages the ASU 101 courses for ASU Online learners and teaches ASU 101 each session. She is passionate about empowering students to gain essential skills needed for their future career. She enjoys helping students shape their career paths, develop their skills, and enjoys creating new learning opportunities for students to grow. Maddie’s goal is to maximize the ASU 101 experience to ensure all students are well-equipped for their time at ASU and future careers.

Your Hosts

Ricardo Leon smiling
Ricardo Leon is a Media Developer for EdPlus and is a co-creator and co-host of Course Stories. He has developed a number of other podcasts and various other forms of instructional media. In 2021, Ricardo was on a team that received The President’s Award, which formally recognizes successful solutions in innovation, for his work on the Study Hall project with Crash Course.
Mary is wearing glasses, smiling, has short brown hair
Mary Loder is an instructional designer at EdPlus and is the Online Learning Manager - Professional Development and Training on the Instructional Design and New Media team at EdPlus. She is also the co-creator and co-host for Course Stories, a podcast highlighting and showcasing the talents of our faculty and staff at ASU.

Your Producer

Elizabeth Blythe-Lee, a Senior Instructional Designer at ASU Online - EdPlus, is the creative force behind Course Stories. An ASU alumna with a BA in English Literature and a Masters of Education from NAU, Elizabeth has been a part of the ASU community since 2009. Her expertise in crafting accessible online courses is enhanced by her passion for storytelling and a unique flair for adding a touch of Disney magic to her work. A history and literature enthusiast, Elizabeth's background in writing shines through in every course narrative, making learning an enchanting journey.

Resources from this Episode

Additional Links for your enjoyment and exploration into a deeper understanding of this Course Story.

Access our ASU 101 Instructor Support Google Site for an inside look into the course structure and best practices!

Looking to get your own customized ASU Experience course? Reach out to the dynamic duo by emailing Maria at 

Course Stories is produced by EdPlus out of Arizona State University.

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Are you an ASU Online instructor? Do you have a Course Story to tell? 
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