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Online schooling -- yay or nay?

spirilis

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Anyone here have experience with online schools, ie colleges? I am considering beginning a bachelor's degree program soon and I believe online schooling is my best option for the time management aspects--I work a full time job which I intend to keep, plus I drive a fairly long distance to/fro my home every day, and while I am not discounting the idea of nightschool, I think an online program would fit my schedule (and lifestyle) a bit better.

Pros:
Attendance from home, or work (ie staying late after-hours)
Easy access to notes and lectures, in digital formats
Ability to attend schools far away, which may have programs I cannot find around home/work

Cons:
Less interaction with professors and students, although from what I understand this can vary a lot depending on the format of the online class
Possibly more expensive due to extra fees charged for the online option, plus extra software/hardware required to purchase (rather than using the school's labs)
It, well, probably doesn't "feel" like going to a regular college. No participation in the campus culture.

How about you? Anyone here take classes online, either supplemental to a brick-and-mortar bound college program or exclusively online? What did you think about it? Did you like it, was there anything you really despised about it, would you ever recommend it to a friend?
 

millerm277

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A major con that you need to consider is that many employers aren't taking online degrees seriously, even though they're accredited.
 

spirilis

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Yeah, that is a pretty huge con. A little reading up (google searching) revealed a common opinion that most people don't take online degrees seriously, unless they came from a college or university that has a fairly well-known brick-and-mortar presence. Also, regional accreditation seems to be "generally" preferred over national accreditation, so I'd guess the safest bet, if I had to do it online, would be a regionally accredited school with a large physical campus with an online program.

example posts I read:
Get an Online Degree Employers Take Seriously
Are online degrees taken seriously?? | San Francisco | Yelp
Do you think that employers take applicants with "online" degrees as seriously as those with traditional ones? - Yahoo! Answers

The credibility problem with online degrees seems to be pretty big, but I got the impression from those posts that people are coming around, and I could only imagine that will get better (ie online courses will be taken more seriously in the future). Still, it sounds like a "gamble" right now.
 

millerm277

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Yeah, that is a pretty huge con. A little reading up (google searching) revealed a common opinion that most people don't take online degrees seriously, unless they came from a college or university that has a fairly well-known brick-and-mortar presence. Also, regional accreditation seems to be "generally" preferred over national accreditation, so I'd guess the safest bet, if I had to do it online, would be a regionally accredited school with a large physical campus with an online program.

That's my understanding as well, I'd avoid places like University of Phoenix.

A quick search shows a bunch of "better" colleges offering at least some online-only programs. Another option also might be to take some classes online, and finish your last few classes in person at a "real" college. (Make sure credits will transfer first). You'll get to take most of it how you want, and still get the same degree as those who went the traditional way.
 

pure_mercury

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Yeah, that is a pretty huge con. A little reading up (google searching) revealed a common opinion that most people don't take online degrees seriously, unless they came from a college or university that has a fairly well-known brick-and-mortar presence. Also, regional accreditation seems to be "generally" preferred over national accreditation, so I'd guess the safest bet, if I had to do it online, would be a regionally accredited school with a large physical campus with an online program.

example posts I read:
Get an Online Degree Employers Take Seriously
Are online degrees taken seriously?? | San Francisco | Yelp
Do you think that employers take applicants with "online" degrees as seriously as those with traditional ones? - Yahoo! Answers

The credibility problem with online degrees seems to be pretty big, but I got the impression from those posts that people are coming around, and I could only imagine that will get better (ie online courses will be taken more seriously in the future). Still, it sounds like a "gamble" right now.

I still plan on getting my MBA from Cal State-Dominguez Hills in a few years, since that is (obviously) a brick-and-mortar state university. That particular campus has something like 2/3rds online students, but I could drive there from my future apartment, if I had to for some reason.
 

ygolo

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Pros:
Attendance from home, or work (ie staying late after-hours)
Easy access to notes and lectures, in digital formats
Ability to attend schools far away, which may have programs I cannot find around home/work

These are huge Pros. I am now almost two weeks behind in lectures (had a major deadline at work this week), but can catch-up in 4-hours on a weekend.

I have been doing this for 5-years, and the technology has really advanced. Initially, it ws hard to see what professors are pointing to, and the streaming was often too chopy to make sense of things when presenters said think like, "if you see here and here..."

In the past couple of years, absolutely no professor who teaches a streaming class does board-work (a major complaint of mine in the early years). All notes are posted ahead of time, and you can actually read the notes before watching the lecture, and follow along.

The school I go to, for a couple of years now, has a way to bookmark exact times in the lecture to take notes on. Then you can go back and review that portion of the lecture if you want.

In addition, you can fast-forward, rewind, and even view/listen at near double-speed with near complete comprehension.

Cons:
Less interaction with professors and students, although from what I understand this can vary a lot depending on the format of the online class
Possibly more expensive due to extra fees charged for the online option, plus extra software/hardware required to purchase (rather than using the school's labs)
It, well, probably doesn't "feel" like going to a regular college. No participation in the campus culture.

There is a lot less interaction with professors and students, but this is getting a lot better. Most of the classes I've taken lately have been heavily group-project oriented. There are conference centers, VNC, Subversion, and various other things that make remote collaboration easier.

It is also the general trend towards collaborative work in the world; we just have to get used to it.

Also, if you go to a good shool, you get an opportunity to work with th best and brightest from around the world. I have met several people I would definitely call geniuses in the fields of computer science and electrical engineering.

The biggest drawback is the lack of interaction with the professor. I rarely ever get the professor on the phone. E-mail is OK, but the response time is slow.

Also, the time it takes to get grades before tests is often not timely. This is another thing that has gotten steadily better. Many classes post solutions to HWs, even if they don't grade it, the day after it is due.

It won't feel like regular school, but I believe this is the biggest disruptive force in the education market. The big-name schools are getting on board.

Stanford and Arizona State Unversity have the most reputable online programs I know of. They give you the same degree as the ones attending class full-time, and you are taking the same classes and graded along side the full-time, on-campus students.
 

spirilis

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These are huge Pros. I am now almost two weeks behind in lectures (had a major deadline at work this week), but can catch-up in 4-hours on a weekend.

I have been doing this for 5-years, and the technology has really advanced. Initially, it ws hard to see what professors are pointing to, and the streaming was often too chopy to make sense of things when presenters said think like, "if you see here and here..."

In the past couple of years, absolutely no professor who teaches a streaming class does board-work (a major complaint of mine in the early years). All notes are posted ahead of time, and you can actually read the notes before watching the lecture, and follow along.

The school I go to, for a couple of years now, has a way to bookmark exact times in the lecture to take notes on. Then you can go back and review that portion of the lecture if you want.

In addition, you can fast-forward, rewind, and even view/listen at near double-speed with near complete comprehension.



There is a lot less interaction with professors and students, but this is getting a lot better. Most of the classes I've taken lately have been heavily group-project oriented. There are conference centers, VNC, Subversion, and various other things that make remote collaboration easier.

It is also the general trend towards collaborative work in the world; we just have to get used to it.

Also, if you go to a good shool, you get an opportunity to work with th best and brightest from around the world. I have met several people I would definitely call geniuses in the fields of computer science and electrical engineering.

The biggest drawback is the lack of interaction with the professor. I rarely ever get the professor on the phone. E-mail is OK, but the response time is slow.

Also, the time it takes to get grades before tests is often not timely. This is another thing that has gotten steadily better. Many classes post solutions to HWs, even if they don't grade it, the day after it is due.

It won't feel like regular school, but I believe this is the biggest disruptive force in the education market. The big-name schools are getting on board.

Stanford and Arizona State Unversity have the most reputable online programs I know of. They give you the same degree as the ones attending class full-time, and you are taking the same classes and graded along side the full-time, on-campus students.
Thanks!! This is very helpful.
 

spirilis

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I still plan on getting my MBA from Cal State-Dominguez Hills in a few years, since that is (obviously) a brick-and-mortar state university. That particular campus has something like 2/3rds online students, but I could drive there from my future apartment, if I had to for some reason.

That's awesome. I did notice in some of my readings that online *MBA* programs are particularly popular among all online degrees.
 

Lateralus

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That's my understanding as well, I'd avoid places like University of Phoenix.

A quick search shows a bunch of "better" colleges offering at least some online-only programs. Another option also might be to take some classes online, and finish your last few classes in person at a "real" college. (Make sure credits will transfer first). You'll get to take most of it how you want, and still get the same degree as those who went the traditional way.
What's sad is that the quality of education is no better, and often worse, than at schools like the University of Phoenix.
 

karenk

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I took an online class at a private art university for free since I worked there. Otherwise it would have been really expensive. So the teacher disappeared for a month during a 2 month summer course. Everyone else just kept quiet about it I guess appreciating how easy it was. It was REALLY frustrating and I eventually told admin and they took a while to track her down. So I guess sometimes even the teachers, college admin don't take the online classes seriously.
 

spirilis

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I took an online class at a private art university for free since I worked there. Otherwise it would have been really expensive. So the teacher disappeared for a month during a 2 month summer course. Everyone else just kept quiet about it I guess appreciating how easy it was. It was REALLY frustrating and I eventually told admin and they took a while to track her down. So I guess sometimes even the teachers, college admin don't take the online classes seriously.

LOL, that is disturbing!
 

Jae Rae

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Very interesting posts.

I'm starting an online MLIS program at San Jose State, well-accredited, with students from all over the world. I'm getting used to the idea of learning through Elluminate, Blackboard, etc. There are some hybrid courses, but not many, and the core class with which I'm starting isn't offered as hybrid. At least there's an on-campus Orientation. There's also a mandatory Intro course called Online Social Networking. Probably have a leg up there...

A few classes are offered at UCB; I look forward to taking some courses there in the traditional format.

Last night I had the dream familiar to many students - there's a test for which I hadn't studied, I arrived very late, had no pencil, couldn't find my seat, etc. Anxious? Who, me?
 
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