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On-line higher education degrees?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Chris Noyb, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    Has anyone here received a degree where the required studies were strictly on-line?

    If yes, what were the circumstances, and how did it work out for you?

    Many people have taken some on-line courses as part of their higher education. I'm interested in hearing about programs that were strictly on-line.

    There are many ads on TV, the Internet, and most certainly other media, for on-line degrees. IME, which I admit goes back to the early days of the internet (I actually remember correspondence courses :eek:) , most employers didn't put much stock in on-line degrees.

    I can think of only one time where my employer encouraged one employee to pursue a degree on-line. This, IMO, was a unique situation. The HR Manager (HRM) was moving up to higher position, and the logical choice to replace her was her assistant (HRAM). The problem was the company policy required a Masters degree for the HRM position. The HRAM didn't have one, and therefore couldn't be promoted despite being the best person to fill the position. The company encouraged her to pursue a Masters in any form, even an on-line degree, so that she could meet policy requirements, i.e. in this particular situation they were not concerned about the "quality" of the degree.
     
  2. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    While I don't have experience with what you're specifically asking about, I can point out that a number of accredited universities are taking on the model of online-only education. It is less expensive to staff and makes more profit overall. It has been projected that in the next 50 years in-person degrees will be outdated. Most respected online degrees combine online courses with a short on-campus residency requirement, or arrange internships for their students which will provide them with much-needed industry experience and references.
     
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  3. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Location:
    Large City, TX

    That makes sense to me.

    And I want to thank you for mentioning accredited universities. I'm sure that the quality of on-line programs varies greatly.

    Am I wrong in thinking that more and more accredited--which can be read as respected--universities are moving towards on-line courses, at least in part, for advanced degrees?
     
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  4. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member

    My experience is only anecdotal from people I've interacted with through my work, but it seems like there isn't much stigma anymore against online degrees in general. Especially advanced degrees. The issue is WHICH place you got it from. Some are notorious for churning out paper if you pay. Others are more respected as having actual education programs.
     
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  5. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Location:
    Large City, TX


    We were typing at the same time; what you were posting ties into what I was posting.

    Just-Buy-Your-Degree-On-line verses Actually-Earning-Your-Degree-On-line is a factor.

    The advancements in on-line education programs, and the acceptance of them, have indubitably changed considerably since I graduated college in '89.
     
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  6. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    I'd also like to point out that more and more colleges are feeling top-down pressure to offer more online courses. Tenured faculty at a number of schools are vehemently pushing back against this trend. They are generally paid only once to develop a course, then the school can re-use it as many times as they want with no royalties going back to the professor... if the courses require some sort of chat or video conferencing component, they may get a pittance for completing these tasks... If tenured faculty were paid more for their efforts with online courses, they might have a different tune. But in general, they feel that in-person interaction is critical to the development of a student.

    There are fields in which online degrees simply do not work. In Biology and Chemistry, for instance, lab skills include some advanced techniques that require a certain degree of muscle memory. Also, training with advanced and expensive equipment... online simulations simply do not adequately prepare someone with the expected skills.
     
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  7. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member

    I completed my Master's mostly online. We had face to face sessions once a month. With the student teaching aspect of teacher training, not having to go to class in a physical classroom multiple evenings a week was great. The difference between my degree and the 100% in person one? On paper: nothing. In practice: I saved a bunch of time and I have a Master's from a school widely perceived as the best in the state for my discipline.
     
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  8. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    If people think that kids won't learn social skills when they are homeschooled, why would college be different? I think that is the one big downside to on-line classes. I thought that the students living at home or far off campus were missing out on the real college experience as it was.

    Now, I'm sure that I would have learned just as much by taking a bunch of undergrad classes that had 50-200 people in the class on-line.

    I will say that I have never taken an on-line class for credit with homework and tests. But, I could see how in the next few decades, they could get a lot more developed and be really polished. Being able to watch the class on the computer would be easier and cheaper. I still think you would have to be near the campus to take midterms, finals and do labs though. And I could see universities setting up gatherings for people who are passionate about a subject or want to explore how it is used in the working world. Have talks held by companies or just meet other people that are also interested in whatever field you are going into. Explore different projects or research the university is doing and help with that.
     
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  9. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member

    Finding places to get tests proctored isn't difficult, and many classes require papers or projects instead of exams anyway.
     
  10. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    I think that class participation discussions, even in subjects well-suited for on-line courses, would work out better in person. For example an 80 minute class where 30 students discuss a work of literature would be better than attempting an on-line discussion.


    I can tell you for certain my (not so fond) memories of college as a commuter student are much different than those of the people I know who lived on, or very near, campus.
     
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  11. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    I took one correspondence course. It was before the day when online courses were common. It involved a series of CDs that contained video lectures, a textbook, and several scan-tron tests that had to be taken at a college (any college/university) testing centers, where I had to present my ID. It was a statistics course. It took me a year to complete. I had a very positive experience.
     
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  12. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    I'm sure some education major/grad student has studied this and written a thesis on it. It would be an interesting thing to study, because I don't really know if I would have done better with on-line classes that I could take at my own pace and schedule, compared to the in person classes. And not only from a knowledge & retention perspective, but from a friendship, fun, cost, and school-life balance perspective too. Would I have lived with my parents in my hometown while taking the classes?

    Just like there is medical research, there should be educational research to determine what is the best way to educate the most people with the highest quality education. The big schools might be biased though if they are the ones who have to approve the PhD student's work. And the student researcher might be biased if they want to get that PhD from the big school.

    I would like to know if we started all over from scratch, what method would we use now? Would getting taught on-line by the best professors in the world with CGI presentations and well thought out lessons by a team of producers and assistants beat out the sole professor and a TA in front of a classroom full of students that is typical? Is there no right answer for every student? Or are teachers worried about being replaced by famous experts with big production budgets who can record a series of courses that can be used by students across the world.
     
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  13. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member

    As someone who has spent considerable time reading educational research, I can tell you that there is a lot of conflicting research out there. In education, sample sizes are often small, which makes it hard to reach statistical conclusions. But take a look at ERIC, and you'll probably find what you're looking for.

    I've also done educational research. It's a hassle. Technically, it's experimenting on people, so there are a lot of IRB hoops to jump through.

    The problem, at least at the lower levels, is that we don't fund what works.
     
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  14. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    I would think that surveys of people and the different backgrounds (on-line vs in person, military vs parochial vs private vs public, home schooled vs charter vs public, and income level of parents) would provide some insight. The measure of success or "the best option" is debatable too. I got a job and made lots of money from -$5,000 after college, I bought a house, and I have some hobbies, but my life is also a mess, and I missed out on some things in my college/high school years that would have been good for me. I might be looking for things like number of friends and enjoyment of college that educational studies might not report.

    And then there is the randomness of being in the right place at the right time. How many choices did you and your spouse have to make to end up in the right place at the same time? If you went to a different school, would you have the same job you have now? What would be different in your life if you were able to graduate faster using on-line classes and only focus on that? Do more high school couples stay together if they don't have to spend months apart when one of them goes to college? Will there be someway to prove that on-line education is better or even equivalent to in person classes?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
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  15. This....

    I can say that the University for which I work has amazing online degree programs. I worked closely with that office before they split from our division. They do make a lot of money for the University. (They have a TEAM of marketers. My unit has me and my boss.)
     
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  16. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    I'm loving it. :cool:
    Totally practical, very flexible.
    Mine is a mostly online state university. (NOT a for profit)

    In class is the option, not the rule.
    Great rates.
    Most books and materials are free electronic versions

    They cater to the student, make it very easy for you to enroll and get classes.

    We have BOTH teachers and students located all over the world. (one of my profs taught from Zambia)
    It was originally for military, who were posted globally.
    But they've turned it into a place for working professionals.

    I can't recommend it more. (**for those comfortable learning remote)
    I wish they had this when I started years ago.
     
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  17. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    Coming back to his in the context of 2020-2021.

    I taught online only biology courses in 2018-19. It was more of a science communication course and focused on writing about biology. It was a good enough experience. There were things I intensely disliked about it. There were other things that I adored.

    I then monitored groups of virtual interns from spring 2020-spring 2021.

    Good online students and interns are rare. It shocks me how much reassurance they require without in person feedback and interaction, it is difficult for them to understand expectations.

    I do not want to teach online again. I probably will. But it's not as rewarding. It's draining in completely new ways.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there!

    I teach medical students.
    I work with them seeing patients and also do some didactic sessions.
    The in-person patient care and teaching is the best thing I do at work. I finish those sessions feeling freshly energized and positive about what I'm doing.
    The classroom sessions were always good in person, just not as good as the clinical teaching. Now the classroom stuff is online and I don't get anything out of it. I'm semi-bored, easily distracted and happy when the session ends.
    It's the same material, same excellent students, and yet the experience is not nearly as good.
     
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