Getting a college degree online; thoughts?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by kfordham281, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. kfordham281 macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    Has anyone received or are taking classes towards a degree that's based online? I'm thinking about going back to get a masters and I'm curious if anyone here has any experience with online degree programs. Not the programs where you pay $500 and they ship you a diploma, but a program by an accredited and established school.

    I've never taken classes strictly online so I'm curious about the experience. Going to classes in a room is pretty good motivation to keep up. Does the online only aspect make the motivation harder? What is a typical semester like? What software is used? Are the lectures in audio, video, text? If you have any experience with online schooling can you please share it here? What did you like and dislike?

    Thanks for sharing!
  2. Aea macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    I can't tell you anything about schools since I only ever attended physical classes, but from work experience I can tell you that I'm somebody who simply can't remain productive at home. Depends on your individual personality I suppose.
  3. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    I've taken online courses at the Open University in the UK, which are properly accredited modules counting towards a degree. The hardest part is keeping enough time allocated to it since there is no change of location to distinguish studying time from other stuff like paid work or MR posting.
  4. cristo macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2008
    Just make sure you are incredibly careful with respect to which college you apply to. There are a huge number of fake colleges out there!
  5. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
  6. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030


    Apr 19, 2008
    Pandora, Home Tree
    I know of one young lady in South Africa that did it. For her, it was a matter of economics.

    I wish I could afford a couple classes myself.
  7. nizz macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2004
    north philly
    I took a few undergrad online classes at Penn State. They were gen eds and both incredibly EASY and BORING. I do not recommend.

    But I did enjoy one online class that was worth 1 credit. It was to learn how to use SAS software and was very cool.
  8. wvuwhat macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007

    I split my time between in class courses and online here at W.V.U. I love the flexability I have to do my work in the online classes. I can come home from a buddies at 2AM and work until 5AM and then not worry about that class for a week. It depends how long the classes are, but with full semester courses, they usually just give you a schedule of assignments and you finishing one each week.

    My classes (mostly Communications with some Advertising) have been mostly read the book, talk on a discussion board among your classmates about a predetermined subject, take tests, and submit papers. I especially enjoy the classes where they give you more time than you should have to take a test and you can go through the book to find the answers.

    No, it's not an interesting format, but it is doable and easy to work around other things going on in your life (e.g. work, friends, events). I will not take any classes that I am interested in online, because I like to take it in class where the professor can teach it and is more available for face-to-face conversations.

    We use a program here at W.V.U. called eCampus, I'm sure we're not the only ones. I used Blackboard at a community college this summer and I am not a fan in the least, extremely difficult and boring to navigate, but I guess there's only so much you can do.

    Tests are usually online, but I did take a spanish class where I had to go into campus to take the midterm/final.

    Overall, I'm a big fan of online classes and I actually start 3 tomorrow (first day back in Morgantown, WV). Health and Nutrition 171, Finding the First Job, and a Career series course. All of which I already have the assignments for and may just work ahead as I have time and get them done earlier and have more time to focus on my other classes. I'm taking 18 credits this semester, so I had to take some online classes to balance out my time.

    I say go for it, because when you go back to school you really need to have the right mindset and it seems that by you asking on MacRumors shows that you have interest. Don't let it pass you up...
  9. SFVCyclone macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2005
    Pasadena, Ca
    Dont do it, its not the same experience as being in a classroom. Unless your are not social then stay home and hide from the true experience of studying with your peers.
  10. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    more and more schools are offering these programs and as long as you find a program from a respected school you'll be fine.

    Two friends are doing MBA's and one is considering it by doing it online.

    The two that are doing it are because the stipulation by their work was that the work place would cover the MBA as long as it was local or online.

    the third friend is considering it only because he's not sure he wants to go back to school full time.

    What masters are you considering?

    if it's an EMBA then most of those are designed for self study and then a few intense weekends of classroom instruction.

    If the Masters you are doing is to help you in an industry where team work is very common, then doing a classroom based on will probably better as you will be doing a lot of group work.

    Are you looking at doing course work? or thesis based masters?

    I see a lot of benefit to having a person being there to consult with if you are doing a thesis based option.

  11. Rhosfelt macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2007
    I don't want to be raped :(
    NO, a couple of my idiotic teachers from my old high school tried to get the master's online to raise their pay and are now in a lot of trouble.
  12. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    I personally can't do work at home...I have to go to class or the library to be effective at getting anything done. I also like to use the social aspect of the classroom...since I go to a small liberal arts college I know my professors and just about everyone in my classes, which is an incredible asset.
  13. SFVCyclone macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2005
    Pasadena, Ca
    I agree 100% and you can personally net work in REAL life. Not this fake online stuff.
  14. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    Just make sure it's a well known and respected school. And, the fewer TV ads, the better (e.g. University of Phoenix -- Online).
  15. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    #15's easy to forget that the networking you do on the internet has little to do with real life networking....simple connections you can make with other people in college can make real differences not only in the material you're studying but for future career options.
  16. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    A lot of universities offer loads of online classes. Look into your local state university and see what they offer. You may be able to do a great deal of your M.A. online (depending on what you're studying, of course).
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    It can work exceptionally well in the right circumstances. In general, I'd say make sure the college is reputable, and the qualification recognised and validated. If those requirements are met, and you are interested, I'd say go for it.

    Here, I'm writing from experience, as I've actually taught in this type of environment, and I have to say that it is a fantastic form of enabling educational access, especially for people switching direction, or returning to school, in other words, "second-chance' education. It is designed for the demanding life of the "time poor" student, someone who cannot afford to waste hours commuting into college, who is often trying to juggle the competing demands of jobs, mortgages, families, partners, etc. It allows them the flexibility of attending online classes from the convenience of an office, or the comfort of their home; in some cases, this can mean curled up under a duvet (I've received emails telling me this is how some students attend class), or shouting at the dog who had tried to chew the computer cable. The classes are usually recorded and can be replayed at the student's convenience (yes, tedious, I know, but that was not usually possible in the older face-to-face set-up, and I know teachers who, to this day, will not permit their classes to be recorded.)

    The (non) social aspect of online college life is, of course, a drawback, and it is generally one of the most attractive parts of college life. However, my experience suggests that most of the students who take these courses are extremely pressed for time anyway, and socialising is not something they would have a lot of time for given the fairly fearsome time demands most of them are under. They also tend to be very committed, very hard-working, and, quite rightly, ask a lot of the academic and support staff. Yes, there is little face to face interaction; however, there are "virtual" office hours, where I am obliged to respond to emails more or less immediately, and, outside of that, am required to respond to emails from students within a twenty-four hour period if at all possible. Face to face intensive sessions do occur at certain times of the year, and often, for revision classes as well. Additionally, each cohort of students, and each subject, tend to have their own, pretty active forums.

    It is not a set-up which suits everybody, but for time pressed adults seeking further qualifications, it can be very successful. Hope that is of some help, cheers and god luck with it.
  18. kfordham281 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    Thanks for the responses everyone!

    I started my MIS (Masters of Information Systems) about 4 years ago but after taking about 7 or 8 classes (including 2 or 3 prereqs), I just wasn't into it. I had too many outside interests and just couldn't seem to get motivated.

    I'm a little older now and my outside interests take up less time now. I'm also working at a place that will pay for most of my degree, which is definitely a great opportunity. I travel some for work, so that's one of the advantages of online degrees.

    I'm likely to either continue my MIS or do some type of MBA (seriously looking at an MBA in Sustainability right now). It will likely be course work based MBA. If anyone else has input, please post it. Thanks!
  19. SDLSteve macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2004
    Make sure it is accredited from a regional/state accreditation board. I just read an article of a woman who got an online nursing degree from a bogus school and was told she would be arrested if she tried to pass of the degree as real.

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