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Let's say you need an undergraduate or graduate degree for a particular job you wanted. Let's say you had a job that prevented you from attending a college in the flesh. But you could do on online thing. Does anyone have personal experience in getting an online degree? Is there any consensus on what places of higher learning are better than others? I know there are many new MOOC courses, and that people like them. Can you find enough of these to get a degree? If you have earned an online degree what advice would you give to someone just starting?

asked Jan 22 '13 at 12:25

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly
196


All of my degrees have been online. Bachelor of Science, Master of Science in Information Assurance and will earn a Master of Business Administration in May 2013. I earned an Associate degree in 1994 then built a solid career in Information Technology but missed out on several opportunities because I did not have a 4 year degree. In 2000 I decided to go back and finish. I went online for my degrees because I simply couldn't stand the thought of sitting in a room for 4 hours after working all day. Also, already having a proven track record in the professional world much of the material being taught was not new. I figured going online was the easiest way for me to only spend time on the material that was new without having to slog through the material that wasn't.

I earned the undergrad at U of Phoenix. Both of my Masters were earned at University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Of the two, UMUC is heads above Phoenix. UMUC has both a significant physical presence in Maryland as well as the distance learning part. Also, many of the students are government employees or active military including those stationed overseas. You get an excellent cross section of folks in your classes at UMUC and I have found it an advantage for building my network.

My advice to someone just starting: 1) research the schools, make sure they are accredited. 2) choose a school that has both a physical presence and a distance-learning presence and does not distinguish between the two on transcripts or diplomas. 3) carefully consider finances, be careful of racking up student loans and be ready for sticker shock with credits costing as much as $650 per for Masters. 4) be prepared to write, and write well: distance-learning classes typically require a lot more writing than physical classes. I have never written so much before...in some of my classes 10-15 researched pages with bibliography every 2 weeks or sometimes weekly was not unusual. This is on top of regular posting to class conference discussions. 5) manage your time ruthlessly...you cannot procrastinate at all. Many of my instructors imposed heavy penalties if students waited until the last minute to contribute to discussions or turned in late papers. And since everything is online everything is time-stamped and it is clearly evident when you did something and whether you contributed or not. Finally, be ready to collaborate with remote teams on group projects...if you're not good with working remotely with people you've never met in person and trusting them to contribute you will have problems with online classes. Every class I've taken has required at least one significant group project requiring substantial coordination and collaboration with other students, some of whom may be on the other side of the globe.

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answered Jan 26 '13 at 07:59

johnturner's gravatar image

johnturner
16

All of my degrees have been online. Bachelor of Science, Master of Science in Information Assurance and will earn a Master of Business Administration in May 2013. I earned an Associate degree in 1994 then built a solid career in Information Technology but missed out on several opportunities because I did not have a 4 year degree. In 2000 I decided to go back and finish. I went online for my degrees because I simply couldn't stand the thought of sitting in a room for 4 hours after working all day. Also, already having a proven track record in the professional world much of the material being taught was not new. I figured going online was the easiest way for me to only spend time on the material that was new without having to slog through the material that wasn't.

I earned the undergrad at U of Phoenix. Both of my Masters were earned at University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Of the two, UMUC is heads above Phoenix. UMUC has both a significant physical presence in Maryland as well as the distance learning part. Also, many of the students are government employees or active military including those stationed overseas. You get an excellent cross section of folks in your classes at UMUC and I have found it an advantage for building my network.

My advice to someone just starting: 1) research the schools, make sure they are accredited. 2) choose a school that has both a physical presence and a distance-learning presence and does not distinguish between the two on transcripts or diplomas. 3) carefully consider finances, be careful of racking up student loans and be ready for sticker shock with credits costing as much as $650 per for Masters. 4) be prepared to write, and write well: distance-learning classes typically require a lot more writing than physical classes. I have never written so much before...in some of my classes 10-15 researched pages with bibliography every 2 weeks or sometimes weekly was not unusual. This is on top of regular posting to class conference discussions. 5) manage your time ruthlessly...you cannot procrastinate at all. Many of my instructors imposed heavy penalties if students waited until the last minute to contribute to discussions or turned in late papers. And since everything is online everything is time-stamped and it is clearly evident when you did something and whether you contributed or not. Finally, be ready to collaborate with remote teams on group projects...if you're not good with working remotely with people you've never met in person and trusting them to contribute you will have problems with online classes. Every class I've taken has required at least one significant group project requiring substantial coordination and collaboration with other students, some of whom may be on the other side of the globe.

link

answered Jan 26 '13 at 07:58

johnturner's gravatar image

johnturner
16

I'm over a decade into an IT career and finally finally committed to completing my BS. I found Western Governors University and enrolled there a year ago. It's an accredited, non-profit university that offers lots of undergrad and graduate level degrees all online.

For the IT degree I'm working on, they use industry certifications for many of the course exams so you get several of those (for what they're worth) along the way to your degree. If you can pass the exams without much studying, you can finish the course and move on. You pay a fixed cost per term for as many courses as you can complete.

Regardless of what "school" the most difficult time is managing your time. With no fixed class schedule and attendance record, it's all on you.

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answered Jan 23 '13 at 05:35

hunt's gravatar image

hunt
1

As a decade-long service member, I know how hard it is to make your way to an education center after the workday. After getting out for a time, I found Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and started taking classes. They gave me nearly half a degree for military service and the courses I do just to get promoted, and had degree plans ranging from aviation to leadership all available online. I've since graduated from ERAU with a BS and am working in my MBA there now while serving once again. All the teachers get our line of work (most are veterans themselves) and the classes are designed for success. Check it out!

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answered Jan 22 '13 at 17:15

%C3%BCber's gravatar image

├╝ber
1

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Asked: Jan 22 '13 at 12:25

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Last updated: Jan 26 '13 at 07:59

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