I need some advice about college?

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    Apr 19, 2009 3:52 AM GMT
    hey everyone,

    I need some advice about college. I currently hold a BS in geology and biology and Master in General Science from a traditional college. I plan on working on a Master in Space Science from a online university. What do you all think about online courses. Any information would help.

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    Apr 19, 2009 4:50 AM GMT
    I wouldn't give a plugged nickel for an online Masters in Space Science. Sorry to be harsh, but I don't think you get the same education in an online study as you do when you take classes on a campus. I hold a Masters in Orbital Mechanics and Space Tech. It's better getting it in the classroom if you can get it. Online courses require a lot of time online in the virtual classroom to "prove" you're doing your work. It's a lot of reading, etc. But I'm not sure it gives the access to a professor that an in-person degree would. Online degrees are fine for some courses of study, but I don't agree with them when it comes to technical fields. Do yourself a favor. If you can get into a Masters program set on a campus, do it.
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    Apr 19, 2009 4:53 AM GMT
    Depending on your learning style it could be great or awful. For me, classroom discourse, seeing the faces of everyone react, having a professor in front of me to sense out, are all crucial ingredients for my education. I've tried some online classes and they don't sit well with my more kinesthetic and multi-modal (audio/visual/tactile/experiential) based learning style. Those that are visually based for learning tend to do the best with online.
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    Apr 19, 2009 5:02 AM GMT
    online universities do not yet have the reputation you would want attached to your degree. i would not suggest this. my sister did these classes, and they take longer (not less time, like they say), and you never get to interact with your professors and classmates (which is particularly awful when group assignments are given out). my friend ned has been doing online courses, and i'm surprised he hasn't mailed anyone anthrax yet.
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    Apr 19, 2009 5:17 AM GMT
    Waste of time. I was a recruiter if I saw online coursework it was a sure sign of a slug.
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    Apr 19, 2009 5:32 AM GMT
    The University of Illinois launched its Global campus aimed at being the #1 online university in the world.

    It is failing...

    While some programs do have "online" classes for advanced degrees (cf: Some Masters of Education classes that are reading and chat based with final papers etc...) An entire program from an online class isn't what you want.

    Recruiters, Admissions Committees, whomever, will look at it and see a lack of dedication no matter what your intent is.
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    Apr 19, 2009 6:01 AM GMT
    Aside from the lack of credibility of an online college, I think the main thing you miss out on is the interactions between the instructors and the other students. You share ideas and bounce thoughts and come up with new ones. It just enhances your learning.

    I've taken online courses at a local community college a few times. Hated it. It just wasn't very fulfilling. Seemed like I was just doing busy work, and that I didn't learn anything new. I got an "A" in the class, but that was only because I completed the assignments and did well on the tests.
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    Apr 19, 2009 6:17 AM GMT
    Countryguy71,

    I guess it all depends on the program. The other posters here are right in that most online "schools" are just shams.

    However, there are a number of reputable universities that offer online diplomas, certificates, and even degrees - e.g. George Washington University, Boston University, Villanova, Vanderbilt, and even Cornell University (eCornell).

    I'm actually doing my business degree through distance learning from the London School of Economics and I'm happy with them. But of course, the University of London has been in the distance education business for a very long time and has built a fairly solid reputation.

    As for your particular program, I'm not sure if I would pursue it through online studies.

    Another cautionary note: the traditional reputable bricks-and-mortar schools that have developed online programs only recently ventured into this new world, so even their programs aren't time-tested.

  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Apr 19, 2009 2:10 PM GMT
    I just finished my masters through Penn State in Geographic Information Systems (better known as GIS) online. I did my undergraduate degree there, in person. There are a couple of things to consider. For me, GIS is entirely computer based, thus I was going to spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the machine, whether it was doing homework, or anything else relating to the degree. Secondly, I needed to keep working, and going to school online guaranteed that I could work on the classes in my own time. Third, this program was established about four years earlier and had an established record- and the number of people attending had grown each year. Lastly, there were a group from my office (initially four, but two that will finish the program) that were pursuing the degree. That meant that we could do an number of the things you can only do when you have a more traditional setting like studying together, asking questions or getting second opinions on projects.

    This method worked well for me, and I will be traveling up to State College next month to receive my diploma. This is also important, because my degree will be no different than that of someone who studied on campus. The word online or electronic will appear no where on the degree, which is not the case even for other online degrees offered by Penn State.

    A few words of advice beyond what I said above. 1) make sure you do not go to a paper mill university, such as University of Phoenix, or Louisville-Pacific. It will lower the quality of the rest of your resume, instead of improving it. 2) Make sure the field of study (I know nothing of the degree you mentioned) is relevant to the way you will be studying. 3) Make sure the professors will be responsible enough to get back to you quickly. I actually knew some of my professors from my undergrad years and that made a difference in the end. 4) Make sure you are self motivated. You need that to finish any degree, but with an online degree it is easier to push off work.
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    Apr 19, 2009 2:30 PM GMT
    If your considering the online course route - be sure the college has a strong reputation for their in-person classes and degrees. As mentioned earlier, an online-only school is really frowned upon during the interview or application process. Now, in my case, I probably could have done an online only degree from MIT, but regardless decided that I needed the in-class interactions etc. I ended up going to SIT (Stevens Institute of Technology) right nearby in Hoboken NJ... and the program I'm going for was actually sold to Stanford and two other schools who's name escape me. Yay MSIS :-).

    - Eric
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    Apr 19, 2009 2:58 PM GMT
    Here's a traditional university you might consider, has one of the premier Aviation and Space Studies schools in the country but in an unlikely location. I taught there (though not this discipline) and was also the Assistant Registrar for a time. Knew John Odegard who established the school, before his untimely death, great guy, used to fly with him (he piloted, I was just ballast). Here's their link:

    http://www.space.edu/
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    Apr 19, 2009 3:43 PM GMT
    If you do an online course, I would try to avoid any mention that it was an online course in your resume or interviews. Some very good universities now offer online courses though, so it's not necessarily a bad thing, but it still has a stigma with hiring managers and HR directors.

    I will second the advice about University of Phoenix. No one takes their degrees seriously. My brother found out the hard way it can actually be a detriment to getting you an interview. He thought a Masters degree (from U of Phoenix) would give him a decent salary boost. He didn't get called for a single interview until he dropped the reference to U of Phoenix from his resume.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Apr 19, 2009 3:51 PM GMT
    Well I was going to encourage you to take some time and do your homework and now even more so.... for two reasons...

    1. Perception of online universities: We can give you input, but the bottom line is perception with employers. I'd approach some HR departments and ask them their opinion. You might also talk to headhunters. If you opt to do an "online approach", make sure you are confident it is going to pay off.

    2. Evaluate the pros and cons of what you are doing: Whether you really want to follow this approach with your education and that anything you do will pay off. Be very logical about the evaluation.
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    Apr 19, 2009 4:28 PM GMT
    In 2003-04, I was of the first group to complete almost all of my psych degree through the University of Minnesota completely online. In the beginning, before I went through the program, I visioined this to be the ultimate cakewalk - no getting dressed for school, no anxiety attacks about going to classrooms with 200 students, no worries about getting to and from campus when it was -20 outside. I failed my first two classes. You have to have the personality and drive where you are responsible for every single decision you make during the semester - from your study time to your test taking skills, everything. Your assignments are due in three week intervals - no exceptions. If you do not complete your packet of assignments in that three weeks, you get a zero. The test comes every three weeks also, and with an online format (this was the hardest) - you get 30 minutes for 30 questions with a clock on the right upper side of your screen ticking down. If you start to trip on questions that will definitely mess you up, and on those last ten questions you're trying to answer one question in 30 seconds or less or else you run out of time. It took at least 4 exams before I got used to that kind of timed test. I did fine, and actually in psych classes there were a lot of situations where I was able to reveal more about my life and thoughts that I would not have felt comfortable talking about in a classroom. I felt like I got more out of the online experience, and at the end I felt like it was very much worth it. It also helped that it was from the University of Minnesota, a brick-and-mortar school rather than one of these places with questionable reputations where you have no idea what you're getting.

    I had a lot of anxiety about going to school as my high school experience was awful and the thought of entering that arena again (college isn't any different, just older kids) was not something I looked forward to. But today, a bachelors degree is the equal to what a high school diploma used to be. I will have to go back to school (I'm looking at the RN program here; if you already have a BS degree you only have to go for 15 months through an intensive RN program that is super expensive) but with the current student loan situation up in the air, I'm just not sure about doing that right now.
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    Apr 19, 2009 8:00 PM GMT
    the only reason I ever took online courses was I knew I was moving out of area, in the middle of semester....and the following year took some from a different college so I could live in college apartments but was too busy between jobs and performing on stage to actually go to a physical class..
    result.... had to drop out of the online courses the second time around, not because I wasnt able to sign on. but the one college I went thru required u sign on at least twice a day..and what happened was I able to sign on in the mornings and couldnt later and the assignment would change either the way you had to do the assignment or the due date.... its not as efficient as every one makes it out to be... def go and appear in a physical class...
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Apr 19, 2009 10:31 PM GMT
    There are more online college scams than there are Starbucks.
    Okay, I'm exaggerating, a little.
    If you want more education, lots of colleges hold night classes.
    I think that's the best way to go.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Apr 19, 2009 10:50 PM GMT
    Taking courses online can pay off...if you make sure you take the right ones.

    As so many others have mentioned, you need to research the school and the program ahead of time. This means both checking out the information that the school provides (Is it accredited? Does the diploma mention anywhere on it that it's online? What about the transcripts? How long has the program been around? How many students has it graduated? If you decide to take some courses in person does that change anything? What is the faculty: student ratio in the classes? How are students evaluated?) and what companies in your field think about it. In the job market, perception is key, and in a number of industries having an online degree on your resume can actually look worse than having none at all.

    That's not to say that it's never a good idea to take courses online. Sometimes the schools local to you won't have as good of a program as another university's online one. But as a first pass, I'd recommend looking just at programs offered through established brick-and-mortar institutions. Even if it does mention that it's online, an online degree from Penn State is going to carry far more weight than one from the University of Phoenix.
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    Apr 20, 2009 2:05 AM GMT
    all depends if the college you'll be taking the classes from is accredited. if it's not (and many aren't) it's probably not worth the time or money.
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    Apr 20, 2009 2:12 AM GMT
    Another important thing:

    If you are going to get an MS in a scientific field, you need to perform research with established scientists. When I was thinking about dropping out of grad school (after putting in a year and a half of research) I was encouraged to finish my thesis, and I don't regret it. A non-thesis master's is barely worth anything.

    If an employer were given the choice between someone with good grades from an online university without a thesis and someone who has completed work (and all the associated hoops) with mediocre grades, the employer will always pick the person with the thesis.

    Get a fellowship (not hard in the sciences), live in poverty for 2-3 years and get a thesis MS.
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    Apr 20, 2009 2:34 AM GMT
    I could never do online as i'm a hands on learner..

    I don't think taking a Space Science course online would hold up aswell against a candidate who took the course at a University campus.. Onlines good for somethings like fast tracking in Health Care.
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    Apr 20, 2009 10:51 AM GMT
    countryguy71 saidhey everyone,
    What do you all think about online courses. Any information would help.



    To answer your question, countryguy71:

    No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.....



    Oh yeah... No!


    I was told not to take online courses unless they are requirement courses (i.e.Human Traditions class for a Chem major would be an okay course to take online).

    Especially courses for your Masters degree in space science! It may be easy for you, but te level of knowledge most students gain from online courses is different from those taken in-class. Of course there are excepttions.

    Science courses should not be taken online anyways... I was always taught that and heard it from many many professionals and professors.