Education: Is it important to attend a college/university or get your degree online.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 12, 2009 9:49 PM GMT
    How important is it to you or others, if the degree is attained through the normal process of attending a university or getting it online?

    I started the normal route and dropped out after 2 1/2 yrs. I look back at that as a mistake and wished I had finished. Several years ago, I went back and got my BS and MBA through an online program. Was it different from the normal route, yes it was. The access to instructors is limited through email or phone. No personal contact that one gets when in a classroom surrounded by others. One has to be dedicated in pursuing their degree or they will lose ground.

    The one thing that I missed by getting the degrees online was the chance of doing an internship. These usually help out in providing the experience you need when applying what you have learned. I happen to luck out and got good mentors as bosses who were very helpful in giving me the time needed to master the position.

    So guys, what do you think? Attend a university to get that degree or get it online, let me know what you think.
  • islander24

    Posts: 161

    Sep 16, 2009 5:54 AM GMT
    I have done the distant learning thing also. In a classroom sitution you put up your hand and 30 people hear you. I spent a huge effort typing responses when I did it on line. Still when I have to work 50 plus hours a week, distant learning allowed me to advance my career that a few yes go would not have been available.

    There is also the hybird programs that allow you to do class work on line, but must attend a long weekend at the end of the course or two weeks in the summer. So there are all types of programs ... each slightly different and based upon the school you chose so it pays to shop around the different schools.
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    Sep 16, 2009 6:18 AM GMT
    I did one degree via distance education and it wasn't a bad experience. I could fit it around my work and social life; however, it was easy to forget about doing the readings or work. At least attending a physical class can be a good reminder to do the work. It did suck not having that face to face contact with the lecturer.

    I guess maybe it comes down to why youre doing the degree. If you want to do it to just finish the qualification, then maybe online is the way to go. If it's a career change (you mention the internship) and having that networking ability that comes from attending classes and so forth is important, then go that way.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Sep 16, 2009 6:19 AM GMT
    So much of what you learn and grow from in college is outside the classroom. I recommend having the true "College Experience" if you can as they will be years of your life that you will never forget.
  • NursePractiti...

    Posts: 232

    Sep 16, 2009 6:34 AM GMT
    I received my A.A. and ASN in a regular class room. I received my BSN mostly online. Some class room involvement was still required. For the first part I think the all class room was a good thing. But I did benefit for the BSN online since I could most of it on my time, minus the clinical portions of course and we had chat rooms, email, etc to connect with other students. If you do online courses you MUST be dedicated to it. Other wise you will drop out.
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    Sep 16, 2009 7:13 AM GMT
    College may be the biggest waste of money and time in america today. I learned more watching the discovery and history channels then i learned in two years of college. Worse then that colleges and university still subscribe to a outdated book centric study method which leaves more the 70% of students struggling as it is not there natural way of learning. There are 4 styles of learning literary which is what most schools use which is the smallest percentage of learners. the other 3 groups visual, audio, and hands on learners are screwed. The big business of secondary education is a drain of resources. As a small business if you came to me with 5 years of work place experience or a yale degree i'll always hire the person with 5 years of experience every time.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Sep 16, 2009 7:17 AM GMT

    I disagree. College was a period of growth for me. That is not to say that that is the general experience, however, I am saying that college is far more than what you learn in a classroom.
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    Sep 16, 2009 7:54 AM GMT
    Very important

    I was interviewing people for temp jobs about a year ago and I remember seeing about 5 people that had or were in the process of getting their MBAs via correspondance schools. I had some what high expectations but it turned out none of them knew anything about buisness seriously I had seen highschool students who had taken a class and knew more and their thesises were cut and paste from corporate marketing pamphlets and from what I gathered 20 pages long and mostly graded on a nice graphic poster

    I was appauled these people actually considered it education
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    Sep 16, 2009 3:08 PM GMT
    nursemuscle saidI received my A.A. and ASN in a regular class room. I received my BSN mostly online. Some class room involvement was still required. For the first part I think the all class room was a good thing. But I did benefit for the BSN online since I could most of it on my time, minus the clinical portions of course and we had chat rooms, email, etc to connect with other students. If you do online courses you MUST be dedicated to it. Other wise you will drop out.



    That is true,,,one must be dedicated. The ease of doing everything on my time within a specific period allowed some flexibility. I enjoyed the classes and have some great connections with people from all over the country.
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    Sep 16, 2009 3:26 PM GMT
    MsclDrew saidVery important

    I was interviewing people for temp jobs about a year ago and I remember seeing about 5 people that had or were in the process of getting their MBAs via correspondance schools. I had some what high expectations but it turned out none of them knew anything about buisness seriously I had seen highschool students who had taken a class and knew more and their thesises were cut and paste from corporate marketing pamphlets and from what I gathered 20 pages long and mostly graded on a nice graphic poster

    I was appauled these people actually considered it education


    I do not know where they went to school, but my program would not have accepted anything that was cut & pasted. Like most colleges now, their is a program that evaluates how much is your own material with footnotes and how much was copied (anything greater than 5 % was kicked out). All of my papers were highly researched and came from me and not someone else. So, please do not think every person that did the online program, will come close to the ones you interviewed. I am appalled at that type of presentation myself.
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    Sep 16, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidSo much of what you learn and grow from in college is outside the classroom. I recommend having the true "College Experience" if you can as they will be years of your life that you will never forget.


    I think the formative life experience one gets in college when one is in early 20's is the foundation of a great majority of people's careers and adult life. However when one is older and already has abundant life experience, actually hanging out with immature folks in the early 20's in a college setting doesn't necessarily benefit you nearly as much, one reason being socially you won't fit in that well.

    If one still hasn't developed adult-level confidence, work ethic, emotional skills, and time management skills then attending a real college is a good idea.
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    Sep 16, 2009 4:36 PM GMT
    There are some pitfalls to distance learning, including online. I was our university's Assistant Registrar, whose specific duties included personally reviewing the transcripts of every single transfer student we got. I also validated degree completion and produced our own undergraduate diplomas (but not the graduate).

    But most relevant to this thread, I accepted or rejected previous course work from other institutions, and also converted transferring credits to our university's system as needed. For instance, we were on the semester system, and our grading system gave 4 points for an A, 3 for a B and so forth, and typically 2, 3 or 4 hours per course toward a degree completion requirement of ordinarily 125-130 hours, depending upon the "4-year" bachelor's degree being sought.

    Some other schools did not do this, having quarterly systems, meaning their classroom contact hours were less than ours for any given course. Plus they might assign more or fewer numerical points for letter grades than we did. All of that meant that even if I did accept their transfer credits, they might not be given the same academic credit as the student imagined, after I did a conversion, affecting their graduation date.

    And most important of all, their entire former school might not meet our accreditation standards. I used several reference guides, listing the ratings of every college in the US, based on regional accreditation associations. And our university tended to accept NO transfer credit from tech schools, and from many 2-year junior/community colleges.

    So I'd have a student thinking they had a a good AA degree or some amount of course credit, and we wouldn't recognize it, not a bit of it. And online & correspondence schools were not accredited, either. You may get a pretty degree from THEM, but few major universities will honor it, vital if you might later want to attend such a school, for graduate work or other additional studies. And the HR people of major US companies have those accreditation guides, too, will know if your course work has real substance & value or not.

    So this is a danger you run by taking these non-traditional methods, and you have to carefully research the program you're about to undertake before you waste your time & money.

    http://www.worldwidelearn.com/accreditation/accreditation-associations.htm
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    Sep 16, 2009 4:47 PM GMT
    Hum. Depends. It seems a little odd to obtain a degree in chemistry online. After all, significant lab time is required.

    I think it quite plausible to obtain a degree in marketing online. Or even history.

    Now having said that, there are some majors I would not hire in my businesses. History being one I would not consider vis-a-vis when hiring for most management positions.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 16, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
    Particularly in regard to Red_Vespa's commentary, I'll state that it's very important to check out the particular school you're doing an online degree from. In general, brick and mortar schools which offer some of their classes and/or degrees online are going to be looked upon much more favorably than schools which are solely distance learning. An online degree from Arizona State or Northwestern or the Rochester Institute of Technology will look rather different than one from the University of Phoenix.

    Similarly, there's a wide range of what can be considered Tech schools. MIT and Cal Tech are probably places from which he would have accepted transfer credits, despite the word Technology in their names.
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    Sep 16, 2009 5:07 PM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidSimilarly, there's a wide range of what can be considered Tech schools. MIT and Cal Tech are probably places from which he would have accepted transfer credits, despite the word Technology in their names.

    Absolutely! A degree from MIT is sure to earn attention & respect, and is as good as gold everywhere. I should have written vo-tech, for vocational-technical. The general rule of thumb is that a school that teaches a trade is not going to be accredited for college credits.

    But there are odd exceptions. Some colleges will accept equivalency for certain kinds of military training, despite that usually being very trade-like. A waiver for a college PE requirement is not uncommon, with the former military simply getting the credit hours automatically. And I'd seen general elective credits given for "Life Experience" on the transcript, which can apply to military service, and sometimes to other things a person might have done.

    It's a very tricky business, and certainly kept me busy as the guy responsible for sorting it out. But as I say, accreditation standards are the most important issue, and if you haven't gone to a school with that, your transcript from them isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
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    Sep 16, 2009 5:16 PM GMT
    Having previously been a headhunter, if the words UNIVERSITY OF PHEONIX were on your resume they were thrown out. In fact I can't think of a online school that wasn't a direct route to your resume in the garbage can.
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    Sep 16, 2009 5:34 PM GMT
    I read a post by Countryjock further up, and I disagree college is a waste of time and resources. Attending University has changed dramatically in the last 20 years from what it used to be (his example was sitting and reading and that's about it). Students now have numerous new resources at their disposal between meeting with professors directly, visual and tactile resources offered at school libraries and department archives, personal tutors and additional courses offered by schools to help students get past their deficiencies.

    Additionally, as one poster mentioned, there is a lot of potential for growth and learning that happens outside the classroom. In many young people's lives, attending college is the first time they're truly away from Mommy and Daddy, and as such they learn to live as "adults" -- kind of, I'll admit -- and learn what being on their own will be like. An alumnus once told me that his favourite quote from when he attended my University was "I never let my schoolin' get in the way of my learnin'." I realize you can achieve the same effect if you're learning via the internet and living in the "real world", but there's something about being surrounded by like-minded individuals in the same boat as you that contributes to contemplation and growth.

    ...and as for 70% of students struggling, 83.24753% of statistics are made up on the spot to serve someone's argument. Universities are meant to offer some struggle to the student, because they're meant to open the student's mind to new ways of thinking and tackling problems. If it were easy, it probably wouldn't be college. It'd be summer camp...and those degrees we earn probably wouldn't be so highly regarded in the business world.

    That being said, as to the original topic, I have had a few friends and relatives who've taken the distance learning route, and I think it's perfect if your situation prevents you from attending classes in person at a University or college. One friend is a single parent who works two full-time jobs (Career and Mom), and distance learning at midnight is her only option. But she's doing it because she wants better for her family and that's great for her. However, as I hinted, if you have the opportunity to attend classes, those experiences are priceless.
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    Sep 16, 2009 5:37 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    twomack saidHum. Depends. It seems a little odd to obtain a degree in chemistry online. After all, significant lab time is required.

    I think it quite plausible to obtain a degree in marketing online. Or even history.

    Now having said that, there are some majors I would not hire in my businesses. History being one I would not consider vis-a-vis when hiring for most management positions.

    How about a degree in falconry?



    HAHA! Oh my...I would SO major in Falconry if it were offered! Only because there are endless possibilities when it comes to careers afterwards icon_wink.gif
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    Sep 17, 2009 2:32 PM GMT
    NaSCN1 said
    jprichva said
    twomack saidHum. Depends. It seems a little odd to obtain a degree in chemistry online. After all, significant lab time is required.

    I think it quite plausible to obtain a degree in marketing online. Or even history.

    Now having said that, there are some majors I would not hire in my businesses. History being one I would not consider vis-a-vis when hiring for most management positions.

    How about a degree in falconry?



    HAHA! Oh my...I would SO major in Falconry if it were offered! Only because there are endless possibilities when it comes to careers afterwards icon_wink.gif


    don't mock. my aunt is a federal parks ranger. she deals with falcons
  • kietkat

    Posts: 342

    Sep 17, 2009 3:27 PM GMT
    countryjock29 saidCollege may be the biggest waste of money and time in america today. I learned more watching the discovery and history channels then i learned in two years of college. Worse then that colleges and university still subscribe to a outdated book centric study method which leaves more the 70% of students struggling as it is not there natural way of learning. There are 4 styles of learning literary which is what most schools use which is the smallest percentage of learners. the other 3 groups visual, audio, and hands on learners are screwed. The big business of secondary education is a drain of resources. As a small business if you came to me with 5 years of work place experience or a yale degree i'll always hire the person with 5 years of experience every time.




    I don't think you can make that generalization. It seems your college experience might have been bad but that doesn't mean you should completely dismiss college. Besides college is what you make of it, you probably lacked the intellectual curiosity to truly enjoy the learning experience. BTW I'm an organic chemist .... you can't learn that stuff on Discovery or the history channel. icon_cool.gif
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Sep 17, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
    countryjock29 saidCollege may be the biggest waste of money and time in america today. I learned more watching the discovery and history channels then i learned in two years of college. Worse then that colleges and university still subscribe to a outdated book centric study method which leaves more the 70% of students struggling as it is not there natural way of learning. There are 4 styles of learning literary which is what most schools use which is the smallest percentage of learners. the other 3 groups visual, audio, and hands on learners are screwed. The big business of secondary education is a drain of resources. As a small business if you came to me with 5 years of work place experience or a yale degree i'll always hire the person with 5 years of experience every time.


    I am going to have to respectfully disagree as someone who has spent quite a bit of time in the educational system and now teaches at a university. First, you are dead wrong about the money. Yes, it costs a lot, but have you ever researched the earning power associated with advanced degrees? The payoff approaches millions of dollars in a lifetime, so college is really more of an investment to get you to jobs you couldn't otherwise obtain without the degree. Second, I would like to know about that statistic about 70 percent of students struggling (source please?). I am not dismissing a claim, but I don't want to fully attack it until I have seen it; I will say though that just because students don't like to read from books does not mean it's ineffective-- you tell me a better way to retain knowledge, instill critical analyzation and thinking skills, and improve writing ability than reading. Third, your point about literacy is a cover blurb run-on thought. The three types of learning (just because they are three version of visual learners does not mean each is distinct, as opposed to other ways of aural or kenisthetic learning, which are the proper terms so I question your point's validity since you didn't use them) aren't directed related to literacy, but rather how one best learns. Most people are kenisthetic learners, but that's because people learn better from trial and error; please explain to me how you kenisthetically teach calculus, old English poetry, linguistic theory, or the concept of timbre: each learning processes is not open to a variety of ways to learn it. Fourth, secondary education is high school, so I am really not sure what you're alluding to there. Finally, yes, most people choose experience over a degree, but everyone starts somewhere, and if two kids who are applying for their first job come to your business, you're probably gonna hire the one with the college degree if the other one doesn't have one.
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    Sep 18, 2009 11:20 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidThere are some pitfalls to distance learning, including online. I was our university's Assistant Registrar, whose specific duties included personally reviewing the transcripts of every single transfer student we got. I also validated degree completion and produced our own undergraduate diplomas (but not the graduate).

    But most relevant to this thread, I accepted or rejected previous course work from other institutions, and also converted transferring credits to our university's system as needed. For instance, we were on the semester system, and our grading system gave 4 points for an A, 3 for a B and so forth, and typically 2, 3 or 4 hours per course toward a degree completion requirement of ordinarily 125-130 hours, depending upon the "4-year" bachelor's degree being sought.

    Some other schools did not do this, having quarterly systems, meaning their classroom contact hours were less than ours for any given course. Plus they might assign more or fewer numerical points for letter grades than we did. All of that meant that even if I did accept their transfer credits, they might not be given the same academic credit as the student imagined, after I did a conversion, affecting their graduation date.

    And most important of all, their entire former school might not meet our accreditation standards. I used several reference guides, listing the ratings of every college in the US, based on regional accreditation associations. And our university tended to accept NO transfer credit from tech schools, and from many 2-year junior/community colleges.

    So I'd have a student thinking they had a a good AA degree or some amount of course credit, and we wouldn't recognize it, not a bit of it. And online & correspondence schools were not accredited, either. You may get a pretty degree from THEM, but few major universities will honor it, vital if you might later want to attend such a school, for graduate work or other additional studies. And the HR people of major US companies have those accreditation guides, too, will know if your course work has real substance & value or not.

    So this is a danger you run by taking these non-traditional methods, and you have to carefully research the program you're about to undertake before you waste your time & money.

    http://www.worldwidelearn.com/accreditation/accreditation-associations.htm


    I am glad for the many comments...thanks guys.

    RV: I agree that their maybe online programs that are not accredited and that is why some tough screening of any program should be done before starting the program. Luckily, my school has accreditation and if I had wanted to go on to get my PhD, there were several schools that were impress with my grades and the curriculum that I went through. I decided not to go further because of the cost, but may decide one day to go back and do it. Again, thanks for your comment and warning to those who may not take the time to investigate the non-traditional method of obtaining a degree.