Postgrad Online
January 12, 2004 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Have any of you good folks taken a significant number of online courses or perhaps earned an online degree? I'm looking for an online-only Master's of Education program. And I'd like it to be quick and cheap. Any recommendations, warnings, or otherwise valuable insights?
posted by ferociouskitty to Education (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
And I'd like it to be quick and cheap

I'm not highlighting this to nit-pick or criticize, and want to offer advice if I can, but this line kind of stands out. If your goal in achieving this degree is to make yourself eminently employable, then consider what your prospective bosses might think when comparing your "quick and cheap" degree versus those people who slogged it out the hard way. Degrees have some intrinsic value, and the easier one is to come by, the lower it's value.
posted by vito90 at 1:15 PM on January 12, 2004

Hm. I'm a bit puzzled, too. To me, education implies student-teacher interaction. I'm not sure how one could earn a degree in education on-line only because there would never be a chance for student teaching, etc. My wife obtained her Masters in Education, and it seemed that most of her time was spent in the classroom, you know, teaching. How could this possibly be replicated online?
posted by jdroth at 1:32 PM on January 12, 2004

Response by poster: Okay, I'll qualify that line a little bit. In Ohio, where I'm currently studying to become licensed, it is simply a requirement that a teacher must obtain her Master's degree in (x) years. Teacher pay scales are such that I will receive the same pay with a Master's from the University of Butt-Picking or Harvard. I simply have to get it. After talking with friends and colleagues who have already been through the process in local brick-and-mortar universities, I've come to the realization that it's a hoops course. So quick and cheap is, for now, an asset. Were I to eventually pursue administration, it would matter, but for my purposes, it doesn't. Sad but true. The point of this is to simply "get it out of the way," and then I will pursue a Master's in my content are at my leisure.
posted by ferociouskitty at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2004

I know a lot of educators looking for a raise have used the weekend classes at their local University of Phoenix to grab a degree. They have sememsters that only last a month and I think it takes two years tops to finish, and much faster if you do it full time.
posted by mathowie at 1:44 PM on January 12, 2004

UoP is really expensive, though.

Are you required (or do you just really want) to get an Education degree or will any MA do? If another MA will do, might I recommend the Humanities MA at California State University/Dominguez Hills? It's all distance learning (not all online, though -- most of it is the old-fashioned correspondence course way), it's CHEAP (they charge everyone the same tuition whether you are a CA resident or not, because the program is self-supporting), the school is accredited and not fly-by-night, and the program has been operating for 30 years. Most of the students seem to be teaching professionals. I'm in this program now and I like it a lot.
posted by litlnemo at 2:23 PM on January 12, 2004

I just remembered -- in a similar vein, there is the online MA in Liberal Studies at Excelsior College. This is also a reputable school and not a fly-by-night diploma mill.
posted by litlnemo at 2:26 PM on January 12, 2004 / UCLA Extension / USD might help you. Read the fine print to figure out if the degree is what you are looking for.
posted by MzB at 2:54 PM on January 12, 2004

I'm doing my BS online right now, through Northeastern. They don't offer a master's in education, but I do have a bit of advice: go through an accredited university or college (not UoP or any other online-only school) and make sure your diploma will have nothing on it about it being an online degree. HR people and others have a major bias (with some good reasons) about online education.

I love taking classes online and it's the only way I could fit my education into my very busy life as a returning adult student working full-time. But you have to have serious motivation and time management skills. The lack of face-to-face interaction is a minus for some people, but I have no problem with it (I communicate better in writing than face-to-face anyway).
posted by acridrabbit at 6:00 PM on January 12, 2004

Just want to clear up a couple of misconceptions (full disclaimer: I am currently a student in the UoP online BSIT program, due to graduate in May). UoP also has regular brick-and-mortar campuses all over the United States, much like CityU. They are also fully accredited.

Most of the students in the online programs, myself included, are having their tuition paid by their employers. The majority of us are currently in military or gov't contractor careers. My employer (one of the biggest in the state of WA) seems very happy to pay my tuition there.

Now having said that, there seem to be a number of interesting choices that have sprung up in the last couple of years; most of them MUCH cheaper than UoP, which is currently $422/credit hour.

acidrabbit, I couldn't agree more about the motivation and time-management skills. It can get a bit challenging ... but the benefit to me is not having to sit through endless PowerPoint lectures!
posted by NsJen at 8:06 PM on January 12, 2004

Whoops ... acridrabbit , sorry *blush*
posted by NsJen at 8:08 PM on January 12, 2004

The big Distance Learning discussion forum is, and there is usually a substantial amount of good information posted on those boards. The fact that they have been joe-jobbed and harrassed by the diploma mills seems to add to its credibility.

The John Bear books have been highly recommended as useful for people just like yourself, who want the most painless way to earn a degree, yet want a degree that means something (through a regionally accredited school). While buying them might not be right for you, you should look for them at a nearby library.

Remember, the key thing to look for is regional accreditation. That is what the employers are looking for it to count. Quite frankly, unless you went to a well-known private school or a flagship state university, no one is going to pay much attention to where you got the degree, especially when you have work experience. It's not like someone in New York can assess the quality of Dominguez Hills State College or someone in California assess the quality of Excelsior College (the University of the State of New York). So quick and cheap are useful criteria, especially in a work force situation.
posted by calwatch at 8:53 PM on January 12, 2004

CSU/Dominguez Hills is one of the California State University campuses, so it does tend to sound more legitimate to most people than, say Excelsior (even though both are fully legit and have been around for a long time -- people are more likely to have heard of CSU, I guess).

The advice about the regional accreditation is very good. As is the recommendation to check out the forums and the Bear books. (This is how I found my degree program -- by reading a Bear book a few years ago.) There is lots of good help that can be found there. If you are unsure about whether an institution you are looking into is a diploma mill, that is a good place to look.

Be aware that lots of mills will say they are accredited, and list an accrediting agency -- but the agency they list is fictional. So be careful and do your research. :) Also, schools that emphasize the size and appearance of the diploma in their catalog more than the academic content of their programs are often shady. Schools in which 99% of the faculty got their PhDs at that school are often questionable as well. Since you are in the market for quick and cheap you will find that you are in a group that lots of crooks like to prey upon, but as long as you research everything you will be OK.
posted by litlnemo at 9:41 PM on January 12, 2004

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