Online Colleges?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by edenri, Mar 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. edenri
    Original Member

    edenri Silver Member

    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    183
    Status Points:
    360
    Just curious if anyone has any experience with obtaining an online degree? I know there are some people here who do hiring either for their own company or one they work for, so I'm wondering if by seeing say "Walden University" on a resume it would completely turn you off? Even if it was accompanied with something like passing the CPA exam?

    To make a long story short, I've never finished my degree. Family got in the way (not in a bad way) and I have currently worked for a family business which pays the bills and gives me a bit of freedom, which I do enjoy. I just think now I need to follow my original dream which was an accounting degree, the online courses provide a super conveniant way to do this. I just am scared of wasting my time.
     
    jbcarioca and Gargoyle like this.
  2. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I don't know much about them, but I do know they vary greatly. A few are acquiring a good reputation. I know someone who is working on her masters degree online, and she said that it requires significant work and discipline- she's putting in 15 or 20 hours per week per 4 credit hour course.
     
    edenri and jbcarioca like this.
  3. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The real fully accredited ones are work. Several people I know have degrees from some of them. Several I know graduated from a 'life-experience credit program at Antioch University that gave BA degrees with one year part time plus documentation of life learning.A couple of those ended out at Harvard Law School afterwards. I would skip the "degree mill" ones and choose a fully accredited one. It will pay off in satisfaction and preparedness for other things.
    I am biased. I taught part time at teh one that sent the two people to Harvard Law. They were my students.

    Go for it!
     
    MissBurrill and annerj like this.
  4. it'ship2b^2
    Original Member

    it'ship2b^2 Silver Member

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    317
    Status Points:
    305
    It really depends on the school. Regional acceditation (the only non-field specific accreditation that really matters) isn't a gaurentee of a good program or reputation.

    I am a math professor so I can't speak for disciplines outside my own but I've had a look at the math curriculum for several well known online schools and the types of courses they are giving college level credit for wouldn't fly at most 4-year universities. At one famous (or infamous) online school the course descriptions and learning outcomes were laughably flawed.

    One of the issues with online schools is that some of them don't have full-time permanent faculty who can evaluate whether or not a program meets college level standards. They also don't have someone in-house who is qualified/motivated/enpowered to recognize and fix errors on course descriptions, syllabi, and learning outcomes. What some of these schools do is contact faculty at highly selective traditional institutions and ask them to review the online school's curriculum to endorse it (for lack of a better word) during the accreditation process. One of my colleagues did this last term and his description of the paultry curriculum made me ill.

    There is one particular online university that emails me yearly with offers to pay me to either write final exam questions for them or be on a committee to finalize the exam questions. This would be a quick dime for me but I won't do it. It worries me that there is a school out there who is giving credit for courses that they have no one qualified to write an exam for. How can they assign a grade if there isn't anyone there qualified to teach the course?

    That is the bad.

    The good is that a quality online school can give an isolated community access to higher education. Several traditional schools have respected online programs that might fit the bill. Off the top of my head Penn State and University of Illinios-Springfield have online programs that are taught by regular tenured faculty. Their online students have all of the rights and priviliages of their on-campus students. I'm sure there are several other schools that fall into this category but I am tired and they just aren't coming to me.

    I wouldn't recommend an online school for several reasons: generally they are more expensive than CC+state uni (especially the for-profit schools), you can't get face-to-face tutoring/help from your profs, online degrees are still a gray area. As an alternative, I would recommend that someone start at a community college and then transfer to a state school for the last two years of a Bachelor's program. In spite of the claims of for-profits, the CC+state school route is cheaper. And even the worst state schools have higher 6 year graduation rates than the for-profit online schools (6 year grad rates are indeed how we measure it in higher ed and the for-profits often times report other data to obscure their poor grad rates). Plus non-traditional students are becoming more and more common in "good" universities. So you'll have peers.

    If you are set on going for an online degree, I'll leave you with the following advice:
    1) A school without regional accreditation is a no go. Avoid them like the plague.
    2) You should should be able to use the school's website to contact faculty in your prospective major. You wouldn't let your 16 year old go to a school where they couldn't meet the teachers before committing. You are just as important and you deserve the same rights.
    3) Don't even consider a school where the coursework is unlikely to transfer to another institution. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. You'll only be successful at a school which is the right fit. If you don't like the program you are in (it happens much more often than most people think), then you will have wasted a lot of money and a lot of time if your credits don't transfer.
    4) Don't consider a school where you would graduate without a GPA. A pass/fail curriculum doesn't give employers any true indication of your abilities. No reportable GPA might even be a red flag to HR.
    5) Don't go to a school that give lifes experience credit. That is definitely a scam.
    6) Don't go to a school which awards "competency units" or "credit equivalents." Those wouldn't transfer to my university and we ain't all that picky.
    7) If you aren't sure if credits from a school would be transferable, then email the admissions office at any of the state schools in your state and ask if you'd be able to transfer credits from XYZ Online University.

    Sorry for the long post. This is one of those things that I have a lot to say about. Good luck!
     
    edenri, sobore, Gargoyle and 2 others like this.
  5. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Except for you item 5 this is excellent advice. Life experience is usually a scam but not always. Places such as Antioch have done that for years with great success. If the school has regional accreditation and still does that you can rest assured that they are being subjected to serious scrutiny. If such credit is given by a good school the work done to justify is is quite onerous.

    I have taught at three universities, all on an adjunct basis, one of them Ivy league. I have also taught at one of these schools, the aforementioned Antioch. While I was doing that our graduates were successful in getting into, and graduating from, a number of outstanding graduate schools. Their performance on standardized test reflected their preparedness (to the extent that any such test can).

    Please do not reject an approach because many practitioners are selling scams. Not all are.

    I almost always avoid blanket generalizations because YMMV.
     
    Gargoyle likes this.
  6. edenri
    Original Member

    edenri Silver Member

    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    183
    Status Points:
    360
    Thanks for the responses everyone. Next week I'm meeting with admissions at Johnson and Wales in RI (traditional B&M school). They have an "adult" program in accounting. The classes are offered evenings, they have 3 sessions during the school year and two during the summer, so I would be able to go year round part time. After completion a bachelor degree in accounting is awarded. A bit more of a pain going there, but I need to check it out as it may be well worth it in the long run. The best part, they are cheaper than most online schools and hopefully will allow some networking for later on.

    Out of curiosity, because this is geared towards adults, is there a stigma that comes along with the degree because it is part of their adult education?
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  7. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Not from Johnson & Wales IMHO. They have quite a number fo specialty programs that are well regarding including culinary arts. Their accounting curriculum is well enough regarded that a number of major corporations send their people there at the company expense.

    Networking there is decent, especially if you want to work with their corporate sponsors. Ask the Admissions people specifically about that, the % of their grads who get CPA's etc. They should have good and satisfying answers for you. Accounting is one field in which the initial networking is very important if you want a CPA career.

    Once you do your BS are you interested in going for an advanced degree? Do you want a CPA career? Those questions will help you decide what choice to make.
     
    edenri likes this.

Share This Page