Online Degrees

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by Saeleofu, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do when I graduate (in DECEMBER. Holy crap that's close.)

    I was looking up online classes I could take in the spring semester since most grad programs don't start until fall, and it dawned on me that it IS possible to get entire degrees online.

    What is your take on online degrees? I always thought they were kind of sketchy, but the more technology advances, thee easier it is to accept that yes, you CAN learn through online classes, and it may work just as well or better than in-person classes. There's even an online public school for K-12 students in my state now.

    The reason I'm even considering this is because first and foremost, I WANT TO MOVE. I can't move unless I get a job that pays decently and will cover at least some if not all moving costs. That's unlikely in my field. OR if I use student loans from grad school to move. The latter is more feasible, BUT many schools don't disburse excess funds until after school starts, and that's useless.

    I'm currently leaning towards education for a master's degree. I've been told many times now that if you want to teach in a zoo, teaching is what you should go to school for. The animal stuff you can be taught on the spot and specific to the animals you are teaching about. But teaching itself takes longer and is a more valuable skill.

    If I can at least start a Master's degree online AND get a good amount of financial aid, I may be able to move after a couple semesters. And then I can either finish the online degree, or try to transfer to a local university to finish it up in person.

    What would you do in this situation? If you were looking to hire a teacher, would you think lesser of an online degree?
     
  2. Cali Mae

    Cali Mae Little dog, big voice

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    I didn't get a degree online personally, but my mom did.

    She got her Masters in counselling psychology online from York University and another degree from the University of Phoenix, for something similar. She ended up with a 4.0 GPA in her courses as well.

    I don't think it mattered in the end, because her pay still went up and now she is the guidance lead for our entire school district. However, it may vary from place to place.
     
  3. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    I'm planning on getting an online degree.

    I am finishing up my AA at my local community college, but I'm only taking one class actually THERE. The other 3 are online. It seems to be the norm for cybersecurity (my major) though. A lot of classes aren't even offered on campus.

    My reason for deciding this was right for me is that, well, it's what I REALLY want to do, and I think I put it off because I was nervous about the online thing among other reasons.

    I've grown to really like it though. At first, the self discipline was hard for me... it was very easy to just go a week without visiting your online site and be like OMGCRAPITOTALLYFORGOT. But in one way, it's really cool, because a lot of times these computer/business classes I was taking, I would go and be like WHY am I here... I could be doing this at home... lol... and feel like I was wasting my time & gas.

    It's also nice because I am kind of all over the place -- I spend a lot of time at my dads house, which is nearly an hour away, and it's nice to be able to just do my work wherever I am. And going to the comm. college is not a big deal, but all the big universities around here are annoying drives, and it would be hard for me to commute from where I live.

    The online college I am going to is accredited and well respected too. I talked to a counselor who said that their associate program works very well with transferring to this particular school, so that fact alone makes me pumped about doing it. I definitely want smooth sailing whenever possible. :)


    So basically, yeah, I've only taken online courses for my Associates so far, so I'll have to update you when I start my bachelors program.
     
  4. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    There's a huge difference from getting a degree from a real brick & mortar college that happens to offer online classes (sometimes enough that you can complete your whole degree online), and getting a degree from a degree mill, a college that is "just" online, or really a degree from a "college" that is a for-profit institution.

    The former I would do. I took a lot of classes online for both my AA and my BA. Probably 50% or more. I've looked into other options and would have to take a lot of classes online unless I quit my job or stopped working the typical 8-5 M-F deal.

    The latter... no. I wouldn't fork over that much money for a degree that will have questionable value to an employer.
     
  5. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    I agree with Beanie--if this is something you want to do, find a school that offers classes online, not an online school.

    As someone who got a masters in education, the most (only) valuable parts were the in classroom hours, working with students, trying/failing at different tactics. The philosophy/history of education/research classes could have been done online, but any education degree will make you take all kinds of classroom focused classes--teaching methodologies, special ed, subject specific strategies, etc.

    Would you go for a secondary science certification? Or elementary to work with kids?

    I really don't think my masters in education would be at all helpful for working at the zoo, in reality. They taught me how to write IEPs, how to design lesson plans, and how to scaffold material to reach diverse learners in a formal, structured setting. I learned how to teach english language learners, how to assess learning formally/informally, and how to deal with state standards.

    What are you actually looking to be able to get from a program? Something to put on a resume?
     
  6. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Random but I'm kind of confused now on my school I'm panning on transferring to. Its University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and I just thought it was a branch of University of Maryland. But am I wrong? I'm just paranoid now that having a degree from there won't do me good? Lol... My advisor highly recommended the school. But now you guys got me thinking. UMUC is a regionally accredited school.
     
  7. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    UMUC is interesting. They market themselves towards military stationed abroad, so they have a lot of government-esque majors (like yours!) and have a decent reputation in the DC area. They also have the plus side of looking like a brick and mortar institution to someone in any state outside of Maryland/DC/VA who hasn't heard of them before.

    I would see if you can't find someone who is working in your desired field. Contact UMUC and ask for contact info for alumni from your major. Go online and find a cyber security forum and ask what their opinions are.

    I can say that in education, a degree from UMUC would be worthless. You NEED the face time in front of kids, and you need to practice teaching lessons in class to live bodies of your colleagues for feedback. For what you're doing though? It may be perfectly fine--but the only people who can tell you are those who have the jobs you are looking to get in the future.
     
  8. RedHotDobe

    RedHotDobe aka RedHotBabe

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    I don't believe they're in any way affiliated with UMD, other than sharing a name. I go to UMCP. You should just go there. :D
     
  9. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    They are completely affiliated. Heck, their building is actually right on the UMCP campus, behind the track.

    http://www.experienceumuc.com/2012/06/whats-with-name-umuc-lot-actually.html

    But yeah, go to college park--it was awesome :D
     
  10. RedHotDobe

    RedHotDobe aka RedHotBabe

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    Weird. That's not what my advisor made it sound like.
     
  11. RedHotDobe

    RedHotDobe aka RedHotBabe

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    Wait, I don't take back what I said. I just read that again, lol. They are part of USM, but not part of UMD. Towson, Salisbury, Frostburg, Bowie, etc. are all part of USM. UMD is UMCP.
     
  12. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    We're on the same page, I think. It's a state university. (UMD is also Eastern Shore, Baltimore, and Baltimore County) :D

    Far more legitimate than the online degree mills that started popping up 10-15 years ago.
     
  13. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    (sorry for hijacking the thread, lol)

    Thanks guys. I am definitely going to e-mail the program director of Cybersecurity at AACC to find out more confirmed details.

    I know they have lots of higher education programs, too, now. Over on the Shore, you can get a bachelors degree in certain majors from Salisbury and UMD etc.
     
  14. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    But see, those ARE things that I need to know to get a teaching job in a zoo. Zoos have actual classes, summer school, homeschool classes, special ed classes - real classes that need real lesson plans and have to meet real state standards. A zoo is SO much more than just an animal collection. We even have a full-fledged accredited preschool at our zoo. Assessment of learning is even part of AZA standards for accreditation.

    What got me thinking about online stuff is that one of the community colleges around here offers TONS of online courses. Of course nothing Master's level, but still stuff that would be useful. So if I needed prereqs before going into an education related master's program, I could likely get them done there.

    Thanks for all the input so far!
     
  15. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    Nifty! FYI, there were no prereqs for the education side of things in virginia. Lots of prereqs for my concentration (secondary math). I needed so many undergrad credits in each of the different math topics.

    If you are going to be teaching large groups in person, then I would make sure my degree offered the chance to teach large groups in person while I was getting it. I'd also think about what age you want to specialize in. An early childhood education degree (preschool) looks very different from elementary (where they will focus heavily on reading strategies and number sense) to secondary (where you can pick one subject to concentrate in). I have not heard of anyone who got a degree in "general all ages education", and would be leery about a program offering that.
     
  16. RedHotDobe

    RedHotDobe aka RedHotBabe

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    Oh yes, much more legitimate. I think we agree, but are saying the same thing completely differently. :p It's confusing. I don't think Eastern Shore, Baltimore, and Baltimore County are actually part of UMD/UMCP. A degree from UMCP says University of Maryland. A degree from one of the other "UM" colleges won't say University of Maryland, at -location- like other state universities with various locations. Eastern Shore, Baltimore, and Baltimore County are each separate entities, I guess is what I'm saying. You can go to University of Maryland at Shady Grove and get the same degree you would had you taken classes at College Park. I think I'm just confusing myself at this point.

    Thread thoroughly hijacked. Everyone just go to UMCP.
     

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