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  1. #1
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    Online Masters Degree - What are your thoughts?

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    I am finally getting serious about furthering my education (and more confident in taking on the debt, which has been my biggest reason to not continue my education). Unfortunately, the degree I want is not offered in my area. USC offers the exact program I was thinking about but I am on the other side of the country and would need to take all online courses. I am not sure how I feel about this. I love social interaction. I love the classroom setting. On the other hand, I know I can be dedicated and get the work done on my own. I just really like the idea of physically attending classes, sharing dialogue with others, etc...

    Has anyone here completed their masters online? What was your experience like?

    I am going to call around to the local universities to ask them if there is a way I can take their similar program but tweak the specialization. I don't know how much success I will have with that but I think it is worth a try. Especially because I could pick up work teaching classes at the school and have my tuition significantly reduced.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
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    What is the field of study? And is your bachelor's from an online program?

    In some ways, it really depends on the field of study. My husband has an online master's but it is in Network Security which is a highly technical field where 95% of the work happens online anyway. He did spend a week at the actual school near graduation to do some intense project work (everyone in the program did). He has had zero backlash in his career vs those with traditional degrees (actually, there aren't that many people who have his degree in his industry, so it's a bit of a novelty regardless of where it came from).

    That said, I recruit engineers and I recently sent a recruit to a group of hiring managers at one of our facilities and before they'd even met him, they formed opinions about his skills due to his online degree. Some of their criticism was correct in that he clearly didn't have the hands-on lab skills they'd like, but some of it was unfounded it that they assumed he wouldn't work well on a team and that he did the degree online because he wanted to slack. In reality, this is completely opposite from what I've seen of students because online degrees require a tremendous amount of self-motivation and dedication. Anyway, you may face a bias depending on the field in which you are interested.

    I know nothing about the perception of online degrees in the social sciences, so perhaps someone else can offer some observations in that area.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jacksonville area of NC
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    821
    My husband is currently taking classes to get an Associates degree on line. His is a techy type degree that has to do with networking and computer stuff and a lot of it is stuff he's been doing for years (both when he was in the Air Force and since he's gotten out). He discovered after he was laid off the last time that a lot of companies didn't care about his experience and only wanted to see a degree of some sort. So he started taking the classes. Good thing he is doing it on line since we had to move across state after he started due to where he was able to find a new job. But I really have no idea how HR dept look at online degrees vs classroom degrees. I know the masters I would consider getting I can't get on line anyway.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301

    Re: Online Masters Degree - What are your thoughts?

    My brother has 4 master's. He got all, but one online. He's a colonel and doesn't have time for in class attendance, but he's always believed in education so he's taken classes all his life. Seems to work well for him. His master's are diverse, national security, aeronautics, criminal justice and I can't remember the last one.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,176
    Four master's degrees?!
    That's so great! (I have 2, and sometimes get puzzled looks.)

    I think online education rocks!
    My long term and unfounded bias* is that USC could be overpriced, so I'd recommend doing some comparison shopping before you commit.



    *I grew up hearing USC called the "University of Spoiled Children," probably mostly by people who couldn't afford the tuition.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
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    Re: Online Masters Degree - What are your thoughts?

    To be fair the govt pays for my brother's education. It's a blessing for him. He was going for his PhD, but just can't seem to find the time with his job. He's still taking classes here and there though.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
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    5,203
    It depends on the field of study. I have two masters--both traditional (before online degrees were an option). I do have a couple if professional certifications from online sources.

    I occasionally think of getting an MBA online, but I come to my senses pretty quickly. I don't need a degree to becomes an expat in the south of France...which is my next project.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,394
    I think an on line degree would be fine in a lot of fields. I considered an on line masters in counseling at U Mass Boston, which required a summer session on campus. The program was set up for people in other countries/states who have no access to any counseling programs. In the end, I decided against it, because as a career changer, I wanted the experience of going to school full time, on campus. This was my second master's (the first is in Special Education), and I did my first one part time, at night, while I was working. Since I had never had the real "on campus" experience, even as an undergrad, due to a lot of reasons, I decided this was it, albeit, a bit late.
    My older son took a couple of courses on line for his degree. Let's just say, that if you are not super disciplined, don't do it.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NoVa
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    305
    Thanks all. As for shopping around... unfortunately I am having a hard time finding another school that offers this specific program. It combines marketing/market research and communications management. I am outside of DC so any of the local programs combine communications with politics or international relations. USC is the first I have found that offers a masters that combines communications and market research, etc...
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubysoho View Post
    Thanks all. As for shopping around... unfortunately I am having a hard time finding another school that offers this specific program. It combines marketing/market research and communications management. I am outside of DC so any of the local programs combine communications with politics or international relations. USC is the first I have found that offers a masters that combines communications and market research, etc...
    Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but just in case -- Integrated Marketing Communications at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

    http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/imc/default.aspx

    They have an online program:

    http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/imc/imconline.aspx


    (Medill has offered a Masters in Advertising for years. Back in the late '80s they developed programs in Direct Marketing and Public Relations, then they combined them into the IMC program.)
    Last edited by ny biker; 01-24-2013 at 07:02 PM.

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubysoho View Post
    I am finally getting serious about furthering my education (and more confident in taking on the debt, which has been my biggest reason to not continue my education). Unfortunately, the degree I want is not offered in my area. USC offers the exact program I was thinking about but I am on the other side of the country and would need to take all online courses. I am not sure how I feel about this. I love social interaction. I love the classroom setting. On the other hand, I know I can be dedicated and get the work done on my own. I just really like the idea of physically attending classes, sharing dialogue with others, etc...

    Has anyone here completed their masters online? What was your experience like?

    I am going to call around to the local universities to ask them if there is a way I can take their similar program but tweak the specialization. I don't know how much success I will have with that but I think it is worth a try. Especially because I could pick up work teaching classes at the school and have my tuition significantly reduced.
    Rubysoho, this is what I do for work. I am at Oregon State University and our website is ecampus.oregonstate.edu -- we do not have the degree online that you are looking for, but I can tell you that a well designed, instructionally sound online course has all of the elements of interaction, and more, that an on-campus class has. Most times, there is more interaction. If you have questions, I'd be happy to talk on the phone with you. Even though we don't do the degree you want, I can talk to you about good programs and what to look for.
    Last edited by TrekDianna; 01-24-2013 at 04:34 PM.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Oregon
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    471
    Oh, and one other thing. There is no way anyone knows that you earned your degree online at Oregon State. The courses show on your transcript the same way and your actual degree is the same as in the classroom.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    U.S.
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    I completed my masters program online - and am considering doing another. For my program, the classes were synchronous (and recorded, so I could revisit the lectures), we had group projects (meeting in virtual classrooms, when necessary), proctored exams, a bulletin board for questions/collaborations, and access to our professors via email/phone. Pretty much everything it would have been in a traditional program - except it was virtual. For me, it was a great decision. If I had waited to enter a traditional program, I'd probably still be waiting.

    Btw...I found doing a synchronous program to be most beneficial. I had previously taken an asynchronous course, and found it really difficult to stay motivated.
    Last edited by tcloud; 01-29-2013 at 07:14 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NoVa
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcloud View Post

    Btw...I found doing a synchronous program to be most beneficial. I had previously taken an asynchronous course, and found it really difficult to stay motivated.
    I could see this with myself as well so I will try to remember it while I look at my options.

    The whole going into debt part still bothers me. I want to make sure that on the other side of this I will truly benefit from having an MBA. I think I will look at part time options since it would be easier to pay for as I go along rather than rushing to complete 33-35 hours in 18 months/2 years.

    TrekDianna, thank you very much for your offer. I will definitely be in touch after this weekend (my mother will be in town).
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dallas metro
    Posts
    169
    Franklin University in Ohio has a Marketing & Communication degree.
    http://www.franklin.edu/degree-progr...-communication

    I did the general MBA with them online. It's an 18 month program but it took me about 3 years, partly due to cost and partly due to my work schedule.

    My experience with it... Different schools have different methods of learning, so look into that too and figure out which method works for you. I chose Franklin because it isn't all team based. Yes there is some team work, but a large part of your grade is from individual assignments. I took one class from a different school, and it was 100% team work. Sucks when you have someone on your team who never does anything!

    Some, like Daniel Webster, give you your syllabus week by week, which really didn't work for me. Franklin gives you the entire class syllabus 10 days prior to the class starting which is great. I could look ahead and if I had a busy week at work coming up, I could double up on the work the week prior for example. One class I wrote almost all the papers for the class during one week!

    Usually there is some sort of online 'classroom' to use. For team meetings we all got together once or twice a week and chatted about assignments. Most interaction was done via email or a message board.

    Does your employer offer any tuition reimbursement? I was able to get about $5500 per year reimbursed. Don't forget FAFSA - I applied there and was able to get a loan to cover the cost of tuition, some was interest free and some wasn't. That was before I knew about the tuition reimbursement - once I figured that out I was able to pay the loan off rather quickly.
    Last edited by pumpkinpony; 02-02-2013 at 09:40 AM.
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