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Distance Learning?

  1. Oct 12, 2004 #1
    Has anyone here obtained a degree online?
    What is your degree?
    From whom?
    What are your thoughts on the experience?
    Why would you recommend or not recommend it?
    How does the cost compare to traditional degrees?
    Any advice?

    I am considering pursuing a General Engineering degree from Kennedy Western.
    Any advice about them or the program specifically?

    Do you think not being in a traditional classroom environment with open discussions and give in person give and take with professors made it more difficult?

    What about admissions policies? Are they about the same as traditional universities?

    Kennedy Western says that you learn at your own pace and at your own schedule (which is important to me since I work late nights and odd days) does that mean if I can work say 60 hours per week, I can get it done in 1/2 the time?

    What about not having hands-on labs? (especially in a science field) How much of a detriment do you think that is?

    Is your schedule the only reason you chose an online degree?

    Do you think people in the field have the same respect for online degrees as they do traditional degrees?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2004 #2
    I am an engineering grad student at USC in Los Angeles. USC runs a really good online program with about 25 graduate degrees. I'm not an online student, but just about every graduate class is taught in the online studio rooms. You should check it out: http://den.usc.edu
  4. Oct 12, 2004 #3
    I am in my second year of an Associates in Applied Science and Technology program through Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey. The program costs me about $3000.00 a year (in-state rates) plus books. For that amount I can take up to 18 credits, as many portfolio for earned life experience credits or tests for credits as I can take.

    With each course you need to purchase books and in most courses you need to rent visual aides such as video tapes, which are available through the school's bookseller. The courses I've taken usually have been guided study with two exams and last about 16 weeks, or online with one exam and last about 12 weeks.

    If you are good at grasping concepts from books, without much assistance, then distance learning can save you time and money over traditional school.

    For those critics that say it is easy, consider these points: there is no credit for class participation, no curve for tests (it's just you against the material), no class discussion to aid in difficult concepts, and homework assignments cannot be slipped, you must complete every assignment to finish the course.

    Personally, traditional school is too slow for me, I get bored. I have found this challenging and I have learned a lot.

    The main drawback is that they have very few courses in my field (Mechanical Engineering). So I will have to find these courses elsewhere or present portfolios in these subjects to gain credit.
  5. Oct 12, 2004 #4
    Check the School's Credentials

    I would check to see if the school has an ABET accredited curriculum. If you plan on ever attaining a PE license and the school is not accredited, you will face some obstacles.
  6. Oct 12, 2004 #5
    That was another question.
    They are licenced to grant degrees, but not accredited.
    My assumption is the they are not accredited because they do not offer standard literature, social sciences, etc classes, rather just calsses that apply directly to your major (they do claim to meet or exceed secondary education standards).
    That is a benefit to me personally, but is a degreee from a licenced, but not accredited school, frowned upon in the industry?
    Someone told me it is seen as the G.E.D. of college degrees. Is that accurate?

    What is a PE licence, and what obstacles may I face in obtaining one?
  7. Oct 12, 2004 #6
    Thanks. I will definitely check them out!
    Not only is it a good school, but my girlfriend plans on going to USC for her Master's.
  8. Oct 13, 2004 #7
    A PE license stands for Professional Engineer license. If your university is not ABET accredited, you may have to either wait longer to take the PE exam, or depending upon your particular situation, you may not be able to take it at all. Having a PE license greatly increases your salary as an engineer. Not all engineering disciplines stress obtaining the license. What type of engineering are you looking to practice?

    Read this pdf

    and hopefully your questions about non-accredited universities will be answered.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S. You can go here to find an ABET accredited engineering school in your geographical area.
  9. Nov 3, 2004 #8
    You might want to read Dr. John Bear's book(s) (try a web search on the name) on getting degrees though non-traditional educational methods. But here's some additional info... "Licensed" to grant degrees usually just means the school has met some very minimal state requirements, and it doesn't imply any kind of accredidation. Also, a college can be accredited, but still have an engineering program that isn't accredited by ABET. Such an engineering degree would be considered "repectable" in industry, but you's have problems later on if you tried to get a P.E. license.
  10. Nov 3, 2004 #9


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    I'm going to pop this thread over to our brand new Education forum.

    [/moderator hat]
  11. Nov 4, 2004 #10
    My biggest worry when I was looking at online classes and degrees was, what if they just plain aren't worth as much.

    I was paranoid about putting in all that work and money, graduating. Then seeing want ads that say "great position for recent college grad, online degree holders need not apply". I don't think we will see this in the next couple years, but if a lot of these online degree programs show themselves to be nothing more then a, fly by night, way for someone to buy a degree with out doing the work, I think we could see it in the next 5 years or so.
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