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Schools Online college advice

  1. Jun 15, 2016 #1
    To be honest, my life right now has hit kind of a rough patch. I'm living in the middle of nowhere with no little job prospects, no transportation, and working a dead end part time job. For a long time I've been fascinated with the hard sciences and have begun thinking about pursuing a degree in physics or chemistry but right now it seems my only option would be online. I don't suppose anyone would have any advice.
     
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  3. Jun 15, 2016 #2

    DrSteve

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    Why not start with some Coursera or EdX courses? They're free. A former colleague at U of Arizona just taught what is been dubbed the world's largest astronomy class on Coursera last spring.
     
  4. Jun 15, 2016 #3

    CalcNerd

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    Be selective and choose a reputable online program. Some are affordable and if taken from a state accredited program should qualify for financial aid or loans for the classes, at least. This could help you actually even graduate from such a program. It is much easier said than done, BUT it is doable!!!
     
  5. Jun 15, 2016 #4

    MarneMath

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    I haven't seen many online programs (actually haven't seen any) for physics or chemistry I suspect a large reason is that the challenge is figuring out how to handle labs . However, there does exist decent online programs for computer science and math. I know it's not exactly what you wanted but it's probably better than nada.
     
  6. Jun 15, 2016 #5

    ZapperZ

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    As of now, I haven't heard from, and have never met, any student in a physics graduate program in the US, who got his or her B.Sc degree purely from an online program.

    If you are one of them and are on this forum, and don't mind identifying yourself, please indicate that such a person I stated above exists. Otherwise, I will continue to have the impression that such a person has the same status as a unicorn.

    Zz.
     
  7. Jun 15, 2016 #6

    CalcNerd

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    Well, Thomas Edison State University of Trenton, NJ has an online program in Math and Natural Science (kind of a Physics lite) program. It is a recognized and accredited state university with both a Bricks and Sticks campus, but I suspect it has a very large share of Online students. People do graduate with a degree from there and it doesn't identify you as an online student or an on campus student. Is it as rigorous as a more conventional program??? That kind of depends upon how you acquire your credits to graduate. Often, they DO NOT have the class you need online for graduation, but they usually accept other state college coursework (any state accredited college) if the course is close to what their requirements are.
    .
    I have my BA degree in just such program.
    .
    My degree always seems to get extra scrutiny, but I was able to enroll in a physics graduate program years ago. I did not complete the program as I took work outside of the area.
     
  8. Jun 15, 2016 #7

    ZapperZ

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    1. Were you a purely online student, as in you took all of your courses online?

    2. If you did, did you enroll in a Physics PhD program and did you pass the qualifier before you left the program? If I may ask, where did you enroll in the graduate program, i.e. which school?

    Zz.
     
  9. Jun 16, 2016 #8

    jtbell

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    From the description of their http://www.tesu.edu/heavin/ba/Natural-Sciences-Mathematics.cfm [Broken]:
    Note the part that I put in boldface. 18 credits in physics would get you through about the second year of a 4-year physics degree program.

    The list of online courses at TESU shows only Physics I and II, an algebra-based course that uses Hewitt's Conceptual Physics as the textbook. I've taught a course using that book, targeted mainly at our middle-school education majors. I think it's a good book for what it is, but it's definitely not the sort of book that I would use for an intro course for physics majors. Maybe in a "pre-intro" course as a prelude to a calculus-based intro course for students who have not studied any physics previously.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  10. Jun 16, 2016 #9

    ZapperZ

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    Hum... if what jtbell said is true, then the degree certainly isn't sufficient for one to have enough background to go into graduate program in physics without taking a lot of remedial courses. So I'm definitely interested in what @CalcNerd did, how he/she managed to get into a physics graduate program, and if the degree was obtained entirely online.

    Zz.
     
  11. Jun 16, 2016 #10

    CalcNerd

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    No, I only took about 20-30 some credits of their online/distance learning courses. Nearly all of my course work is from various institutions spread across a wide range of schools. 2/3rds of my course work was in the class room. That said, I did not take an optimized course load for graduation. Nor was that my initial major, but it was a program that I was capable of graduating from when my company shut down half of their offices in the USA. I was actually in Thomas Edison's BS-EET program.
    .
    How did I even end up attending Thomas Edison State University (college at the time)? Well, they are one of the few institutions that will let you transfer more than 62 semester credits into their programs. That is something that is simply, not done anywhere else. Since I do have a strong love of physics, I had a plethora of spare physics course work that helped in my application to into a graduate program (for a Masters, Not PhD). Of course, being a paying student with my new company footing the bill helped a lot as well ie if you can pay, and have a decent background, most graduate programs will let you in, at least on a provisional basis.
    .
    I also took advantage of CLEP and department exams for college courses outside of my technical core of classes. That is why you will see me often suggest this as a way to get extraneous classes out of the way for the older focused student.
    .
    And as for my suggestion, without attending a Bricks and Sticks university, the above suggestion is as close as they can probably get. Thomas Edison is not a diploma mill, as they are selective in what they did allow me to transfer in or accept. All of my transfer course work was from other accredited colleges (most were ABET accredited fortunately for my particular needs, I am a PE and once needed my coursework reviewed by the NCEES to gauge my creditability to even possess a license, as a BA in any program is not accepted as a real education in my line of work).
     
  12. Jun 16, 2016 #11

    ZapperZ

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    Based on what you described here, I will then conclude that "100% online physics student with a B.Sc and enrolled in a physics graduate program" is still a unicorn.

    This is what I've been searching for.

    Please note that this is what the OP intended to do.


    Zz.
     
  13. Jun 16, 2016 #12
    Yeah, I have been finding that and was wondering if someone, somewhere knew of something I didn't. I guess I may need to look into a place with some cheap, on campus living options. Not looking forward to being 34 and surrounded by a bunch of teenagers though.
     
  14. Jun 16, 2016 #13
    Good thing is plenty of 18+ woman :)
     
  15. Jun 16, 2016 #14

    jtbell

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  16. Jun 16, 2016 #15
    Sure, problem is sorting the college SJW-types out from the ones I'd actually want to deal with.
     
  17. Jun 16, 2016 #16
    The closest example I could find is a person who did the following:
    100% Online BSc -> MSc, PhD (Europe) -> Postdoc (University of Colorado)

    If we relax the location criterion, the following paths are not unheard of:
    100% Online BSc -> Msc (UK) -> PhD (UK)
    100% Online BSc -> PhD (UK)

    If we relax the subject criterion, we have an interdisciplinary mathematician who did some work in biophysics:
    100% Online BSc -> PhD (Oxford) -> Professor (MIT)
     
  18. Jun 16, 2016 #17
    Care to provide some names for verification?
     
  19. Jun 16, 2016 #18

    jtbell

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    Where are the online BSc's from? The only such program I remember reading about here is Open University in the UK.
     
  20. Jun 17, 2016 #19
    https://jila.colorado.edu/kmgroup/bio/cousin
    https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/dst/staff/students/cohort1/ [Broken] (the first person on the list)
    http://www.paulruffle.com/career.htm - astrophysicist at the University of Manchester

    If we consider STEM in general:
    http://www.ncl.ac.uk/maths/students/induction/induction_usb/content/handbook/a-staff-in-the-school-of-mathematics-statistics.html [Broken] Two members of the academic staff at this one department got their first degrees from the Open University
    http://www.bris.ac.uk/chemistry/people/simon-r-hall/index.html

    .. and the MIT professor is Dr Max Little - http://www.media.mit.edu/~maxl/ He did an eColloquium when I was studying at the Open University

    All examples are from the Open University.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  21. Jun 17, 2016 #20

    ZapperZ

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    So how do you know that they did 100% of their program online? I read these links, and I can't find any such information. Unless I'm wrong, Open University has several campuses in the UK, am I right? And just because someone has a degree from Open University, does that automatically imply a degree program that was done entirely online?

    P.S. I'm only interested in the physics degree, and not anything else, in this context.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  22. Jun 17, 2016 #21
    Mr Diggle from Warwick lists his modules on his public Linkedin profile and none of them are residential, so there is your unicorn (not in the US, but still). But you may be right about the others. See below.

    There is one campus in Milton Keynes, which is used by academic staff and research students. There are several so called "regional centres", but those serve administrative purposes. During an undergraduate degree one could have done some on-site study in the form of
    - on-site tutorials (optional) and
    - residential schools (now phased out)

    There are very few tutorials, which are basically pen&paper problem solving sessions: during my entire degree I could have attended at most 13 on-site tutorials, each 2 hours long. Most modules switched to online tutorials and the remaining ones are likely to do the same. The tutorials are optional and attendance is neither tracked nor expected. I do not think they materially change the classification of the degree as fully online.

    The residential schools used to be five-day intensive lab sessions worth 5 ECTS / 10 CATS points hosted at local universities. Almost all of them have been phased out in recent years. There are currently none in physics/maths. But ten years ago a BSc in Physical Science required one to attend a total of three residential schools (giving 8% of total credit). From what I have gleaned, the maximum number of residential schools one could have put into a physics degree in the past was 2 pear year, in which case the degree would have been 85% online :wink:

    Yes, apart from the residential schools and sporadic tutorials. At least any degree after 2000, I have no idea how it worked earlier. I would be surprised if the OU ever had undergraduate classes / lectures in the traditional sense and they certainly have not had any in the last two decades.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  23. Jun 19, 2016 #22
    Open University.
     
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