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On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 05:52 PM   #1
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On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

So I'm curious what others think. I have to actually spend some money to move further on this process and I wonder what I'm buying.

Boston University has an on-line Master's program that's perfect for me, just what I was looking for. Now I've always been hesitant to enroll in your online only schools, but Boston U. is an ancient and venerable institution. It ain't Harvard, but it ranks somewhere between top 40-60, depending on who you ask. My B.A. is from a University that's simply named, "third tier"!

The diploma won't say "online", but still, will this diploma still garner the weight one from walking on the hollowed ground of a top 50 university would? Should I learn the fight song in case I get tested by an alum in a job interview?
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 07:11 PM   #2
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Even though it doesn’t say online on the diploma, it would be pretty obvious since you would be working on the west coast while studying.

I would say there is a difference. We are interviewing for a position at my school. Many of the applicants have distance degrees from good bricks and mortar universities. Although they have not been excluded, they are considered lower rank than applicants who went full time. Also there is talk about the quality of their dissertations and the validity of grades.

However, it might be different in the US. It might be different depending on the major. And it might be different depending what you want to do with the degree. Also, these programs are getting more accepted all the time.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 08:37 PM   #3
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

I'm enrolled at a top 30 engineering school, and we have an "engineering online" program where you can get your Master's. I took one class that way and it is identical to the on campus class. The professor teaches in the "smart classroom" in front of the camera to a regular class, and it is recorded. A few hours later, the online students can download the lectures and/or watch them online. Same tests, same homework assignments, same projects.

I would regard it as identical from my school. Although I would look at the coursework taken to see what was accomplished.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

For most purposes, the degree and the learning will be the same, I suspect.

There are lots of social benefits to hanging around a campus, staying up late at night and discussing meaningless issues such as SWR calculations, but these are separate, and while valuable parts of life, they are not part of what your next employer cares about when they evaluate your education credentials.

But I hope that whoever looks at your resume considers a lot more than degrees, no matter how they were attained. When I was a dept head at a leading research university, I frequently got my well-degreed staff pissed at me because except for entry level hires, I usually always hired people based on their demonstrated capabilities rather than their pigskin(s). I did the same every place I worked.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 09:01 PM   #5
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Laurence,
I really doubt any employer will respect an online degree. If they don't know, they can't judge but here's my experience.

I got my BS from UCLA and it kicked my butt, look up Dr. Herrick and you will see why. I then went to work at Hughers and later TRW and at both places took Masters degree course via television at University Of Southern Californian (Trojans). Never attended class, collaborated with friend to get most work done.

I'm slightly embarrassed by saying MSAE from USC. It ain't the same.

My BS from UCLA is the Gold Standard. USC is just an after thought.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 09:13 PM   #6
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Really?

I've looked at scads of resumes and assume many of them included online degrees, and I never saw any indication in the resume or in the transcript, where I looked at those, that the degrees were "online". A few that I knew were online also had no indication of such.

While I did my grad school stuff the traditional way, my undergrad degree was sort of the predecessor to an online degree -- I took courses at various army bases worldwide over 12 years, and got my BA degree from a school that had a "university without walls" program without ever setting foot on their campus. The only evidence of this in the transcript was that each course was listed with the school where I took the course, and there were none from the school that granted the degree. There was no indication on the degree itself.

That didn't stop me from anything, including admission to one of the top 2-3 grad schools in the country in my field, or numerous j*bs afterwards that I probably had no business even applying for, but got anyway.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 09:35 PM   #7
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
I'm enrolled at a top 30 engineering school, and we have an "engineering online" program where you can get your Master's. I took one class that way and it is identical to the on campus class. The professor teaches in the "smart classroom" in front of the camera to a regular class, and it is recorded. A few hours later, the online students can download the lectures and/or watch them online. Same tests, same homework assignments, same projects.
I am an academic who has hired lots of junior faculty over the years. Virtual degrees at the Masters level usually require periodic weekends on campus in my experience, but the completely online ones exist, too. (No such thing as an online MD, thank heavens ).

While I would agree that the online Masters are a little bit suspect, in highly motivated students they can get the job done. What I do wonder about from a learning perspective is the issue of spirited question and answer sessions or candid discussions. Anyone can read the book, but brisk dialog and discussion, or hearing of a mentor's experiences was for me the most valuable part of going to class. Maybe some fields are less dependent on that kind of interchange.

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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 09:50 PM   #8
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Our ranked B school (where I work) has a full time in residence MBA, an Executive MBA (taught in another city in the state), and an eMBA. While they are all highly respected (especially in this state), the traditional program is more highly regarded, even by the college.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-05-2006, 11:22 PM   #9
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Well, there just isn't a way to fit a brick and morter school into my life, just not going to happen. The diploma doesn't say "on line" so I would have to say it can't carry that much of a stigma. After work reimbursement, the M.S. should cost me about 10k. I think it's worth the stretch, if nothing else, it will show the executives I'm currently negotiating with in the other department that I'm serious about the job. And I guess that's how I should evaluate it, not by comparing it to a traditional schooling, but rather, it's net benefit to me. Especially since the traditional experience is not an option.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-06-2006, 06:58 AM   #10
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Well, there just isn't a way to fit a brick and morter school into my life, just not going to happen.* The diploma doesn't say "on line" so I would have to say it can't carry that much of a stigma.* After work reimbursement, the M.S. should cost me about 10k.* I think it's worth the stretch, if nothing else, it will show the executives I'm currently negotiating with in the other department that I'm serious about the j*b.* And I guess that's how I should evaluate it, not by comparing it to a traditional schooling, but rather, it's net benefit to me.* Especially since the traditional experience is not an option.*
I think that's a perfectly reasonable choice. But I would suggest a further evaluation: what will the after tax return be on your $10k plus blood sweat and tears? Even if you can't get to a precise dollar estimate, it is worth walking through the mental exercise.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-06-2006, 08:06 AM   #11
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

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Originally Posted by OldAgePensioner
Laurence,
I really doubt any employer will respect an online degree. If they don't know, they can't judge but here's my experience.

I got my BS from UCLA and it kicked my butt, look up Dr. Herrick and you will see why. I then went to work at Hughers and later TRW and at both places took Masters degree course via television at University Of Southern Californian (Trojans). Never attended class, collaborated with friend to get most work done.

I'm slightly embarrassed by saying MSAE from USC. It ain't the same.

My BS from UCLA is the Gold Standard. USC is just an after thought.
I agree completely, both from a UCLA vs USC perspective and the live vs television one.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-06-2006, 08:40 AM   #12
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Laurence,

I've considered getting an online MBA through a highly-ranked brick & mortar educational institution, with the idea that my current employer will pay for it. Take a look at these links, which give you the pros and cons of online vs. brick & mortar:

http://tinyurl.com/9rlzl
http://tinyurl.com/etcx7
http://tinyurl.com/fv628
http://tinyurl.com/fntbg
http://tinyurl.com/flk42
http://tinyurl.com/fyakg
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-06-2006, 11:15 AM   #13
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Well, there just isn't a way to fit a brick and morter school into my life, just not going to happen.* The diploma doesn't say "on line" so I would have to say it can't carry that much of a stigma.* After work reimbursement, the M.S. should cost me about 10k.* I think it's worth the stretch, if nothing else, it will show the executives I'm currently negotiating with in the other department that I'm serious about the j*b.* And I guess that's how I should evaluate it, not by comparing it to a traditional schooling, but rather, it's net benefit to me.* Especially since the traditional experience is not an option.*
I think that's a perfectly reasonable choice.* But I would suggest a further evaluation: what will the after tax return be on your $10k plus blood sweat and tears?* Even if you can't get to a precise dollar estimate, it is worth walking through the mental exercise.
It's the 64k question, isn't it? I'm the front runner for that position that opens up next year, this would improve my chances, but I don't know if my chances need improving. Nonetheless, that position will pay me between 15-20k more a year gross. What I'm more interested in, however, is getting some job class portability. I've been working (directly or indirectly) for this company for 6 years now, and I started as a desktop refresh grunt, pushing a cart with monitors and computers on it. My B.A. is not in I.T. and I had to work my way up one step at a time, from refresh to desktop support, to executive desktop support (going to the President's house and fixing his home wireless network and palm pilot) to LAN administration, to special program network administration, to info systems security admin, to info systems engineer.

If I lose this job, or the work environment becomes such that I want to lose it, I think I'd have to fall back several rungs to land another job. I think I need that peice of paper that says I've been certified to have a brain, and have a depth and breadth of understanding in the field. I believe it will increase my long term bargaining power.

Plus, the value of an on-line degree from a ranked University is only going to increase in time, IMHO, as it becomes more accepted. I think I've made my decision. Thanks all!
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-06-2006, 07:11 PM   #14
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Laurence
I think this is a good decision. In terms of just the degree, I think an online one is somewhat lower level than the traditional one. But then factor in you get 2 extra years of work experience. Plus your learning will be practical because of your j*b. Also at some point a masters is a masters. At my place we’ve got an MA from a mail order university but with good experience and a Phd from Princeton who didn’t start working full time until 32. They are both the same age, doing the same j*b, and making the same money. Guess which one has no savings and is going to be working till he dies.

A couple of questions you might want to ask.
How many students are enrolled and what is the acceptance rate? Some of these places are looking at these programs as cash cows to be milked. If there are too many graduates, that would lower the quality of your degree.
What is the graduation rate? If it is too low it may mean they are making it too hard for working folk to graduate. If question 1 is high and 2 is low, it could also mean they let everyone in and then weed out the less desirable students after they have their tuition.
Does the program integrate your work in the learning process? This is where you have an advantage over traditional students.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-07-2006, 08:24 AM   #15
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

I was talking to the labor guys who work for the state placement agency. They said the school you go to had a bearing on your first job, but after that your work experience was more important. Your degree was the door opener, but what you have done in the real world is what gets you the job.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-07-2006, 08:52 AM   #16
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Laurence, I think an MBA from BU would bet a hell of an addition to your resume. It's a very well respected school, and if I were on the search committee looking at you BU would be what I see. I wouldn't care if it was online, because I'd trust BU to maintain the value of the degrees they grant. In fact, getting the degree while working would be another plus for you.

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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-07-2006, 09:09 AM   #17
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

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I wouldn't care if it was online, because I'd trust BU to maintain the value of the degrees they grant.* In fact, getting the degree while w*rking would be another plus for you.

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I think this line sums it up. If a college has a good reputation, it is on the whole college not part of it.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-07-2006, 09:39 AM   #18
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

Same opinion I've always had: I think you need it to get started and get in the door of some jobs, and some people wont hire you without a certain degree from certain schools. I wouldnt want to work for those folks.

It says:

1 - I acknowledge that reporting a certification from a particular place makes me look better than I am, think I am, or can present myself
2 - I have some money to spend on that
3 - I can show up somewhere, perhaps erratically, for a period of time
4 - I can take a test and pass it
5 - I may have learned something pertinent to the subject matter in the process

And on the other side, someone who sees that and believes that those attributes are valuable.

I looked at the schooling on the resumes of thousands of applicants for the hundreds of people I hired. It matters. But honestly, if I saw someone with 10 years of experience that got a BS from a cheap state school and someone with 10 years of experience that got an MS from an expensive school, all things being equal I'd take the one that went to the cheap state school. They probably had less money and opportunity, and made it work anyhow. And they're probably a lot more fun to party with.

Isnt it "Bricks and Mortar" by the way?

That having been said, I think you're right that the online degrees will carry as much weight in five years, if they dont already.
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-07-2006, 03:17 PM   #19
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

What he said-- you don't want to work for companies that don't respect an online version of a Bricks & Mortar U. I'm not so sure about Trump U but I wouldn't quibble about something like Boston.

One of my shipmates did his entire MSEE from Pearl Harbor (at his workdesk during lunch & evenings) from U of Washington. He was promptly hired by an EE construction/consulting firm near Corvallis OR and told that one of his job requirements was obtaining his EE PhD. One of his job benefits was that they'd pay for it.

So I guess online worked great for him...
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools
Old 06-07-2006, 03:32 PM   #20
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Re: On line degrees from Brick and Morter schools

BIL is the director of engineering for Mega Corp and while we were out somewhere with my oldest son I managed to maneuver the conversation to how they hire new engineers. I figure it can't hurt for junior to learn such things now rather than be crushed when he doesn't get "the job" he wants on graduation.

BIL said that while some of his colleagues worry about schools or GPA's, what he bases most of his decision on is how well an applicant has shown real world applications of what he has learned. The guy with an excellent GPA whose only job was working as a bartender at the local hottie pick up joint does not compare with a guy who has hobbies like rebuilding cars, worked as machinist and loves to talk about all the things he learned from his senior project designing and building a really great valve for a small manufacturing company.
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