Learn me about online college

HydroSqueegeeHydroSqueegee ULTRACAT!!!™®©Registered User regular
edited September 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So... im looking to possibly switch careers. Now one may ask why i would ever want to leave the exciting career of IT work and I would answer, "Its boring as shit!"

Now... if I was 10 years younger this wouldnt be an issue. However since Im the archaic age of 29 with a wife, 2 kids and bring in 80% of the income (with the wife looking to quit her job and stay home with the kids), things get a little tricky.

I have lots of free time at work. Just started a new contract a few months ago and I have literally nothing to do most days. This is a much better alternative to where i was before doing desktop support work, but we are overstaffed and the ones that do know what to do around here do what little work there is to do. Constant inquiries to my boss for something to do yield little work. So there is time to do some online courses here. At home, my time would be limited to the evenings. aka, after 9pm or so when the kids are in bed. I kinda have daddy issues from my dad never being home when i was a kid, so i refuse to take a lot of time out from seeing my boys.

So... The best alternative i can come up with after many months of pondering is becoming a teacher. Either Junior High or High school History, or Elementary. I've kinda been kicking myself for not going to school to become a teacher for a long time now.

My company offers 5k per year for schooling of whatever kind, so id figure id use that to get myself going.

Now D&D Denizens... where should I go? Who offers decent and halfway affordable reputable teaching degrees? I do have my associates from a tech school, so i doubt any credits will transfer.

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Posts

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Maybe ask to have this moved to Help and Advice - this question does come up sometimes - and spell check the topic

    Kalkino on
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  • yakulyakul Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Keep in mind that you'l have to do internships and 9 to 18 weeks of unpaid student teaching which means you can't have a day job then.

    I'm getting my teaching cert from Rio Salado College which has a pretty good online program, however they require a Bachelors in anything to start

    yakul on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited September 2009
    Moving this to H/A.

    Elki on
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  • HydroSqueegeeHydroSqueegee ULTRACAT!!!™®© Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    yakul wrote: »
    Keep in mind that you'l have to do internships and 9 to 18 weeks of unpaid student teaching which means you can't have a day job then.

    I'm getting my teaching cert from Rio Salado College which has a pretty good online program, however they require a Bachelors in anything to start

    by the time it comes to that, i would HOPE i have some moola saved to cover living expenses.

    HydroSqueegee on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I don't know about online teaching degrees specifically, but typically, online courses range from hard to brutal. I went to a pretty lame/mediocre private college in terms of academic expectations and the two online courses I took there were easily 3 times more difficult than an actual class.

    A close friend of mine is currently going for her bachelors in accounting at DeVry online and her course workload is absolutely draconian. She's reading massive amounts of text per week, usually writing multiple papers per week, and doing what are essentially 2-3 paragraph essays multiple times daily.

    If you go the online route, prepare to not have a life. The aforementioned friend is self employed, works a negotiable schedule, and is still slammed by the course.

    Also, teaching, at least for now, is a very low paying job and as someone pointed out, you have to go through a period where you are not paid.

    I served as a TA for a senior (in terms of rank) teacher at my high school and he said the pay was absurd, and that the only hope he had for a raise was moving out of teaching and into administration, which is apparently soul draining.

    With that being said, increasing teacher pay is somewhere, albeit low, on the Democratic agenda for 2009-2012, so the field could improve sometime in the next 2 to 5 years.

    Jasconius on
  • shugaraeshugarae Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Jasconius said pretty much everything I wanted to say. Going to school online is harder than people think. Which is why I switched to an evening program on campus to finish my degree... but that's a different story.

    I will add that many online colleges are EXPENSIVE. That 5k from your employer won't go too far at $1000-1500 per class (yes, per class). Some might be cheaper, don't get me wrong, but many of them make you pay a premium for "convenience."

    Also, I think some states require a master's degree to teach high school (9th-12th grades), but only a bachelor's for elementary and junior high (k-8).

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  • InvisibleInvisible Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I did a combination of online and on campus courses at my university and for the most part my online classes were much harder than my on campus classes. I don't know if it's because they felt they needed to make up for not meeting in person or if they thought cheating was a problem, but it was quite hard. It was also a lot of work in a short amount of time since some of my online classes ran only for a quarter but had to cover a semester's worth of material.

    Edit:
    I didn't go to an online college, but a traditional university that offered some online courses (usually taught by on campus professors).

    Invisible on
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I've taken one online course but we still had to go to campus to the Testing Center to take tests. Something to keep in mind.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Most of the mainstream online schools won't make you do that. They do have campuses, but they do not call for you to show up in person except perhaps the admissions process.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I actually work for a University English Department's graduate office! I can help with this! :D

    For any online college at any level, be it BA, MA, or PhD, there are some primary things you need to look out for:

    1) Accreditation. If they aren't accredited by the same institution that works with your area's State Universities, don't go there. You won't be able to use it at a public school and the educational content will be questionable. In the US, the institutions to look for are:

    * New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
    * Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA) Middle States, Commission on Higher Education
    * North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA-HLC) The Higher Learning Commission
    * Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
    * Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges
    * Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC-ACSCU), Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities

    2) Online Classes are Dangerous. While some programs offer online degrees (I work with one), there are problems inherent with the system depending on your subject. I would be very nervous in looking into an online program not associated with hard facts or technology. For a person-to-person subject like education, you will lose a lot of subject matter and skills in going through an online program that you would otherwise pick up in the classroom. This isn't always the case, but be sure to take a look at all of the classes offered regularly by the department and ask for a few syllabi to ensure they are covering appropriate subject matter. Online courses also are usually heavier in course load than face to face classes, and some will hold tests in on-campus labs (so be sure to check before enrolling if you will be unable to get to that campus).

    3) Education is not always Education. A lot of education programs teach the learning practicum but do not focus on your instruction choice. For High-School or younger, I would at least dual major in whatever field you are going into in addition to an Education degree. If not that, then major in the subject matter with a minor in Education.

    4) Seven Year Rule. Most institutions won't take transfer credit after seven years without a degree. Since you have your associates, this probably will work out fine. Just be aware that any random classes you may wish to take will require that you have them applied to a degree in seven years or they will not be able to be added to your program of study.

    29 is hardly old for college. While more than half are young 20 somethings, I see more and more folk in their 30s, 40s, and even 60s coming back to school these days. This means you'll face more and more difficulty getting into classes (our state university is hit with massive demand while suffering budget cuts that are keeping the amount of classes we can offer terribly low). This sort of situation is fairly common at public institutions right now, so be aware of the competition!

    Good luck!

    Enc on
  • ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Check your local university, some may have an online degree offering rather than going to an online college. The benefit is in state tuition and being able to go in and see a counselor if you need one. This is a big plus. And if you are planning in becoming a teacher there are programs that will pay off any student loans you have to take, look into those programs.

    I've taken at least 1 online class every semester I've been 2 school. Two were english classes, one was Anthropology, and now a 200 lvl Lit course. While I wouldn't say they were brutal you HAVE to be self motivated. There will be no one reminding you to log on and check your due dates. It will be all you, all the time. There are benefits. A friend of mine is taking online courses through his former university until he can get in state tuition here. Most of his classes allow for his to do the work early so that when he had a huge deadline at work he did all of his classwork early to clear two weeks of time so he could focus on work.

    Also, remember, if you get a masters in any subject you can always apply to teach at a Community College. The jobs aren't plentiful right now, but they might well be soon. I know that the CC I'm currently at is expanding their science department because so many people are choosing CC for pre reqs over 4 year institutions.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    #1 from Enc is very important. If you live in the South East, then you're going to have a hard time finding a "legit" program. I am not sure but I believe the North East/South West are a little bit more lenient.

    A majority of private universities in the southeast, especially in Florida, do not have accreditations that are compatible with state schools.

    This has more to do with the states being strict, than the private universities being lacking.

    Jasconius on
  • GahmriousGahmrious Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I'm working on my degree through DeVry. I take two courses every 8 weeks, and the workload is very tolerable. I'm considering taking three courses next term.

    Gahmrious on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Jasconius wrote: »
    #1 from Enc is very important. If you live in the South East, then you're going to have a hard time finding a "legit" program. I am not sure but I believe the North East/South West are a little bit more lenient.

    A majority of private universities in the southeast, especially in Florida, do not have accreditations that are compatible with state schools.

    This has more to do with the states being strict, than the private universities being lacking.

    SACS is pretty strict, but the real reason that there are so many private institutions in the southeast is that the states themselves have fairly lax laws concerning what can and cannot be considered a college or university. On one hand, you have a few decent schools like Full Sail that lack accreditation yet still provide quality education (though I have heard nightmares about them), but for the most part if an institution is not accredited it means that the University is a degree mill and cares more about stamping diplomas and cashing checks than it does about providing quality education.

    If you are going to resort to full-online, go to one of the state funded schools or ensure they are accredited with the names I listed. Especially if you plan on going into public education, as the individual counties and states will track your degree back to its source and dismiss you if it isn't accredited.

    Enc on
  • Count FunkulaCount Funkula Registered User
    edited September 2009
    My advice is: don't. I would say that if your job is decent-paying and your wife wants to quit her job to take care of the kids, you should just keep working in IT and maybe look for hobbies to get some excitement in your life. If your job is easy for you, you have free time at work (i.e. no one constantly hassling you to work harder or faster), I think you should count your blessings.

    I am in a very similar position and went "back to school" online about 5 years ago because I thought I wanted to be a graphic designer. I had no problems with the coursework, although I worked hard at it every night after work. When attending school online, you are really on your own for the most part and everything is on a strict time schedule. You have to be very disciplined and manage your time effectively. My wife and I did not have children at that time, so it wasn't too hard for me to block out the time. Now that we have a one-year-old son, I don't think it would be possible.

    Also, after I got my BFA in Digital Design, I decided that I was way too comfortable in IT to make a change. I have a decent work environment, a hands-off supervisor and decent pay and benefits. Now, I also have a large student loan that I have to repay as a result of my "thinking I might want to do something else."

    So, in the end, I regret my decision to get an online degree (on top of my original bachelor's degree in MIS from my college days.) You should give some serious thought as to whether the monetary burden, time cost and upheaval of your life (if you switch careers) are worth it to you.

    Count Funkula on
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