Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Growing By Degrees

One of my fellow online students posted a link to Growing By Degrees (pdf; 280K), an interesting-looking paper by faculty at Babson (another institution very big into online education) and the Sloan Consortium. I have yet to read the whole thing - it weighs in at 28 pages - but another fellow student had this comment, which I thought was well-put:
I think we all had the foresight that distance learning had growth potential and we took the chance. Institutions that denied this market potential are presently in catch up mode. All the while, the WP Carey Online staff has had the opportunity to perfect their delivery model, and now have references (grads) to back up the program. ASU and the Online MBA staff have much to be proud of!!! The business risk paid off, and everybody will benefit from the program.
Anyhow - That's it!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

AP: Some Students Prefer Taking Classes Online

Thanks to one of my classmates for the pointer to this, via our class forums:

Some Students Prefer Taking Classes Online

Interesting article. The profile a senior working on his undergrad in Business. The article seems to unofficially focus on undergraduate degrees online. Personally, I think for your traditional college undergrad - 18-22 years old or so, no exceptional circumstances - in-person is more valuable, if nothing else because it takes care of the discipline for you. Yeah, you actually have to wake up and get out of bed, but that's about it - between taking attendance and knowing that may be the only way you'll get the material, you have plenty of external motivators to participate, without self-discipline of your own accord. With your average 18-year-old undergrad, discipline is not usually the first thing on their mind. With online, you must have much more discipline - You have to overcome the "I can just do it later", or "There's no attendance" factors. This is also noted in the article:
Then there's the question of whether students are well served by taking a course online instead of in-person. Some teachers are wary, saying showing up to class teaches discipline, and that lectures and class discussions are an important part of learning.

But online classes aren't necessarily easier. Two-thirds of schools responding to a recent survey by The Sloan Consortium agreed that it takes more discipline for students to succeed in an online course than in a face-to-face one.
Personally, having done both, I feel qualified to agree with the Sloan Consortium' findings. ;-)

Anyhow - The aforementioned profiled student did do his first two years of school in-person - this is more amenable to me. A lot of maturing goes on in those first two years. I did take one course via distance (old-school - by video) while pursuing my undergrad, in my third year or so. It also took more discipline - I did it while co-oping - so after a full day's work, I had to come home and pop in a Thermodynamics lecture - not exactly your exciting evening entertainment. ;-)

I'll close with one last quote, from ASU:

Administrators say the distinction between online and traditional is now so meaningless it may not even be reflected in next fall's course catalogue.

I know I've said it 963 times, but sometimes I enjoy beating a dead horse: Online continues to gain more acceptance, and universities not distinguishing like this is both indicative of that and enhances that acceptance.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

SHRM: Employers Warm Up To Online Education

A good read over at - the Society for Human Resource Management:

Employers Warm Up To Online Education

The main point that I found interesting was noted by PHH Mortgage and Drexel:
Even though the company also supports an MBA program taught on-site, employees favor the online school.
Sure, it's just one company and one school, but to me, that speaks volumes on how equitably those employees must view the programs.

The article also has several links to other articles referenced, which look like good reading, but I haven't had a chance to plow through them yet.