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deezcornuts

Quality of Online Graduate degrees

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deezcornuts    2

So I've found a great job right out of my BSEE. But I still want to study.  Since my job requires travel I'm looking into online degrees.  I'm in CA so I'm leaning toward UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, or Stanford.

Who has finished an online program?

Which school did you go to and what program (Mostly want to hear details about EE programs, but listening to other fields is still helpful in college choice)?

How did you like it (quality of education), and did it yield a return on your investment as far as paychecks go (how much did it cost, increase in salary?).  

Tell me about the "hybrid" experience if you have one. (Stanford and Poly say it's partially online, but don't say how much, or how flexible).

 

I want nitty gritty details please. Real opinions and facts. I've done my own research, know whats out there and made some comparisons but I just want to hear it from some real students that have finished or at least made it a good way through the program.  Thanks!

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Dleg    2,501

I did a fully online masters degree, but in enviro eng./sci.  through Johns Hopkins.  And I am starting courses again later this month to work on a graduate certificate in public health, through a different school. I really enjoyed the online learning environment, especially the forced interaction with your classmates.  That added a whole new dimension that I have never gotten in a regular classroom setting.  I am sure that all schools will be slightly different, and in my experience every course was different, too. Some courses had pretty much no "lectures" and only assignments followed by discussion, and others had pre-recorded lectures you could watch whenever you wanted.  Some used live sessions as well, but only as optional "office hours" but these were often very useful.  Some courses used them to provide additonal lectures, and others required attendance and student presentations.  I have non-engineer coworkers who are currently taking online courses and one school (Tulane) requires live "attendance" at online lectures, and another (George Washington) is all pre-recorded.  But I think all of them require discussion posting in a forum-type setting.  

So yes, I think online master degrees are very much worthwhile, but you should do your homework and make sure the program you enter will fit in with your work schedule and lifestyle.  Online courses can be quite time consuming with the discussion addition, compared to in-person courses.  I had to work 4 weeknights plus both weekend days every week to keep up with 2 online classes, while I only needed 1 weeknight and half a saturday or sunday to keep up with an in-person graduate engineering course I took last year. 

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knight1fox3    4,424

I did a fully online masters degree in EE with an emphasis in power systems at Michigan Tech (at the recommendation of @mudpuppy). I won't get into too many specifics but it was literally the most difficult thing I've done in my professional career. So definitely not for the faint of heart. As to your other questions, see below. HTH.

On 8/12/2017 at 9:59 AM, deezcornuts said:

Which school did you go to and what program (Mostly want to hear details about EE programs, but listening to other fields is still helpful in college choice)? See above and reference link.

How did you like it (quality of education), and did it yield a return on your investment as far as paychecks go (how much did it cost, increase in salary?). Excellent return on investment in terms of building my professional engineering portfolio. I'm only about (1) year post completion so it's difficult to gauge employer ROI. Though I did take a number of courses offered in the curriculum that were centered around the development projects I was working on at the time. In addition, as far as internal professional advancement goes (promotions, parallel paths, etc.), with a BSEE + MSEE, there are new proverbial doors that are available for me to go through which may not have been otherwise "unlocked".

All said and done, the MSEE degree had an overall cost of $35k (out of state). Which I paid mostly out of pocket and was only employer-reimbursed for about (3) semesters due to my eligibility with being new with my present employer.  

Tell me about the "hybrid" experience if you have one. (Stanford and Poly say it's partially online, but don't say how much, or how flexible). Can't really comment on this as it my degree was completely online and the only time I set foot on campus was to walk across the stage to get my "diploma intent" paper. 

I want nitty gritty details please. Real opinions and facts. I've done my own research, know whats out there and made some comparisons but I just want to hear it from some real students that have finished or at least made it a good way through the program.  As mentioned above, this certainly isn't something to embark on if you're not willing to devote an extreme amount of dedicated effort. For me it was a true testament of work/life/school balance. In addition to school and my full-time job, I was also running a small business and doing consulting engineering work on the side. There are some days I'm not sure how I survived it all. Originally I tried one of the more local universities to my area thinking I would get more out of it in a classroom setting than online. But with a full time job and having a family, this proved to be too challenging. The online format was much more suitable to my schedule as I could watch lectures on my own time and even re-watch if I wanted to reinforce certain concepts. Most of the time the lectures were recorded during the regular week (i.e. they weren't recycled from previous years). Homework was generally submitted online or emailed and questions could be posed prior to lecture such that they were able to be answered on the recording. Exams were definitely a challenge as you had to have a proctor give you the exam. Generally we were allowed the weekend to work these but there were a select few that had to be submitted during the regular work week. For those, I generally took 1/2 days off of work and the local libraries offered exam proctoring services as part of a standard membership. I was able to usually find a core group of people to work with online who were in the same course as me. The online collaboration tools available today are pretty fantastic (Google Hangout, GoToMeeting, Google Docs, Google Drive, etc.). I butted heads with a couple of professors, but in the engineering world, who doesn't? So often there were challenges in getting a hold of someone on campus with me being a distance-learning student. But it can be done if you are willing to put for the effort. 

Hmm...I guess I did get into specifics. LOL

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