My DH and I just moved to Austria and I'm wanting to go back to school!!
We've been ttc for a year and a half and kind of thought we'd be arriving here with babe in arms and that it would be a good time for me to just stay home in the early months/years, learn German and take things slow...BUT thats not how things worked out : ) and its hard to get a job here without a BA, which I don't have. Also, I don't yet speak the language, although if we stay for more than a couple years I'm definitely open to getting some of my degree done around here... So for now, I'm wondering if there are any schools that have REALLY GOOD online programs? Just so I can get started and at least get some of the prerequisite classes out of the way... anywhere that really uses skype or other ways to REALLY interact with classmates/profs?
I don't know anything about other countries, but many (most?) highly respected schools in the US offer online-only programs, and when you receive your degree an employer would never know that you completed your coursework online. I'm currently working on a nursing degree and doing half of my classes on campus and half (the less technical, english, psy, etc.) online. At the end of the day the credits are the same.
Don't make the mistake though that online classes are just a series of "click"s however. Reputable schools don't hand out credit that easy. Unlike physical classes where you can be tested on your knowledge and get a certain amount of credit for showing up, online classes assume that you have the book open in front of you, and therefore the tests really push you to have a deep comprehention of the material. Its easy to get questions wrong even with unlimited time and the book wide open. English was VERY writing intensive. I work 45 hours a week and have 7 credit hours going this semester as a single mom with a 16month old. I feel like I might drop over dead, and I would suggest to anyone not to over-book yourself with an infant. I feel jealous of moms who stay home all day with their kids, if that is an option for you it would be one to consider.
I've taken several graduate courses online, and the quality has varied.
With the first university, lectures were not recorded, and I did not enjoy the experience. The second course did attempt to use Skype, but several times there were technical difficulties.
At my current university, lectures are recorded and available online. This works much better for me, since the actual classes meet during the day. It might also be good for you with the difference in time zones.
The format of the courses depends a lot on the professor.
One course required a great deal of on-line discussion of the topics (much like MDC, except that we were graded on how many posts you made and the quality of the inputs), a weekly paper, a term paper and a presentation. This turned out to be quite interactive in the virtual way.
I had another course which had essentially no message board discussion, it was all weekly (individual) homework assignments and three (closed-book, closed-note, timed, proctored) exams. I learned a lot, but didn't get to interact with people.
The third was in-between: some discussion online, some projects done in groups, one open-book exam, perhaps some individual homework, and a final group project with presentation. I also liked the interaction of this course.
I agree that there are good programs out there. My degree program is an online-only degree offered by Arizona State University, the state's largest university and one of the largest in the nation. I'm not saying bigger is better but it is a legit school and not a diploma factory, etc. Like someone else mentioned, the program started off as an in-person program and then migrated to online only. While most of my classmates are local, there are a few that are out-of-state.
i was thinking of checking out a washington state school... as that is where i grew up and if for any reason i did need so go back for something i wouldn't be stuck having to find a place to stay as well : )
thanks for all the advice.. if anyone has any other specific schools that they really liked (or didn't like) that would also be really helpful.