Jason Puckett With great power comes great bibliography.

6Sep/08Off

Online degrees

I had occasion to chat with the director of a large academic library this week, and we talked a bit about online vs. face-to-face degrees.  I was putting forth the proposition that earning my MLIS online had given me a better grasp on instructional technology because the only contact I had with my professors was via the technology provided by my library school.  In fact, I think it gave me a good perspective on teaching techniques in general, since the program caused me to think about what was (and wasn't) working well for me as a learner as a result of the online environment.  It's been valuable to me as a library teacher and particularly as regards my work with instructional technology.

She said that she had been asked as part of a survey whether, in a librarian candidate, she valued online degrees less than face-to-face degrees. She said if anything she considered online degrees more valuable.  If I remember her point correctly, among other things it requires a self-motivated and engaged student to succeed in an online degree program.

It was a good discussion and I'd be interested in talking about it here, if anyone cares to comment.

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  1. I am graduating from an online program this December. Some classmates are already applying for jobs. One person who was interviewed was told that online programs are not as vigorous as face-to-face. Aside from the technological aspects, I believe online requires a higher degree of motivation, not just in the classwork itself, but to make sure you and the instructor understand each other, to form the kind of social contacts that detractors of online programs say can’t be done unless you’re at the school (in fact, they can and I and some of my classmates have done it, and I believe our relationship will last beyond the end of school). Each program (online and face-to-face) has its merits, and I believe that in many, but not all, cases the students who attend online programs are different from the students in face-to-face programs. There is a sense of more independence and self-motivation. These aspects should be used as positives when applying for a job.
    As for classwork, I have done some great projects. School is what you make of it, as one of my professors said. NMRT had a thread about what would you take again if you could do library school over again, and some of what they wished they had taken, I have done — grant proposals, management, business proposals, etc.
    I would not have been able to attend library school without an online program, not only because of distance problems, but I do not think I could sit in a class, as I did when I was in college (and I would have liked to have been online then, too!).

  2. I have talked to more than one person that felt online programs were a bit harder, in that they had more reading and more papers. I have not been to school in over 20 years and I have no idea if it’s true, but summer semester I spent 3-5 hours every day for over a month trying to get two 30+ page papers done. I only take two classes a semester and I feel like I work all the time. I also feel as if it’s up to me to work a lot of things out on my own. You can ask a question on the discussion boards, but answers aren’t immediate and you may have to wait a bit. You have to be patient.
    I don’t know if face to face classes have as much group work, which I would be interested to know. I feel like every online class I have, I end up in groups and it’s such an adventure as to who you’ll end up with and if you’ll be able to get organized enough to get things done well!
    I also would not have been able to do this without online classes. About half have been quite good and half have been not so good, but it’s better than my old job!
    Jill


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