I have decided to pursue an advanced degree. I feel like a kid in a candy store at the possibilities. My number one choice is at my local University (one of the best in the country)...but also $50,000...whew!

I started looking elsewhere and am considering doing it online. I've looked at places like Walden University (Bill Clinton is the chancellor...is that good or bad? hmmmm) lol...

I have become interested in online education in Europe or Latin America. I'm considering doing my masters program completely in Spanish, (just because I can :-) and the cost is significantly less money. For example Universidad Carlos III de Madrid is a fraction of the cost (I think....I need to double check my euro conversions because I just eyeballed it.)

I guess I'm wondering what others know or have experienced with online education. Does it carry weight with employers? If I get a master's degree from a university in Spain, or Mexico, or Peru for example, is it considered a master's in the US? If I go to a school like Walden or Capella University that is "for profit" is it still a legit education?

Online degrees are an attractive option because I can fit it in wherever I want and have time for my son. It is an major investment though...

I apologize this it not related to Atheism (or religion)...put it under "critical thinking" lol...I just need some advice from people and a different perspective...thanks community :-)

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Hi @Belle,

What field are you interested in (and what degree level)?

One of the dirty little secrets of online education is that almost no one finishes their program.  Seriously, completion rates are less than 5%.   We human beings need to interact with other human beings in order to challenge and push ourselves and learn, and online courses are often the worst version of packaged lecture ever.

If you're just looking for the credential (like you need a degree to get a raise or a job you want), then you can try to skate with an online program.  Otherwise, they are very weak, with a lot of charlatans and fakes out there trying to take your money.  If you feel that because of your schedule some online work would be really helpful, find a regular university and take some classes in an online or partially online format.   Down the road that may change with improving technology, and it's starting to change a bit in terms of some computer science / learning to code things.  Right now, though, that's the lay of the land.

Talk to your local University.  If you are pursuing a graduate degree at a larger research university, tuition funding (and a job!) are quite possibly available depending on your field, and there are lots of other programs to support non-traditional/returning students.

Hi Dr. Bob (I love your name....my dad is also Dr. Bob, lol!!! Anyway...)
I am currently in a second Bachelors of Applied Science in Sustainable Practices...then I want to get my MBA, because I want to basically start my own companies...I already (technically) am a business owner as an interpreter. I am in the process of getting registered for interpreting/translating agencies and that is something I have the freedom to accept or decline appointments as I please. ( I create my own schedule)...I also have an (under the table) tamale business (shhhh) and basically sell to the local neighbors and their friend/families.

Without giving away my secrets :-) I am starting a business that focuses on sustainable education and sustainable development. It is in baby stages right now. I want the MBA mostly for myself as an entrepreneur. Not to impress some corporate exec. I am my own CEO, lol!!!

I'm thinking about Walden University because they have an MBA that focuses on entrepreneurship and small business...

If I end up going to the "good" school it would be a Technology MBA (TMBA) from the University of Washington (on campus)....or Western Washington University. they have a "weekend" program, Friday/Saturday...

MBAs can be a reasonable investment, though beware of the programs that are targeted primarily at corporate ladder-climbers.  Very expensive, and the questionable ethics will drive you a bit crazy.

In the MBA world there is a lot by way of part-time "Executive MBA" programs and some online options.  The professional schools that can do it find that's very lucrative.  As you know, I'm in a "pure" academic science discipline.

Lots of need in the sustainable area, but lots of competition (and a lot of quacks, too).  

I'd be inclined to look at U. Washington or Western Washington, but I'm way too far from my field to give any real advice I'm afraid.   There are programs on sustainability that are taught out of colleges of Natural Resources or Colleges of Sciences as well, but they don't get you the business component.   Still worth looking into, because they are more likely to get you a paid graduate assistantship which pays all your tuition, and which you could make work alongside your interpreter work.  MBA programs generally don't have graduate assistantships, so you have to pay tuition.

BTW: where did you get that 5% figure? (just curious)

It's pretty well known in the field.  MOOC completion rates are even lower. 

I think right now it's safe to say that while a lot of institutions are playing with the online thing (we certainly are), we really haven't yet figured out how to do it well.

 I thnk MIT offered some free robotics courses which at the end of the course you could get credit by paying a fee for the test

I'm not sure it's credit that one's actually paying for (although some courses are good for Continuing Education Credits), but actual proof of passing that you can show an employer. At least that's what I'm aware of for a lot of the MOOC university courses.

Our (U.S.) government has started to look at online universities that are targeting former military who are looking to further their education. Those under scrutiny are shamming the online students with creative financing that ends up substantially padding the online school's bottom line and leaving the applicants holding a considerable bill and little education. And the dropout rates are deplorable. Just a word of warning to be careful.....  

I like the idea of MOOCs, especially from top universities like Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Purdue, blah blah... there's a definite trend here. You'll only get a certificate on completion, so it's really just for personal advancement, which (as an old man near end-of-career) is all I want, but it's still a bit of documented proof to enthuse someone willing to hire me. Kind of like university extension courses, which I did benefit from decades ago. (I took a Berkeley course in data communications, long before the internet was born.)

I should add... several of my courses have been online, provided by where I'm going to school. I don't think college transcripts even specify whether the course taken was online or not, but in any case, there's no distinction between online and in-class courses in terms of credit towards a certificate or (AA/AS) degree. I'm often able to learn more online and make better grades because it's at my own pace, including the internet at my fingertips to consult other sources any moment I want other or more in depth details for a topic.

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