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I am just looking for input regarding doing an online degree vs a traditional face to face degree.  I am working at an elementary school where they would offer to pay 1k/semester (not enough to make much of a difference at over 6k/semester), but it would take an extra year (3 total) to complete the program. Does anyone have any advice or just their opinion?

 

 

Thanks!

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It may depend on personal preference. Have you ever taken online classes before?

 

I personally would not consider pursuing an online degree. I get so much from going to classes and interacting with professors and fellow students. I am in a post-bacc program and was forced to take an online class last semester. It was not a good experience for me, but it was only one class so I can't make any sweeping judgements. Also, I am fortunate enough to be in a situation that allows me to focus all of my energy on school. I understand that many people have obligations that go far beyond just academics, so an online program might be the best fit for someone else. My advice from my own experience though is that if you could do either, face to face is the way to go.

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From what I have heard, there is zero difference on your degree. It's your licensing and your degree that gets you your jobs and allows you to work as a SLP. There's no stigma against an online degree, anyway, since it comes from a legitimate institution.

 

However, since you don't get that face-to-face interaction, it will create a barrier for building relationships with your classmates and instructors. If you've already made professional contacts and networked at your job, you might not care for this anyway. 

 

Online programs also force you to really be in charge of your education. YOU have to be proactive in setting aside time for your studies and such. It takes a lot of will power to not procrastinate and to stay on top of everything.

 

You should contemplate if this is worth it for you. Yes, you get $1k paid off every semester by your employer, but it extends your tuition an extra year, so the fees increase anyway. Also, take into account that most online programs also charge an additional distance education fee. BUT, you get to work, and you get to have your bills paid while you're going to school. What are your needs and obligations? If you *can* attend a residential program, go for it, but if you can't due to financial or career obligations, online programs are fabulous opportunities. Designate an area of your house to be distraction free for your studies, and create a time schedule that you're forced to follow. 

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Even though the courses are online, you will still have to do supervised clinical externships, right? So you aren't missing out on personal interaction or the hands-on learning experience. As far as I know, distance programs generally have cheaper tuition. The only real cons I can think of are that you might miss campus amenities like access to the library and gym. Also, I wouldn't mind the program taking a couple of semesters longer to finish if it meant I could still work full-time during. Seems solvent in my opinion!

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Distance Ed can be great for those people who have a family, can't move to just any campus they get accepted to, and want to work during the coursework.  It also takes around a year to a year and a half longer than the traditional campus programs.  I know for the ECU distance ed program, you are strongly advised NOT to work full-time during the 2nd and 3rd years of the program due to the time you will spend in the field / internship / externship.  I also teach school (music ed), and had to choose between three on campus options, and 1 online option.  It came down to a matter of being done in 2 years, less tuition overall, and since I'm out-of-field, getting face-to-face interaction with my professors on a regular basis, which I prefer.  The distance ed program would have been great if I could have taken my % of employment down to maybe 60% or even 40%, work 2-3 days of the week at the school, but that's just not how most schools handle part-time personnel - it's usually some part of every day rather than just a few days of the week, so I think that with that scenario in mind, there wasn't really a way I could continue to work part-time and put everything into the DE program that I probably would need to.  

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Even though the courses are online, you will still have to do supervised clinical externships, right? So you aren't missing out on personal interaction or the hands-on learning experience. As far as I know, distance programs generally have cheaper tuition. The only real cons I can think of are that you might miss campus amenities like access to the library and gym. Also, I wouldn't mind the program taking a couple of semesters longer to finish if it meant I could still work full-time during. Seems solvent in my opinion!

 

I believe you have to find your own externships, whereas residential campuses find them for you.  And I know CSUN and Nova both charge additional distance education fee on top of their tuition, so it costs more. I have not heard of any programs being cheaper.. Which ones do you know charge less? I'm interested, JIC I don't get into any programs this year.

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Thanks guys! I really appreciate your feedback. I am hoping to be accepted to a traditional program, but I know I will need to weigh out the pro's and con's if that's the case to make a final decision. I really love the interaction between peers and faculty which is my primary drive to be accepted into a traditional program. I had an interview at Mercy College last week and I really loved the faculty.  It would be hard to give that up to do an online program.  It would also be hard to give up a decent salary :(

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I believe you have to find your own externships, whereas residential campuses find them for you.  And I know CSUN and Nova both charge additional distance education fee on top of their tuition, so it costs more. I have not heard of any programs being cheaper.. Which ones do you know charge less? I'm interested, JIC I don't get into any programs this year.
Nevermind! I just double-checked and the distance fee at the school I had in mind was actually more. Whoops, sorry.
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I'll agree with kcald on this one:  it's a matter of personal preference, knowing you learning style, and, of course, what is possible/feasible given one's personal situation.  I chose an online programme because we ended up moving to a city a couple of months ago (and we are *not* moving again!) where there's only one school and I didn't get a good vibe from the department when I initially contacted them.

 

The online experience can be good:  I'm taking a couple of pre-reqs this term and found a pal in each of them fairly early on (and one or two good classmates, wherever they are, is worth a lot to me).  I've also had one fantastic learning experience, as the instructor is extremely good and highly responsive.  The other experience is dismal, and although I don't think that is a result of the online nature I DO think its poor quality is facilitated and enhanced by the fact that the instructor is, well, distant.

 

One thing that necessarily occurs in online courses is the delay in feedback:  one student asks a question, another student sees it the following day, the instructor responds 24 or 36 hours later, other students see the response.  In a classroom setting, all of this happens in real time and everyone present is on the same page.  That can be a nuisance, but in my opinion it's surmountable.

 

I also think that the experience in a cohort-based graduate programme, whether online or on-campus, is going to be much different than the experience of a few online courses outside of a degree programme.  In one semester, there's simply not enough time to forge relationships and, as many of us know, there will always be students who are at different levels or who aren't as motivated.

 

In the end, it's a personal decision, but it's a good one for me!

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  • 11 months later...

Choosing between a traditional and online program is ultimately a personal decision!  If I had the choice, I would pick traditional, just because you have that one-on-one interaction in the classroom.  You have a better opportunity to build a rapport with your professors as well as your classmates/future colleagues.  Also going to class keeps you motivated.  Even as an undergrad student, I had to take online classes for a few semesters and over the summers.  While it is really convenient, it definitely requires a lot of self-motivation on the learner's part and that in itself is can be a major challenge.  I also find that knowing and becoming acquainted with classmates can be helpful, as you can work together, bounce ideas of each other, and just be a support system for each other through the whole process.  It may seem like something one can do without, but as a student who gets anxiety a lot with academics, I have found this so important during times of stress.

 

That all being said - I understand that some of us can be in different points in our lives or have different responsibilities and priorities to take care which makes an online program more practical for their individual lifestyle.  I even have a classmate who has some personal situations and is going to apply for online programs next year.  So if you are up for the challenge and find that an online program is more fitting and worth it for you, then go for it!  But if you find that it is not crucial, I would stick with a traditional program.

 

Good luck! :-)

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I applied to three distance programs and two on-campus programs at three different universities for my masters in SLP this year.

 

While I was completing my undergraduate education I took several online courses. I really enjoyed the dynamics of online learning, so much in fact, that I decided to do my SLP post-baccalaureate entirely online. It was a wonderful experience and I loved my post-bacc program. I learn best when I am online where I can take my time and really absorb the information. With that said, there are certainly pros and cons to online learning. One main con to online learning is having to really work hard to develop those relationships with professors and other students. Networking is much more difficult in an online environment, but it is not impossible. Also, it is certainly helpful to know your way around a computer when taking an online class. I had a few classmates who really struggled with the basic computer knowledge and formatting required for each class.

 

A huge pro to online learning, for me, was the time saving aspect. When I was an undergrad at a large university I had to drive to campus, take the time to find a parking spot, walk the additional 10-15 minutes to my campus classes, and then go back again after classes were over. I always felt that my commute time cut into my study time. I study best when I am at home so I loved the fact that I could start my online course in my own home office and then study right after my class without having to worry about the commute. I have a six year old daughter and I work as well so online programs are definitely helpful in that aspect.

 

When it comes to the field of speech language pathology, a large part of our graduate experience will be working with patients. Patient interaction will be much much obtainable in an on-campus program, so I think that it is essential for online students to work hard to seek out similar patient interaction during each semester. One criticism of online SLP programs by professionals in our field  is that online graduate students do not experience the same level of patient interaction as on-campus students. Therefore, critics claim online students are not as readily prepared for the field as on-campus graduates. I personally believe it is up to the individual student to overcome this criticism and seek out clinical opportunities during their graduate education.

 

:-)

Edited by ballerina18
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Hi all,

When I began looking into speech path grad programs I had a young family, mortgage payment and many other responsibilities and obligations that made it totally impossible for me to consider attending a traditional campus program- online speech programs were Very new and my only option.  

The first online course was very stressful for me- mostly due to my limited computer literacy- that changed very quickly and I was hooked. I immediately fell in love with the idea of online learning. I sought out a few study partners in my cohort - and we became a close network of support and friendship for one another. We still plan a week each summer to meet and catch up despite living several states away!

Online learning requires self discipline, organization, lots of energy for late night studying, and an independent approach to learning.  The program I attended, Nova in Ft Lauderdale is a well organized and professional  masters program. I especially benefited from the Required weekly online one hour instructor lead class for each course. They also have/had a four semester calendar and several weekly on campus courses  which online students are/were invited and encouraged to attend.  For me and many of the others in my cohort it was the best of both worlds. 

I still hear lots of negativity from speech path's who completed campus programs- seems as though they consider online grad program speech paths , as lesser beings. I would discuss and debate this with any of them. And I am happy to chat/email and answer any of your questions.

Best of luck to all,

Lindaslp

email me at    marquis@nova.edu

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Thanks guys! I really appreciate your feedback. I am hoping to be accepted to a traditional program, but I know I will need to weigh out the pro's and con's if that's the case to make a final decision. I really love the interaction between peers and faculty which is my primary drive to be accepted into a traditional program. I had an interview at Mercy College last week and I really loved the faculty.  It would be hard to give that up to do an online program.  It would also be hard to give up a decent salary :(

 

 

Do you mind sharing what the interview process at Mercy was like? Thank you :)

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