Quality Progress - December 2016 - 59


specializations or prescribed sequences
of courses designed to offer a student a
greater depth of learning in a broad topic,
such as managerial accounting or data
analysis. Specializations typically require a
few months to one year to complete. After
completing the course work, the student receives a certificate indicating the program

Today, distance learning
opportunities without
residency requirements are
far and wide.

of study and issuing university.
Based on my experience with MOOCs,
the information they provide and their for-

nously, meaning students can log in to

industry-specific training such as machin-

mat for learning is excellent. Also, accord-

their university's e-learning platform at

ing, computer-aided design or regulatory

ing to a 2015 study published by Harvard

any time to download assignments, take

compliance. For professionals seeking to

Business Review,4 72% of students who

quizzes or upload papers.

advance their formal education in quality

complete MOOCs report positive career

A synchronously delivered course, on

engineering and management, colleges

benefits such as getting a raise or finding

the other hand, follows a set class sched-

such as Arizona State University in Tempe,

a new job.

ule, and students tune in to a livestream at

California State University-Dominguez

a particular time. Webinars, for instance,

Hills, and Eastern Michigan University in

Online only vs. blended

are commonly delivered synchronously.

Ypsilanti offer highly rated and fully online

There are two university-sponsored

Certain instructors also require periodic

degree programs.

distance learning program distinctions

online meetings where all students attend

For me, advancing my formal educa-

that affect a program's flexibility and time

simultaneously via WebEx, Skype or simi-

tion was about preparing for future leader-

commitment: online only versus blended,

lar conferencing platform.

ship opportunities. For others, career
change or personal growth may drive their

and synchronous versus asynchronous.
An online-only program offers every-

Academic level

decisions to seek additional training.
But whatever reasons you have for

thing needed to complete your studies

Many MOOCs, trade school and under-

online. Blended, or hybrid programs are

graduate college programs are excellent

returning to school, today's world of

largely online, but they also require the

choices for someone with little or no

educational opportunities abounds with

student to periodically visit campus for

post-secondary education, or for someone

options to help you meet your goals. QP

a lecture series, presentation or similar

wishing to change careers or become

group activity.

more proficient in a skill set. Bachelor's

Cleveland State University, for in-

degree programs are generally designed

stance, offers a doctorate in operations

for students with at least an associate's

and supply chain management consisting

degree or equivalent.

mostly of online coursework, but students

At the graduate level, a handful of de-

must attend periodic research seminars

gree programs such as a master's in opera-

on campus.5

tions management or an MBA are offered

While an online-only program offers

to students with a range of academic and

maximum flexibility, a hybrid program is

professional backgrounds. Most graduate

still flexible, and offers students face-to-

programs, however, require substantial

face sessions with university faculty and

prerequisites, including a bachelor's de-

networking opportunities with fellow

gree in the same discipline.

students.

Area of study
Synchronous vs. asynchronous

For the quality professional, areas of

For the most part, instructional content

further study may include data science,

for online courses is delivered asynchro-

engineering, business management or

REFERENCES
1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Fast Facts: Distance Learning," http://tinyurl.com/distancelearning-facts.
2. Jacqueline Bichsel, "The State of E-Learning in Higher
Education: An Eye Toward Growth and Increased Access,"
Educause Center for Anaylsis and Research, http://tinyurl.
com/bichsel.
3. Ibid.
4. Chen Zhenghao, "Who's Benefiting from MOOCs, and
Why," Harvard Business Review, http://tinyurl.com/
hbr-moocs.
5. Cleveland State University, "DBA in Operations and
Supply Chain Management," http://tinyurl.com/csu-dba.

RAY HARKINS is the quality manager
of the Ohio Star Forge Co. in Warren.
He earned a bachelor's degree in
engineering technology from the University of Akron in Ohio, and is working on his MBA at Youngstown State
University in Ohio. Harkins is a senior
member of ASQ and an ASQ-certified
quality engineer, auditor and calibration technician.

December 2016 * QP

59


http://www.tinyurl.com/distancelearning-facts http://tinyurl.com/bichsel http://www.tinyurl.com/hbr-moocs http://www.tinyurl.com/csu-dba

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - December 2016

Quality Progress - December 2016 - cover1
Quality Progress - December 2016 - cover2
Quality Progress - December 2016 - 1
Quality Progress - December 2016 - 2
Quality Progress - December 2016 - 3
Quality Progress - December 2016 - 4
Quality Progress - December 2016 - 5
Quality Progress - December 2016 - 6
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Quality Progress - December 2016 - cover3
Quality Progress - December 2016 - cover4
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