Quality Progress - December 2016 - 58


CAREER CORNER

BY RAY HARKINS

Back to School
Countless options to consider for those seeking higher education
AS I WRITE this article, I am halfway

hours for graduate students. These credit

Distance or in-person learning

through a three-year, part-time MBA

hours approximate the student's hours of

When I first attended college in the late

program, and like one in three college

direct exposure per week to instruction

1980s, nearly every post-secondary

students today, I've chosen to complete my

such as lectures and labs.

program required you to physically attend

studies online.1 The graduate program I'm

In addition to the actual lecture time,

school. Today, distance learning opportuni-

attending is a distance learning, asynchro-

a popular rule of thumb states that for

ties without residency requirements are far

nously delivered, online program offered

each undergraduate credit hour, a student

and wide. According to a 2013 study, more

by a traditional university.

should expect two additional hours per

than 80% of educational institutions now

week studying, and for each graduate

offer courses online.2

After I decided to return to school, I
spent a year studying educational options

credit hour, a student should expect three

that would best fit my situation. Like most

additional hours studying. Using this rule

with the proliferation of mobile devices, or

working professionals, my time and energy

of thumb, a full-time student will spend at

"e-learning"-has created an "anywhere,

are scarce resources that I can't afford to

least 36 hours per week on school work.

anytime" learning environment.3 Essen-

squander.

That is a colossal commitment for

Distance-learning programs-combined

tially, prospective students can choose the

working professionals, so most return to

institution, program and price point that

Full time vs. part time

school part time usually attending one or

best fits their lifestyle and goals regardless

My biggest question prior to selecting a

two classes per semester. A significant

of location.

program of study was, "How much time

downside to the part-time pace is the per-

must I commit to furthering my educa-

severance required to complete a program.

es or even eliminates commuting and class

tion?"

Because e-learning dramatically reduc-

A typical 124-credit bachelor's degree

schedules, students now have an attractive

Most U.S. universities set full-time sta-

program, for instance, could take eight to

alternative to the traditional educational

tus at 12 semester credit hours for under-

10 years to complete while attending part

model that requires less time and offers

graduate students and nine semester credit

time.

increased flexibility.

Traditional class vs. MOOC
Even with the extensive offerings of traditional universities, no discussion about
e-learning initiatives would be complete
without including massively open online
courses (MOOC).
MOOCs are free, online, universitylevel courses without admission requirements. Dozens of world-class universities
have created MOOCs with titles such as
"Anthropology" to "Visualizing Japan,"
and numerous science, technology and
business courses. MOOC creators typically
offer a video-based lecture series, periodic
quizzes, assignments and forums.
Recently, organizations that host MOOCs
have worked with the creators to develop

58 QP * www.qualityprogress.com


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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
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Quality Progress - December 2016 - 5
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Quality Progress - December 2016 - 80
Quality Progress - December 2016 - cover3
Quality Progress - December 2016 - cover4
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