For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
Online classes offer a variety of advantages for working adults who have enough on their plate without adding the stress of finding time for an education. Probably the hardest part of attending a traditional university, for me, was finding time to fit it into my schedule. I worked the traditional workday and then I had to make it to three-hour class four nights a week. This was brutal because by the time I drove home and got to bed, it was close to midnight. I would have to get up at 6 am and start all over again. Thankfully I was in my early 20s at the time. I honesty do not think I could handle that sort of schedule now.
Traditional courses took at least four hours out of my day (to just attend class). Then I had an hour or two of homework each day that I had to squeeze in either before midnight or on my lunch breaks. At minimum, I probably spent at least five hours a day dealing with school-related issues. In online classes, since there are no lectures, and there is no driving and parking, etc., I probably spent about two hours a day. When you are a working adult with family responsibilities, saving three hours a day is huge.
Traditional schools may be a great thing for people who have the time and money to afford them. Unfortunately many people do not have that luxury. Some students will have to obtain financial help whether they attend traditional or online courses. The advantage of online courses is that students have more time to work to pay for the loans.
I have read many articles about the value of a traditional education versus an online education. Many of them have been written by professors who work in brick and mortar classrooms. I understand their perspective. There may be some wonderful things to be learned at a traditional university. The problem is that it is not that simple. In today’s society, traditional roles have changed. Women may have much more responsibilities outside of the home. The stress of raising a family, working, and trying to squeeze in time for education may make the choice of a traditional college a poor option.
It is not appropriate to make blanket statements about all online courses based on limited experience. I have worked for many different online universities. They are not all the same. Some offer a better education. Comparing MOOCs to traditional online courses is like comparing apples to oranges. The same is true about comparing unaccredited universities with accredited universities.
Accredited online courses offer people a quality education and a life. I do not believe that sitting in a lecture hall adds that much to the learning experience. All of the driving, parking and sitting in class, took away precious time that I believe did not add to my educational experience. All it did was stress me out and leave less time for others. Thankfully I finished my traditional education before my children were born. Once I had a family, distance education became an option and opened up incredible opportunities for me. It is interesting that traditional universities now offer more online courses. The same institutions that had “issues” with online education now provide it. The good news is that everyone is waking up and realizing that online education offers the best of all worlds for those who want it.
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MOOCs have drawn attention to the different requirements of online vs. traditional teaching jobs. I recently watched Dr. Dani Babb’s Udemy presentation titled How to Make Money Teaching as an Online Professor. She said something that I thought was interesting. She had worked as a traditional professor prior to becoming an online professor. When she discussed the job requirements of an online professor, she mentioned that online professors have to deal with students who expect a lot more interaction in the online environment than the traditional one. This is very true. This is also something that I do not think gets enough attention in the media.
There are plenty of articles about how wonderful traditional schools are compared to online schools. However, it has been my experience that online schools provide students with far more access to their professors. This has increased the amount of responsibilities required of online professors. Online professors must:
While the demands placed on online professors have increased, they may feel like they are being under-valued by the press. Students expect more value. Students want skills that lead to immediate job improvements. This has put pressure on educators. However, this kind of pressure is good because it creates a dialogue for how to improve the online experience.
HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987. The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given. What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, “Prospective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.” Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits. Korn also explained, “Measuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”
I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance. I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test. Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.
I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses. Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.
When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact. It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior. In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.
It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them. Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives. The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change. This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths. Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels. The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace. The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate. By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.
As a doctoral chair, it is my responsibility to help guide students through their doctoral dissertation process. In order to receive a doctorate through online courses, there is a series of courses that students take prior to the time they begin writing the proposal for their dissertation. Each online program varies to some degree. Based on the two programs I have either taken or taught, I can say that they were pretty similar. The following is what students might expect from an online doctoral program.
Students must first complete a series of online courses that address their field of study. For example, I received a degree that is titled: Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with a Specialization in Management. That means that those initial courses included a specific focus on business management. Some students may combine their Master’s with their Doctorate. Assuming that students have already taken the thirty or so credits required for a Master’s degree, there may be another 10 or 15 courses required in the field of specialization. In this case, it would be to study business management. These courses are not that different from taking graduate-level classes.
After finishing those courses, students begin taking courses that are more specific to the proposal and final dissertation. It is difficult to state how many courses may be required at this point. Some students require fewer courses than others based on how much work they complete within the scheduled time for each course. I have had some students make it through the dissertation in the process by taking only three dissertation courses. Others may take a dozen or more courses to finish. It depends upon how much students have done on their own prior to beginning the doctoral courses, how quickly they work, and the type of research they do.
The steps in the doctoral process include writing the proposal (which describes how the study will be performed, aka chapters 1-3 of the final dissertation), obtaining proposal approval, doing the research, writing the final dissertation (updating Chapters 1-3 and writing Chapters 4-5), obtaining approval for the dissertation, defending the dissertation in an oral presentation, and finally having the doctoral chair, doctoral committee, and dean give a final seal of approval.
The hardest part generally seems to be writing the proposal or the first three chapters. This is difficult because students have to learn how to write in a very specific and scholarly way. There are templates that may provide helpful information regarding alignment, content requirements, and formatting. Students work very closely with their chair during this time. Students must also have at least two committee members. Some schools, like the one I attended, required an additional outside member to review the dissertation. All members of the committee must have a doctorate.
Students usually work strictly with the chair until Chapters 1-3 are ready to submit. At that point, the committee looks at the work to give input and make suggestions. After all adjustments are made, the proposal goes through several stages of approval. Students may need to submit more than once if there are changes requested. This is commonly the case. Once the proposal is approved, students can perform the study, and eventually write the last two chapters that describe the results. This final document goes through the chair and committee approval process again, and eventually must meet with the dean’s approval. The last step is for students to defend the dissertation in an oral presentation. Usually that is the easiest part of the process because students know their study inside and out by that time. It takes some students just a few years to go through the process. Others take much longer. Some never finish. It is a very difficult process. However, in the end, it is worth it.
Please review the following video and articles for help with formatting, APA, grammar and other writing issues. To return to Dr. Diane Hamilton’s blog, click here. For updates on help with writing, bookmark the following page: Dr. Diane’s Writing Help
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