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WiBit.Net Blog (48)

 Online Schooling

Tue Nov 8, 2011 3597 views

Online Schooling

With WiBit being an online tutorial site I figured it would be a good idea to review online schools to see whats out there in a more official capacity.

 After all, I am a graduate of an online school (University of Phoenix).  That should give me some perspective?

Well to start with my perspective is a bit skewed.  My experience at UOP wasn’t the best.  UOP is a great example of most of what I found in online schools: A- pricing for a D- education.  Seriously, online schooling is expensive.  UOP set me back enough that I could’ve doubled my education duration at a traditional state school for the same price tag.  The catch here is that you’re paying for convenience. 

But is online schooling that convenient?  Is it worth the premium price tag?  Well I guess that depends on what you’re looking to get out of it.  In my case I needed something that said I knew how to write code.  I needed a job.  I got my degree simply to show I knew how to do what I knew how to do before I got my degree….but it worked.  I got an internship which turned into a full time job which turned into another job, etc.  If I had been looking for an education for the sake of education, or to learn something new, then my experience was not valuable.  That is not to say that it cannot be valuable in that context, just that it wasn’t for me. 

I went to UOP for a programming-centric diploma.  I took programming-focused courses.  I do not have much experience with other schools in terms of computer science curriculum’s but I certainly found UOP lacking. A while back we reviewed the best colleges for CompSci and we looked at their courses in detail.  I would say, in comparison, there isn’t a single online-only school that is valuable for this type of degree.  UOP’s curriculum was basically Intro to Computers, M$ Word 101, HTML for Dummies, and finally Java for Dummies…and pretty much in that order.  

Strayer doesn’t fare much better.  Their courses are all out of wack! For a programming emphasis they go SQL, C++, Intro to OOP (isn’t C++ OOP?…), Java. 

A definite advantage to online learning, however, is that you’re given a challenge and its up to you to solve it.  This is something that WILL come up in your development career so having it happen so early in your education is something I would call an advantage.  It doesn’t matter if you’re comfortable with little to no direction or not: you’re going to have to figure it out.  So with the online-only schools and their odd choices for curriculum you’re left to fill in a lot of gaps for yourself (Google) not unlike you would in the work place.

These days many more traditional schools are offering online options.  Even community colleges are.  For the most part these are better options than the online-only, or trade, schools.  They’re more affordable, offer a better learning experience, and often have more respectable names (I’ve removed UOP from my resume because, to me, it is not a reputable university).  If you have trouble getting into some of the better known schools for online learning, start with your local community college, work hard, and transfer if you want.  Thats the best way to go.

Of course while you’re learning make sure you stay ahead of the curve with bodacious WiBit tutorials!  Also don’t be afraid to ask for help from our forums!

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