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Now, the best online instructor I had ran a forum and that really worked. Everyone could see someone's questions and even respond to it but the biggest thing was that by each Saturday afternoon the instructor had responded as well. And if he felt that it was something that needed to be one on one, we would receive a detailed email. But he was, unfortunately, the exception.
With the problems you could take it up with the school but ultimately I never received answers just my grades seemed to be better than I expected, which I felt wasn't the right way to handle it. I think the schools are a little out of touch and nervous about online classes due to the testing of the students. Mine packaged the class and rotated the tests every other semester but the test pool came from the publisher and it wasn't hard to gain access to it. I didn't feel that some of the classes I was taught as just repackaging the answers from the book.
My best online instructor, well he had actually made us write in the answers. No multiple choice, nor true/false, according to some students who took his class in person stated he hated them, and nothing seemed to be coming from the publisher, we had to truly think about our answer and give an answer. So no instant knowledge of the answer and when we received a grade we all felt that we earned it and learned something. I actually understood the subject which happened to be Physics. BTW: I received a 'B' in the class I missed an 'A' by a few points on an online lab but I still felt that I learned more in that online class than the other dozen courses I took online.
My experience, if a school has an online course, then the instructor has to run it just like she was face to face and make time for the students questions because there seemed to be a lot more questions online than the students who were face to face. Why? I dunno but I think it had more to do with the course being a one size fits all packaged course versus the instructor actually has to have a discussion of the subject. I think that schools need to make sure their instructors are teaching and not use those publisher online courses. I don't blame the instructor for the online material just not being 'there' with the students.
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Background: I worked as a Data Analyst for a small Healthcare company for about 8 years. I learned computer languages (perl), MS-SQL Server, Access, etc. I built a data warehouse from the ground up with only a book, which I lost and it was a great book on data warehousing. I quit that job to be with my partner. His job moved him to a new state and new city. I was unable to get a job doing what I was doing regardless of my experience. I wouldn't get in the door because of no degree in CS or CIS.
Now, I'm 44 and entering a four year university as a Junior. I have spent the last couple of years working hard full time for a bank, and going to community college. I graduated with my Associate's Degree. I've used it to transfer to the university. It was hard. I had to adjust my work schedule, a tweak here and there. Started later, and went home a bit later, and studied my a** off. I worked hard at both of my jobs. Work and School. The result, I'm happier, I was able to find a better job at the bank, using my experience and the fact that I have just an Associate's Degree. It was the combination that helped. And work is still working with me. It is to their advantage that I continue my studies and receive I higher degree.
If they value you and will help you with a degree with tuition reimbursement then they should work with you as you go to school. You may not be able to do more than a couple of classes at a time per semester and it will be hard. It will also be more rewarding than you can imagine. First talk to your employer and let them know your dilemma. Work with them towards a solution, and then apply to school and go. You won't regret it.
"You know what Earth? We screwed up last time. Say goodbye to all of this...and hello to oblivion."
"Hello Oblivion, how's the wife and kids."
Now, information that actually teaches and brings knowledge of how to do something that may be complicated, a DIY project, a new or old computer language, something that, again there are sources, but it represented in a way to actually help the reader gain knowledge or how to do something, I would pay for.
Back in the day there were computer magazines that taught me how to program in a particular language, it meant not to only inform me, but to teach me the ins and outs of doing something useful. I bought those magazine, but National Geographic, which I read because it is a annual Christmas present, is informative but I still could have done some of the research myself to learn about this or that. The articles tend to be more narrowly focused in their thesis but still the information is out there for free.
I pay for the practical, not the informative.