Geology major purely online?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AdAstra, Jan 17, 2007.

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  1. AdAstra

    AdAstra New Member

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    While I'm waiting for Excelsior and Charter Oak to receive and evaluate my academic transcripts, I am considering some of my potential options. One of which is a major in Geology.

    I can see that there a few lower level geology courses available online, but what is the situation when it comes to the more advanced courses in geology? Who is offering these? I've not been able to find any so far.

    Since Excelsior is offering a geology major, can I safely assume that they have some kind of arrangement with other institutions who will deliver the more advanced courses to us internet-bound students, and all will be revealed after I enrol?

    Has anyone on this board done a geology major purely online? I've used the search function, but it seems not :(
     
  2. MrLazy

    MrLazy New Member

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    Once your evaluation is completed at Excelsior, the course search feature at Excelsior's website will be tied to your evaluation summary. You will be able to choose a specific requirement and the search will show you some of the options for completing that requirement. The course search feature may not show all of the possibilities, but it might show some for each course.

    Good luck,
     
  3. MrLazy

    MrLazy New Member

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    I found two options for you.

    Athabasca University
    University of Oregon

    The University of Oregon courses are session-based and the current session has already started. That means you will have to wait until March to enroll. I would call them now to indicate your interest in a particular course. Hopefully, that will encourage them to offer it next term.

    I believe the Athabasca courses can be completed at any time.

    Good luck,
     
  4. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

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    Courses at Athabasca University allow the student six months to complete the 3-credit courses and twelve months to complete the 6-credit courses. Of course, the student can complete the courses more quickly or take a little longer with an extension. The courses, unless otherwise specifically noted, allow enrollment anytime during the year with the start date the first day of the month. The tuition fees include the textbooks and are in Canadian (CAD) funds.
     
  5. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner New Member

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    Don't assume that simply because Excelsior (or TESC or COSC) offers a major in an area that they are able to deliver or know of resources to deliver specific courses.

    Some majors assume that you have the resources to complete, or have already completed, the coursework.

    A quick search of the Excelsior course-search tool Distance-Learn(r) for geology at all levels gives a full page of options only one of which is by Excelsior College.

    Upper level courses are available at Athabasca, Boise State, Depaul, Indiana-Bloomington, Oregon State, SUNY-Oswego, U Alaska-Anchorage, U Idaho, U Oregon, U S. Queensland, U Wisconsin-Madison

    I don't know that these offerings meet the full degree requirements though and these aren't the least expensive schools out there.
     
  6. AdAstra

    AdAstra New Member

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    Thank you all for your replies, which have been very helpful.

    My main aim is to complete my degree as quickly as possible, so if pressing for a particular major is going to slow me down, I'll have to forgo it and take whatever is going to get me there faster. I might have to go the less exciting liberal arts way, rather than a paricular major, but I'll know more once I receive evaluations from the two insitutions.

    I just had word from Excelsior that they have received all of my transcripts last week and they'll have them evaluated in the next 2-3 weeks. I can't wait :D
     
  7. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

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  8. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

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    I seriously question whether it is possible to get a fully-accepted geology degree entirely by DL. Conventional geology BS programs have substantial laboratory and field mapping requirements, both of which would be difficult or impossible to deliver by DL.

    I can see taking some geology courses via DL, maybe even with simple labs at the introductory level. But I can't see how you could credibly get the equipment or field training for upper-level geology coursework via the DL route.

    For example, the Birkbeck/University of London "distance learning" degrees in geology actually require attendance at several field sessions every year. There's a 10-14 day session every year at Easter, plus an average of three weekend sessions, lasting 1 to 3 days, every year. So it's not "purely online"

    If you don't plan to actually work as a geologist, and just need some kind of bachelor's degree, then fully DL geology coursework may be OK. But if you are planning to work professionally in this field, you should check to see if this is truly a viable approach. For example, most states have professional licensing boards for geologists, so you could show them the DL curriculum and see if it would be considered an acceptable qualifying degree.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2007
  9. AdAstra

    AdAstra New Member

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    That's what I thought too. I do have an introductory geology course completed (at a B&M university), and even that required at least one field trip and weekly laboratory classes. I am not planning on working as a geologist, but merely trying to find a major that I would find interesting and enjoyable.

    This reminds me of how my sister did in fact complete a geology class purely by distance very many years ago,through Murchoch University (WA, Australia). It entailed plenty of slides that she had to examine (this was pre-Internet days), plus a few field trips that she had to undertake off her own bat in an area close to her home. So, I think it is possible to do it purely by DL, but it just makes it a bit harder to deliver such a course given that there is no on-site feedback/explanations by an instructor when a field-trip is done.

    With technology advancing at a rocketing pace, we now have computer simulated anatomy classes, chemical laboratory experiments and with SUNY introducing a purely online Electrical Engineering degree (very easy to do since there are many excellent computer based circuit analysis programs available which allow for circuit design and testing), even geology should be possible to do at an advanced level by DL.
     
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

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    Maybe, but I doubt it. It's true that computer simulations can be great training aids, but the "virtual" experience cannot completely substitute for the "real" one.

    You're not going to find work as a pilot if you've never flown a real aircraft, no matter how much time you spend in flight simulators. And I similarly doubt that there would be much demand for "virtual chemists" that have never set foot in an actual laboratory, or for "virtual geologists" that have never studied soils or rocks outdoors.

    The SUNY EE program is interesting, but it is not "purely online"; in fact, you are expected to complete lower-division lab courses elsewhere before you enroll. SUNY plans to make the entire 4-year program available online in the future, but they aren't there yet. Moreover, SUNY has not yet demonstrated that their program can achieve ABET accreditation, although again they are working on it.

    The best-known engineering DL programs, at the University of North Dakota, require a few weeks of residency every summer for labs. The UND programs do have full ABET accreditation, but obviously they are not completely online.
     

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