I need some help, talk to me like I'm a 3 year old (Distance Learning question)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by MisterTEB, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. MisterTEB

    MisterTEB New Member

    How does the whole thing work?

    Ok, I have this (probably erroneous) assumption, that with an online degree you get to put in as many hours as you need daily and such...is that how it is? Or are you as constricted as far as scheduling as if you were on a campus college?

    How do online "classes" work?

    I apologize if this is annoying to people here, I just want to understand the whole thing so I don't do it wrong...
  2. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Start reading here: http://www.elearners.com/resources/index.asp
  3. Vinipink

    Vinipink Accounting Monster

    How about a little background from you? Goals, education, field of work, etc... this will help answering some questions.
  4. Henry White

    Henry White New Member

    Not exactly. If you're going to pass ANY course you're going to have to put in as many hours as you need. That said, the difference for most of us is the inherent convenience of choosing the best times for us to do the reading assignments, and the writing. Which brings us to the real crux of the matter - if you have any aversion to doing a LOT of reading and a LOT of writing, or have a chronic 'issue' with procrastination (read 'lame alibiis and excuses' everyone should have outgrown about middle school), resign yourself now to going the B&M route if you're serious about getting an education in this lifetime.

    Otherwise, the scope and content of the programs and individual courses as well as the textbooks you'll use are virtually identical - no pun intended. The only major difference here is in when and how the instruction is delivered.

    If you can set goals and stick to them, if you can set up a schedule and stick to it, then you might be a prime candidate for distance learning. I say 'might' because we each have unique learning styles and preferences; there is nothing wrong with you if you need a continuation of the regimentation from K-12 or lots of warm bodies to stay focued on the tasks at hand. Then, too, there are the gaps in the college experience with International cuisines and culture, and interaction with students outside your major, yada-yada-yada; that's always too quickly brushed aside, and most DL students never have a clue what they've missed.
  5. MisterTEB

    MisterTEB New Member

    Guys, thank you so much for your help.

    Here's some info so you can see more clearly where I'm
    coming from: I'm a 40 year old male who reluctantly dropped out of college about 20 years ago and now is finally in the mental and emotional state that is conducive to the focus and dedication required to get a degree.
    (Am I too old to realistically want this?)

    I want to be an Art or English teacher (elementary) but I am terrified by what some people tell me are the prospects for a 44-45 year old, fresh-out-of-college teacher: They say that schools will look at me suspiciously due to stereotypes and prejudice regarding males in the Education field(you know, potential accusations of abuse, etc) and especially if I'm older, they will look at me like "Why would a 45 year old man want to work with kids?"

    I know, it sucks, the double standard is horrible (women wouldn't have this problem) but it is the way it is.

    So I am really trying to weigh my options. I wanna get a degree in a relatively (but realistically) short amount of time so I can at least get a few good years of a career before I am too old. I love children, I am an artist and I love the idea of planting the seeds of a better tomorrow and helping inspire lives in a positive way.

    God, I guess I'm rambling here. Thanks for reading this and thank you for your help.
  6. Clapper

    Clapper New Member

    I'm no expert in the area of job opportunities for teachers, but I wouldn't regard your age or gender as disqualifying. Our country is desperately seeking elementary grade teachers, though much more so for math and science instruction. And I think there are way too few male teachers and so that might work to your favor. Re your age, in this topsy-turvy economy many people are getting retrained to start over in new fields, so I don't see why that would make you suspect.

    An immediate step you might consider: Establish relationships with some of the schools in your area by volunteering to do some after-school tutoring (in any subject area). This would help to clarify your career direction, get a sense of the present and near-future job market, identify programs that offer the best fit for you, and, perhaps most importantly, create a network of contacts and future references you can call on.
  7. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Welcome to the board! If you spend the next few days searching through the posts, you will see that anything is possible :) You won't be able to do everything online, at some point you'll have to student-teach, but you can use distance learning through your local college to some degree. 98% of public colleges and universities offer some online courses. You don't have to get an "online degree" or "on campus degree" you can blend the options to suit your time/work schedule to earn "the degree." There also won't be a distinction on your transcript as to the method of delivery. Most colleges offer a number of delivery methods - including independent study, online, on campus, hybrid classes, TV broadcast courses, correspondence, and testing out. Start with your local college.

    Regarding children's safety, you'll have to pass a criminal background check and have your fingerprints taken. I'm close to your age, and those old stereotypes about teachers and gender died out back when I was in high school. Since you lead your bio defending the motives of men who are educators, you may want to resolve some of your own motives and bias before deciding to jump in.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2009
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi - First I'd like to say that you're not too old. Then I'd like to point out that there are too few men in Elementary Education and I think you'll find yourself being sought after once you obtain your degree.

    There are a few different ways to go about the whole thing. The potentially fastest way is to "test out" of as many courses as possible. Toward that end you should look at this website


    Then you can look at our own "Testing Forum."


    Then you need to figure out one important thing. In order to become an Art or English teacher in an elementary school, what Bachelors degree is required according to the laws of your state. Be careful now because in someplaces the laws distinguish between elementary and middle and high school and some places do not. For example, if I want to be a middle school Math teacher then I need 24 credits of math courses. If I want to be a HS Math teacher I need 30 credits of math courses.

    OK, so do some reading and please come back with more questions because you may be surprised at the number of options available to you.
  9. StevenKing

    StevenKing Member

    Absolutely not...

    As one who left the military and entered education at 38, I'd say you need to clarify "why" you want to be a teacher. Long hours, little compensation, and an increasing mindset to do more with less. More specifically: why do you want to teach elementary children? If you want to ensure a job in education, you need to aim at a job in mathematics. No one will question your motives to work with children - in fact, many will welcome you in the field due to the ever present reality of fatherless homes.

    My experience has demonstrated that fine arts are among the first programs scrapped in lieu of declining budgets. Job security in teaching lies in mathematics or technology.
    And, even if it requires four complete years to secure your education...how old will you be in four years if you don't pursue any education? Don't let time be the deciding factor---let passion guide you.
  10. StevenKing

    StevenKing Member

    Actually, not always. Sometimes on the alternative pathway you can teach for a year, guided by a mentor, in lieu of student teaching. That's what I did.
  11. MisterTEB

    MisterTEB New Member

    Man, you guys are great. Thanks so much for all your help.

    Ok, I hate math, and I was never good at it, and that puts me at a disadvantage I guess, since it's not the first time I hear that Math teachers is what the field needs the most.

    How about Spanish? English?
  12. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Age is not the limiting factor - attitude is. A friend of mine went to University at 68 years of age to go on and earn his B.A. in Theology... there are people who go to law or medical school who are in their late 40s and 50s... is it too late? I don't think so.

    The average person changes their career 3 or more times in their lifetime - that's not jobs, that's careers. I know of lawyers, engineers, scientists who went on to become police officers because they felt that it was their calling and they had always thought about doing it.... then they did it. The oldest person to graduate from the RCMP Depot in Canada was 56...

    The only thing in the way of success is... your
  13. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Cool! That's good to know!
  14. gmohdez

    gmohdez New Member

    Hi, for reasons I will not go into, I did not finish high school. I decided to become a teacher when I was 40 years old or so (I am a 50 year old male now). I went the GED way for a diploma that would allow me to start college, and then went through Excelsior to earn my bachelor's to later get my teacher certification for Texas through a rigorous, mostly online, program with LeTurneau University.

    For my first job teaching, which counted as my student teaching, I was over forty and the principal who interviewed and hired me asked only questions pertinent to teaching. I did have to go through fifteen or so interviews to get my first job, and the only place that decided to hire me was 90 minutes away from my home, but after doing a good job the principal understood my need for a shorter commute and provided references that resulted in my being offered eight out of twelve positions I interviewed for the following school year, with absolutely no a single question that appeared prejudiced.

    I am very happy and satisfied with my decision even though there is no real money in teaching. I am in the process of finishing my master's on education and I will probably recoup the cost in eight years or more, but it is worth it. If you are interested in teaching, I say go for it; don’t let age be a barrier.
  15. StevenKing

    StevenKing Member

    My story is equally interesting. As I was departing from the Army [short version: divorced due to Korea] my new wife told me that I could do or be anything I wanted, as long as I was happy. I told her that I always thought teaching would be a good fit for me. Being a veteran, I contacted Troops to Teachers and since I had a graduate degree I did not qualify for their stipends to earn your teaching credential. As I was ETS'ing from the Army, I was contacted by the TN Department of Education to see if I was interested in teaching mathematics. I laughed and asked the representative if they had actually looked at my college transcripts. I took the bare bones requirement in college, and although I have an MBA, do not feel the coursework was sufficient to teach math. The DOE rep said, "It does not matter...are you willing to give it a try?"

    Well, sure...

    I was hired by the first place that interviewed me. Their questions had nothing to do with pedagogy, constructionist theory, or even mathematics. All the interview questions centered around discipline, classroom management, and keeping order. As I listened to the principal and assistant principal who hired me, I reasoned they were not looking for a teacher at all. They needed a drill sergeant. I was hired and dove right in.

    My introduction to teaching was baptism by fire. I was handed a teacher's edition of the pertinent textbook and class rosters for my classes. That was it. I was hired one week prior to the start of class and knew I had made a mistake. At a department meeting three days later, I decided to ask the teacher who spoke the most for some help. Ironically, she taught the same courses that I was being asked to teach.

    What a lifesaver! She provided me with syllabi, pacing guides, and 20 or so documents [examples of parent letters, grading schemes, etc.]. I dutifully made notes on all her suggestions and felt better about starting. I taught pretty much lock-step through the text and designed my own PowerPoints from scratch. [At my next gig, I learned that textbook publishers usually give you ancillaries through CD-ROM support, which includes PowerPoints...]. I know I made every mistake possible but, at the end of the year, my kids passed all their proficiency exams. They begged me to stay...but...the pathway to fulfill alternative licensure in TN was very convoluted.

    I crossed state lines, found a job teaching what I had originally studied, and completed a year long internship program. Additionally, I completed GCU's MEd program in C/I. Where there's a will...there's a way.

    Since I am wrapping up my third year, I would say this: be prepared for a lot of work. I love working with students and seem to have good rapport with them. Modern K-12 education is quite different than what I remember. Be prepared to do more with less and be blamed for every score that doesn't meet someone's benchmarks. Make sure teaching is what you want to do.

    It is the most exhilarating and frustrating career you'll ever undertake.
  16. MisterTEB

    MisterTEB New Member

    So many interesting stories. And so many things to think about, I wanna reiterate how grateful I am for all of your posts, guys. Thanks a lot.

    Question: Does online education work just like an on-campus, specifically: The classes and their schedules, the actual lessons, do I have to adhere to someone else's schedule, or can I take these classes whenever I want, and as many classes as I want?

    Are classes online modules that can be taken at your convenience, or are they basically "live" chats with a teacher, that you have to take whenever teh teachers are available?

    I always assumed that online education was : U have education modules, you study them whenever you want (and use all the time u need to learn), you take tests, you pass them or fail them. I know it sounds simplistic, but I always figured that if someone wanted to get a real fast degree, he would still need to make a conscious choice to actually learn, because whether you make a degree in 4 years or 4 months, if you make the degree just to get a degree, it's as worthless as the paper on which they print the diploma.

    But anyway, I am really doing this and some of your stories are so inspiring...
  17. MisterTEB

    MisterTEB New Member

    Does Excelsior offer a bachelor's in Education?
  18. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

  19. Henry White

    Henry White New Member

    The specifics here can vary from one institution and even one instructor to another, but generally you have a window of a couple of days on much of the course (like when to "attend" class), and at the same time keeping up a fairly rigid schedule on others (like deadline for submitting assignments). Under this system, students have flexibility, instructors do not - they have a set schedule to get the lessons online, make it to class for chat sessions, telephone calls, etc. Under this system you can pace yourself, and you know in advance when the course ends; you know in advance when you'll finish the program. The downside, from my perspective, is precisely the same with any arbitrary calendar system - you're stuck rocking on your heels if the course material and assignments come easily, and you're also stuck scrambling to get way too much done in way too little time because time marches on whether you personally are ready or not.

    There are solutions though! You can bypass seat time by taking the final exams which is essentially the gist of http://www.bain4weeks.com/; or you can go the self-directed route through http://www.wgu.edu/ where the terms are 26 weeks and there is no upper limit on how many courses you complete in a term because tuition is based on those 26 weeks terms, not individual courses.
  20. StevenKing

    StevenKing Member

    I'll agree that coursework varies widely depending upon the institution. My experience has been modular (MBA and MEd). In the first (2001), coursework was FedEx'd to the student and then was finished on their schedule. Each course was broken into modules that included quite a bit of reading, writing minor papers, and no exams. In the second (2007), coursework was handled via a LMS, or learning management system. The courses was similarly structured, however, everything was communicated through the same portal. Lectures were very basic and the requirements for asynchronous posting were more formalized (...answer two questions a week and respond intelligently to others' posting). GCU requires a collaborative learning community that proves the pareto principle.

    Make sure your school is regionally accredited and you will be fine. If you are planning to become an educator, run your proposed school by the HR people where you want to be hired. It might take a few trips, multiple cogent emails, and a plethora of return telephone calls...but eventually, you will know if you are on the right track.

    There are many here who have excelled at rapid distance education. Do your homework and ask good questions. You will find many worthwhile replies.

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