Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thinking Of A Master Degree Online? The Residency Issue

Whether you are looking to a residency program or not should also be on your mind when you consider a master degree online. It may not be too well-known with those new to the online masters degree program world, but not all online degrees are purely online. Some actually do require you to spend some hours in a physical classroom or lab.

Of course you are probably wondering whether you should even waste your time with such programs. There are a couple of reasons actually, why these programs should be of interest. The number one reason is of course improved networking among master degree online students who engage occasionally in a physical classroom.

Networking works best when people interact physically. This is the distinct benefit of programs that allow for this. Students also benefit academically from this.

After all, when your peers and professors are within reach, it is easier to ask queries relating to your subjects. Among other factors, there is greater speed at which knowledge is shared. Interacting with people online often leads to slow response time as this communication is seldom seen as urgent.

Some courses just function better with residencies. This is due to their emphasis on experience or practical learning. So if your course is in a field where a great focus is on practical experience, then naturally you would look for programs that encompass a large amount of lab time.

Some fields are knowledge-based, making class and lab time less urgent. Online delivery of all information is entirely possible for some programs. In cases like this students don’t worry too much about residencies.

You should think about the amount of time you can give to a residency should you be of the opinion that it will enhance your studies. There are varying residency requirements across schools. The course could be divided equally between the institution and the internet.

Obviously if your time doesn’t allow, you need to look for programs with low residency requirements. It's possible to find programs with just a few days in a semester as part of their residency component. There are courses that require just one semester out of all the years of study.

The hybrid versions of these residencies are those that have a high on-campus course component. You must take your limitations into account though, no matter what program you choose. Remember that the intention of these programs, as far as students are concerned, is to avoid having to go to a campus.

A major concern when looking at residencies involved in a master degree online program is how far you are from the institution’s physical classrooms. The farther your location from that base, the lower the residency requirements you may want to take. This spares not only time but also cost.