Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




CS degree from home

Apologies, if this has been posted before. I didn't find much in the archive.

I am self-employed and consider this a good time to work towards an academic education. Since I still have some projects to work on, I plan to obtain a Bachelor's degree studying at home.

Any tips regarding universities that offer home courses? Is there also somebody, who has gotten a degree this way?

I already googled a little bit, but would like to get some first-hand experience.

Thanks a lot...

Basic Simon
Monday, May 12, 2003

Here in the UK I am studying with the Open University.  I think they offer international courses.

They also offer Masters degrees to those that have work experience rather than an undergraduage degree.  Thats what I'm studying and its a good course.

http://www.open.ac.uk

Ged Byrne
Monday, May 12, 2003

I don't know where you are but I'd recommend the Open University for the U.K. and Europe.

See http://www.open.ac.uk

John Topley
Monday, May 12, 2003

Sorry, Ged beat me to it!

John Topley
Monday, May 12, 2003

Man, you guys are quick.

Yes, I am currently in the UK, but that depends on where my job takes me to.

Thank you very much so far. I will definetely check it out.

Basic Simon
Monday, May 12, 2003

What's the value of a CS degree vs. reading various books about computing etc (and perhaps certification)?

Is the CS degree more theoretical and perhaps better long term, or is keeping abreast of current technology / best practices better in terms of enhancing ones skills?

Pete Robinson
Monday, May 12, 2003

A CS degree has one big value:  a lot of larger companies refuse to even consider a candidate unless they have a degree.

Of course, we all know that this isn't the best way to filter your applicants.  Unfortunately they do not.

Ged Byrne
Monday, May 12, 2003

Well, as for reading books... that's great, but it depends on what your goals are.

I worked my way into this industry by reading books, but recently, after 4 years' work experience, I began to feel that I was just spinning my wheels and it was time for some more structured learning, so I signed up for Oxford's MSc program. (Which isn't distance learning as such, because you have to have 10 week-long residentials, but it *is* part-time and you don't have to live there.)

I got quite a bit of stick for this decision, from people who felt that I was wasting my money and I should just read a book instead (as if the possibility of reading a book had never occurred to me!). But you know when the time is right, and if you're really keen on the idea, I say go for it!

Fernanda Stickpot
Monday, May 12, 2003

You might code a little bit faster or better if you got a stack of books from the computer book store a mile high.  Most of them won't help you think about life in anyway different than you already do. They are usually api listings and cookbooks or best practices in the computer field.

In college, if you are lucky, you'll enjoy some liberal arts and classes you never thought you'd take at all if they didn't require it. This is especially true if you weren't really interested in all that "other stuff".

I think meeting and working with study mates is half the fun. These contacts you make may not look so impressive right now, but you never know where these contacts will lead to 5 to 20 years down the road.

You can't get that with a study-at-home degree or night school, but you can with a community college or state-run university.

If you don't feel like your next 3 or 4 years spent on acquiring a degree is just another snooze button on life, and the company you are with can live without you, then consider going all out and spend time at a real university. Enjoy yourself! It's one of the few pleasures one can enjoy in life. :-)

Li-fan Chen
Monday, May 12, 2003

Go to a "name" school. If you get a degree from RunOfTheMill U. you will be looked at as a RunOfTheMill type person. And you will be studying with RunOfTheMill type people who have a RunOfTheMill outlook on their life and future. Personally, I would hire a biology major from Harvard over a CS star from RunOfTheMill U. You don't go to college to learn from books.

Stimpy
Monday, May 12, 2003

The Open University hold regular tutorials where you can interact with others on your course (plus your tutor!) and they have their own private conferencing system. Although obviously not the same as being on a full-time course at university, I didn't find it isolating.

John Topley
Monday, May 12, 2003

Just a clarification here. The reference to "learning from books" is clouding the relative merits of self-learning, which involves much more than reading 3rd rate books. In fact, I would say it's the self-learners who abjure the use of those bookstore me-too's.

Also, self-learning is an excellent way to learn all those "non-technical" topics , for which someone suggested the need for liberal arts courses.

Anyway, this is not to argue one way or the other. Uni courses can be interesting. For an experienced person, probably masters level is the way to go.

So, self


Monday, May 12, 2003

My first post of this fourm was about Distance Education, and I have a soft spot for it.  In the US there are a number of different schools that offer BS and BA degrees via distance eductaion The best source to find out what is out there is John Bear's books by Ten Speed Press (His web site is http://www.degree.net )  If you are in the US and have your lower level class work done you can use this program http://rce.csuchico.edu/online/programlist.asp This is a Californa State School (Land grant)  Also use this site to find more US Schools that offer Distense Ed degrees http://www.petersons.com/distancelearning/default.asp

A Software Build Guy
Monday, May 12, 2003

If you want to do a distance degree then I suspect the Open University is the way to go. How well known its degrees are in the States is a different matter.

If you already have a degree in something else you could try for a Masters. The University of Kent at Canterbury for example runs a one year Masters course which you might find interesting if you want to do a full time course.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 12, 2003

England's Open University is well known in the circles that care about distance learning (It is listed in John Bear's book as well as several other large universities in the English Speaking contries).  But if I were the one looking for a school, I would like to see a choice of schools and compair programs.  So a little research at a few web sites might be more helpful (such as the two general sites I listed above.)  Once you have narrowed the field make calls and talk to schools and get a feeling for what you are getting into.

A Software Build Guy
Monday, May 12, 2003

You might take a look at "National Technological University" in the states. www.ntu.edu.  It offers the equivalent of a high-grade state school offering.  Course work comes from "Iillinois, Purdue, Northeastern, Berkley, Colorado, ..."

I've taken some of the MSEE distance courses offered.  You can expect about 10-20 hours of hard-core study time per week per class.  You'll have no life.  I found the course work challenging, though very interesting.

Nat Ersoz
Monday, May 12, 2003

One other thing, its expensive.  The pricing is similar to out of state tuition rates at those schools.

Nat Ersoz
Monday, May 12, 2003

Actually, the Tennessee board of Regents offers distance learning through all their state schools.  Tuition is the same as the school tuition plus a very small technology fee.

No CS degree, although there is an IT degree (which is what I'm doing). 

http://www.tn.regentsdegrees.org/

Steve Barbour
Monday, May 12, 2003

Hi, i would like to add to what has been said about the Open University U. K. This University has been ranked in the top five best universities in the U. K. for  teaching quality for 2003, and is the largest university in the U. K. as well as the third largest  university in the world. This university is accredited by the Royal Charter and GAAP, which is recognized though out U. K. , U.S.A. and the world these qualification are the most accepted in the world. So for quality and recognition in the world the Open University  is the way to go

camel
Sunday, January 25, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home