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MA - Distance learning
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1339

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:01 am    Post subject: MA - Distance learning Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I'm currently weighing up my options of furthering my education and professional development. I've come to the decision that I'd like to take an MA TESOL or related course eg. MA Applied Linguistics with TESOL or MA English Language Teaching, but I have a few questions about how I go about this.

My first thought was to do it the normal way, full time on campus, however I've been thinking about distance learning and would like your opinions. The full time course would be one year, where I'd study full time and nothing else. The distance course would be two years and I'd be working abroad for the duration of the course.

One of my concerns is about how potential employers would view the distance MA over a regular MA. Does this matter?

Any advice or just your thoughts on the subject would be appreciated.

Thanks.

EDIT: I also want to ask about the various course, MA TESOL, MA Applied Linguistics with TESOL and MA English Language Teaching. Would these all be valued equally by employers? Or is one regarded better than the others?
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52skidoo



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several years ago I looked into doing a Masters in Linguistics online. A lot of variables went into the decision but finally decided to do an online MA with UNE, University of New England, in Australia. Their program requires fewer hours than most schools I looked at and the cost was reasonable. I only took one semester though because I didn't get very much support. Maybe it was just the luck of the draw on who I got for a counselor

If I had the option I would definetly get an MA in English (full time, on campus) and earn a teacher's license at the same time. I think that would be the most flexible degree.

Good luck on your search.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

52skidoo wrote:
Several years ago I looked into doing a Masters in Linguistics online. A lot of variables went into the decision but finally decided to do an online MA with UNE, University of New England, in Australia. Their program requires fewer hours than most schools I looked at and the cost was reasonable.

UNE requires 8 classes, which is what I've found to be the norm at Australian unis.

Check into credit transfers. Some schools give credit for
work experience
TEFL courses
prior degree courses

This will allow you to finish faster.
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:02 am    Post subject: Re: MA - Distance learning Reply with quote

Shroob wrote:

One of my concerns is about how potential employers would view the distance MA over a regular MA. Does this matter?


In my experience, as long as it is a properly accredited school from the US (be careful cause there are lots of dodgy degree mills) or from a commonwealth country (degree mills are illegal) then you should be fine. It won't say, "distance learning" anywhere on the parchment.

.
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 232
Location: Neither here nor there

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regard to which course would be best, that's a really difficult question to answer; all depends on what type of institution you want to work in afterwards and where. I see that some posters in the ME are saying that certain institutions are not accepting applicants with distance learning Masters anymore, so maybe do your homework on potential destinations you might be interested in.

Also ask yourself what you're really interested in; I've seen some posters in other threads say that Linguistics and TESOL are basically the same thing, and I couldn't disagree more. Check out course modules and try to decide what would be of interest to you.

I was in your position a couple of years ago and decided to go down the full-time route in the UK (MA Applied Linguistics & TESOL), and the fact that a Masters could be completed in one year swayed it for me. That's not to say it was easier than a part-time course, it was full-time in every sense of the word, plus many weekends spent in the library. I gave it everything though and it was worth it, though some of my coursemates are still finishing theirs two years on, they tried to combine their studies with work and it was just too much. I knew that studying full-time would be better for me and my way of working, and I have no regrets.
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 792
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: Re: MA - Distance learning Reply with quote

Shroob wrote:
One of my concerns is about how potential employers would view the distance MA over a regular MA. Does this matter?


Most employers wouldn't be bothered - the main thing is that the degree comes from a 'real' university.

IMO it'd be great to do a f/t masters - if you can afford to spend a year earning nothing, or next to nothing. For most of us that isn't an option. I did the distance MEd TESOL with the University of Tasmania almost 10 years ago. It wasn't a great course, but it was cheaper than most - and it's a well established Australian university.
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1339

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies everyone, every useful.

@ Perilla - I would be able to afford the masters full time as my parents live in a city which has a good Russel group university which offers the MA Applied Linguistics with TESOL. Plus, in the cost of tuition in England for a masters is much lower than in America thankfully. With what I have in my savings account and what I have saved in China, I could just about pay off my remaining student debt and cost of the masters.

If I did the masters distance, I'd probably be working where I am now, at a Chinese uni (10 hours a week, lots of holiday) so I do have plenty of free time. That said, the appeal of getting it over and done with in one year is very tempting.

@ Reddevil79 - One of the reasons why I'm looking to do a masters is to work in the Middle East at sometime. The wages there a big draw for me. I've looked at the different course content and can clearly see there is a difference.

For example the Applied Linguistic course appears to be theoretical, but the English Language Teaching course has classroom teaching. I'm hoping that if I do Applied Linguistics that my CELTA and 2 year's experience would cover that area. Then again, there's always the DELTA if I wanted a practical course. So many options!

Could I ask your background before you did the MA? Was your BA in a related field? Did you have teaching experience? If so where? I'm more than a little concerned that my knowledge of English is lacking - Chinese universities focus on Oral English, nothing else generally. So in my free time I'm reading grammar books and going on forums to see if I can answer learner's questions for practise.

@tttompatz - I'm not looking at American universities. For one thing the cost of them is high from what I understand. Secondly, I'm from the U.K. and feel more familiar with them. It may sound daft but there's a certain 'comfort' level, which is what I'd want investing so much time and money.

@naturegirl321 - I hadn't thought about that, I don't think that happens much in the U.K., though I could be wrong. It's always worth checking. I vaguely remember the DOS of my CELTA course mentioning something about a CELTA being valued at MA level on some courses...you've jogged something in my memory there.

@52skidoo - I'm not sure what the process is for getting a teaching licence in Australia (I'm assuming that's where you're from), but in the U.K. you study for a year at university then must work in a school for a year to get Q.T.S. (Qualified Teacher Status), which is incompatible with full time study of a masters.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"CELTA being valued at MA level on some courses..."
He/She was pulling your leg. DELTA maybe.
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Chancellor



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 1337
Location: Ji'an, China - if you're willing to send me cigars, I accept donations :)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject: Re: MA - Distance learning Reply with quote

tttompatz wrote:
Shroob wrote:

One of my concerns is about how potential employers would view the distance MA over a regular MA. Does this matter?


In my experience, as long as it is a properly accredited school from the US (be careful cause there are lots of dodgy degree mills) or from a commonwealth country (degree mills are illegal) then you should be fine. It won't say, "distance learning" anywhere on the parchment.

.
Agreed. And, of course, in the US that means regional accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the U. S. Department of Indoctrination - er um I mean Education. Twisted Evil
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3352
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: MA - Distance learning Reply with quote

Chancellor wrote:
And, of course, in the US that means regional accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the U. S. Department of Indoctrination - er um I mean Education.

As I recall, you too want all Americans to be indoctrinated into a certain way of being "American" that has nothing to do with the Constitution. I still prefer a very open Department of Education rather than a parochial one.
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Chancellor



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 1337
Location: Ji'an, China - if you're willing to send me cigars, I accept donations :)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: MA - Distance learning Reply with quote

Henry_Cowell wrote:
Chancellor wrote:
And, of course, in the US that means regional accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the U. S. Department of Indoctrination - er um I mean Education.

As I recall, you too want all Americans to be indoctrinated into a certain way of being "American" that has nothing to do with the Constitution. I still prefer a very open Department of Education rather than a parochial one.
Your recollection is faulty and the Constitution doesn't address the issue of indoctrination.
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3352
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall clearly enough. And I re-read the relevant thread.

Your comment about the Constitution is strange. Where did I say that it "addresses the issue of indoctrination"?

If you want to continue, please send me a PM. You were the one who injected a political viewpoint into what had been a non-political thread, and I simply responded. I have no wish to add more off-topic material to this thread.
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 232
Location: Neither here nor there

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you’re interested in the Middle East, then definitely check out some of the forums here; I’m seeing more and more posts about places not accepting distance Masters…supposedly.

I’d had about five years teaching practice before doing my Masters, most asked for a minimum of three. I did in fact study for a PGCE (UK teaching licence) focusing on modern languages a few years before, so I really wanted to focus more on language theory when it came to my Masters.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:29 am    Post subject: Re: MA - Distance learning Reply with quote

Perilla wrote:
Shroob wrote:
One of my concerns is about how potential employers would view the distance MA over a regular MA. Does this matter?


Most employers wouldn't be bothered - the main thing is that the degree comes from a 'real' university.

I've heard it MAY be an issue in the ME.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10955
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shroob wrote:
One of the reasons why I'm looking to do a masters is to work in the Middle East at sometime. The wages there a big draw for me. I've looked at the different course content and can clearly see there is a difference.

Frankly, Mid East employers aren't picky about what your degree major is as long as it's relevant to TEFL and you possess the right amount and level of teaching experience. However, a degree completed via distance learning will somewhat limit your job opportunities in the region. I suggest browsing the Mid East forums or doing a search on this site; this topic was recently addressed.
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