Loading Notifications...

Open University Alternatives

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
 Andy Gamisou 10 Jan 2021

I'm quite interested in doing a post graduate degree via a distance learning route  (is there any other at the moment).  The OU is the obvious choice, but was wondering what alternatives there are.  Obviously I'm researching this myself, but I know there's a whole bunch of academics (and others) here who might have a good opinion.

I'm based abroad in a EU country, and interested in a Masters in computing or AI or similar.

TIA

 Doug 10 Jan 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

friend of mine is doing a part time MSc in GIS with a Swedish university. Its all on line with quite a lot of projects to do & submit, plus reading & videos of lectures. Seems to work for her & I get the impression that there is no rigid timetable so if particularly busy with her job she can take a break for a month or two without any problems. She doesn't really need the MSc as she already has a PhD (frshwater biology) but wants to improve her GIS skills. Might be worth searching other Swedish universities as I suspect others have similar courses but in other subjects

edit to add - think it might be this http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/lubas/i-uoh-lu-NAGIV 

Unlike the OU, no tuition fees if you are from an EU country

Post edited at 08:15
 tjdodd 10 Jan 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

Its worth looking at

https://instituteofcoding.org/learners/

There are some free courses.  However, if you want a full masters you will need to pay fees and these are likely to be increasing for EU students.  As suggested above you might be better looking for an EU based university as the fees are likely to be less/zero.

 Andy Gamisou 10 Jan 2021
In reply to Doug:

Thanks, I'll have a look.

 Andy Gamisou 10 Jan 2021
In reply to tjdodd:

Seems useful.  Thanks.

 mbh 10 Jan 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

I did all four courses of a 'Micromasters' in statistics and data science from MIT. Something like $300 per course if you did it now. When I did them, finishing 18 months ago, you could do the lot for free except for the final 'capstone exams' and that's what I did. Only one course (led by Regina Barzilay) was actually on machine learning per se, the others were on statistics, probability etc. Barring one of the courses, the standard was very high and the workload immense. Esther Duflo, one of the instructors, got a Nobel prize while I was doing it, which was cool.

Some MOOCS I have done, however, have been much less impressive, but the MIT ones have generally been excellent and well worth the money.

There will be other 'micromasters' like this one around, some with a stronger focus on machine learning/AI . I hear good things about the one from Colombia. There are loads of other MOOCs on machine learning and AI. Anything by Andrew Ng is worth a look.

Mine was offered through edX.

 mbh 10 Jan 2021
In reply to Doug:

That sounds interesting. Except that I am no longer part of the EU

I wanted to improve my GIS skills, and I also don't need any more certificates. Doing it by MOOC works for me, but the only one I could find that enables me to use QGIS was from EPFL, so now I am improving my French as well!

 Martin Wood 10 Jan 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

No/very little face-to-face teaching will start this academic year. Mine is certainly all on line this term. Too early to tell what will happen 2021/22 until the C19 information becomes clearer and thus how universities will react. It is likely all will return to face-to-face teaching, as it is important for educational achievement.

If you're based in the EU then the UK is no longer likely to be your first choice, although my university has frozen EU UG tuition fees for 2021. The new kid on the block is the £100mTuring Scheme which replaces Erasmus+. Commonwealth and US universities seem to be the priority. That said, UK HEIs are likely to want to enable European students to travel here to study. 

If you are committed to doing a post graduate degree via a distance learning route there are obvious advantages: cutting out travel and accommodation costs, for instance, and being able to integrate study and work. No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have access to a personal computer and a good internet connection, you can choose from a range of programmes, delivered flexibly by e-learning.

On the other hand, of course, someone doing distance study will sacrifice the personal interaction with fellow learners and the chance to step out of the workplace to reflect on practice. I once designed a distance learning programme that I called "close learning" because students (post-experience) were very "close" to where they did their work. Learning material was brought to them via the web and coaching was by email and over the phone.

 Andy Gamisou 11 Jan 2021
In reply to mbh:

Thanks for those suggestions!  I'll look into them.

 Andy Gamisou 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Martin Wood:

Appreciate the input.  I'm fairly committed to the distance route, but understand it's limitations.  Bit of a loner, so doubt I'll miss the inter-student interaction ;-)

 Andy Gamisou 11 Jan 2021
In reply to mbh:

The Colombia one, though probably excellent, is a little above my budget at around $70k.

 mbh 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

I didn't mean a whole masters, just their graduate level 'micromasters', which is about £700, but it it looks like it won't be around for long anyway.

https://www.edx.org/micromasters/columbiax-artificial-intelligence

 SouthernSteve 12 Jan 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

Note the completion rate on a MOOC is about 17%, even accounting for those that try before they commit, that is poor. I would check that statistic for any course. 

 mbh 12 Jan 2021
In reply to SouthernSteve:

It is inevitable that completion rates for MOOCs will be low given that anyone can start one and you can start without paying, as I normally do, and even if you do pay, the cost is often low.

MOOCs probably don't work that well for weak and unmotivated learners. But if you are motivated and disciplined and you choose the right MOOC, they can be a great way to learn.

I only worry about what I am going to learn and not about how what I have done will be regarded by an employer, nor about the gaining of transferable credits. Others might need to do that. If you need an actual masters, then you need to do one.

I must say that by the time I need to pay I normally have a very good idea as to whether doing so will be worth it for me. By that time, if at all in fact, the fraction of other learners who complete is not something I consider. I do consider whether the course seems to be of high enough quality so that the time and money required will be well spent. The experience I have had in a few of the MITx ones on edX especially, but also others, has easily been the equal of what I got at the bricks and mortar institution I attended long ago.

That said, some others I have done have been pretty flimsy.


Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.