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Old 02-09-2010, 06:25 AM   #1
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Default Stigma associated with online degrees

A bit about myself. I'm graduating later this year from a Bachelor's in Arts in Psychology from McGill and considering a career in game design. I read most of the information out there (thank you sloperama), and there seems to be a stigma attached to online degrees for various reasons. Either they are supposedly unfocused, claim to be something they are not, are needlessly fast-tracked, or just completely discredited by future employers.

What about Full Sail (fullsail.edu)? The school seems to be touted by industry leaders as "top 5," but what of their online program? Is anyone attending? What is the word of mouth about it? What is the truth about it?

I understand that it's most likely a better idea to pursue a standard, class-room, hands-on experience for its time-tested success, but what do some of you industry experts and informed folk think about online degrees such as Full Sail's?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:27 AM   #2
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You're welcome.
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:12 AM   #3
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It still doesn't answer my question. That exchange simply tells me what I already knew: that brick-and-mortar education is superior to online programs; but why?

Let me rephrase it. Given that Full Sail CLAIMS that their online Game Design Bachelor's of Science degree is the same as their on-campus Game Design Bachelor's of Science degree, and given that we know about the obvious tuition/expenses differences, what are the other differences?

I'm mostly looking for a third party perspective on the concrete differences. It's difficult for me to take an optimization approach to my dilemma if I only know that I'm trading in a couple of thousand of dollars and a temporary lifestyle change for something as vague as "brick-and-mortar" has more benefits.

P.S. I tried talking to various "LIVE chat" reps and they give you the typical PR response: biased BS.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:05 AM   #4
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I'm also looking into attending the online course at Full Sail I think its there right in front of you. While the online course at Full Sail seems to offer what you need along the lines of communicating with peers and teachers it still doesn't do the justice of being there on campus and rubbing shoulders with people while learning this we know. The curriculum meets the criteria for area of study(at least with what I would like to do). Its always going to come down to YOU and the time you choose to put into it whether it be online or on campus. Do I think Full Sail can give you true fundamentals? No the courses are very accelerated were talking about months per semester the most you can do is grasp the concepts so its going to be up to YOU to go outside of the courses and advance what you've learned for your portfolio. Basically what I've understood from tsloper's advice is you need to go to school so you are not out there flying blind with educating yourself. Once you've been giving the direction the path you take is totally in your own hands. Right now online is pretty much my only choice when it comes to a "top 5" gaming school that I can afford.

Last edited by thecore95 : 02-09-2010 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:15 AM   #5
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Tom can correct me if I'm wrong in saying this, but I think what he's saying is, it doesn't matter if you go to a brick and mortar school, get an online degree, or teach yourself; it matters that you can get the job done. Obviously face time with instructors is great, and a degree carries a certain amount of weight, but in the long run you're a game designer because you design games, not because it's printed on your degree.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro View Post
I think what he's saying is, it doesn't matter if you go to a brick and mortar school, get an online degree, or teach yourself; it matters that you can get the job done.
I believe that is correct. Essentially: stop worrying about appearances!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbot
That exchange simply tells me what I already knew: that brick-and-mortar education is superior to online programs; but why?
I can't comment on the quality of these courses myself since I havn't attended an online course. However, I can offer my perspective...

It seems the quality of teaching just isn't there. Sometimes described as "lacking". Essentially, some courses can just be directed self-study, where material is simply thrown at students. Technical difficulties can also cause severe problems.

The area is largely new. Best practices that are well-known and widely adopted may not apply to teaching online. This presents a challenge to teachers. It can also disadvantage the students.

In terms of logistics, there is a limited amount of interaction between teachers and other students. This means there is less support. Students are largely on their own. This can also stunt the development of teamwork and communication skills that employers value. Virtual gatherings are a reasonable alternative, however they lack the full experience you can get from a face-to-face exchange. Furthermore, in any team effort you are dependent on the time and motivation of your peers. For degrees that offer "flexibility" or students spread across time zones, this can be challenging.

There are also queries about the assessment. Are schools using online examinations? Are they reliable? Do they prevent cheating?

Etc..
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:45 PM   #7
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First off I agree with the above posts

Secondly, you also need to know that the Game Design Online course is brand new at Full Sail and they haven't had a graduating class yet. I graduated from Full Sail a few years ago in the Game Design and Development Bachelors Degree (as it was called then), and it was great (and really worked out for me in the long run).

Third, there are two other big things you will miss not being on campus. One being the group interactions especially for your Senior project. Two having face to face time with a career advisor. These people are one of the most valuable resources at the school, and if you have good rapport with them it will definitely help with your career.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:32 AM   #8
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There is also an option to go on campus near the end of the major which I'm hoping to take advantage of if I decide to go here which I'm pretty much convinced I'm ready to do.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:01 AM   #9
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If you already going to have a B.A., why do you feel the need to obtain another one?

Honestly, in my opinion, getting any type of game design degree are for people who aren't motivated enough to simply teach themselves through study and more importantly, hands-on practice by designing games. There's nothing they will teach you at Full Sails that you can't learn on your own, and a degree from there won't give you any type of edge when you try to break-in.

You already have a B.A., awesome. Now start designing games in your spare time, read game design books, learn how to use GameMaker 8 at the least and just make games. Luckily, this industry is much more concerned on what you can do then what degrees you have and from where. Save yourself the money and time by not going to Full Sails and doing what I suggested. In the mean time, you could get your foot in the door by landing a QA job.

Just my two cents.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndimucci View Post
If you already going to have a B.A., why do you feel the need to obtain another one?

Honestly, in my opinion, getting any type of game design degree are for people who aren't motivated enough to simply teach themselves through study and more importantly, hands-on practice by designing games. There's nothing they will teach you at Full Sails that you can't learn on your own, and a degree from there won't give you any type of edge when you try to break-in.

You already have a B.A., awesome. Now start designing games in your spare time, read game design books, learn how to use GameMaker 8 at the least and just make games. Luckily, this industry is much more concerned on what you can do then what degrees you have and from where. Save yourself the money and time by not going to Full Sails and doing what I suggested. In the mean time, you could get your foot in the door by landing a QA job.

Just my two cents.
What do you think of a Masters of Science in Game Design that they offer? It's tailored towards Bachelor degree graduates; the same people who have gone through the trials and tribulations of grinding and learning on an advanced level.

Full Sail is an accredited University. Master's degrees offer a specialization that most graduates benefit from. Sure, any Bachelor grad has the tools and the trained mental stamina to pursue self-education, but that's an argument arguing against the merits of a Master's in general.

Seeing that you, personally, are pursuing a Master's degree in a related field, I'm interested in your opinion on the matter. Is Game Design just a tacked on label to attract a niche population into superior studies?
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