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Conflicted about Distance-Learning (Saybrook, anyone?)

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by distancepath, May 2, 2007.

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  1. distancepath

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    Hi all,

    I'm new here and am thinking about attending Saybrook Graduate School for a Ph.D. I read the post somewhere below where someone thought that it was a good program, but they didn't say too much more about it. I was wondering if anyone has a take on, or experience in, Saybrook in particular or distance-learning psych Ph.D. programs in general.

    My main reservation is my marketability with the degree post-graduation. I would like to teach and write books and develop seminars; however, I'd like to feel confident that a community college wouldn't be the only place I could get a teaching position at. I don't expect Yale or Harvard to be calling up the next day, but at the same time, I wonder just how questioned are these distance-learning degrees?

    The program isn't APA accredited and is only accredited by a regional state board WASC, which speaks to my concern about the number/quality of job opportunities out there post-grad.

    Some of the people I spoke with say they did the program for personal enrichment and less for job advancement, but in my opinion $100k is a heck of a lot to spend for personal enrichment.

    I know that nothing anywhere is guaranteed, but if someone could shed some light on how different places approach a distance-degreed candidate, what the attitudes are out there (in general) about them, it would be immensely helpful.

    This decision is causing me a good deal of anxiety, but probably rightfully so, because I want to be as sure as I can that I am making a good decision.

    - Scott
     
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  3. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    Online, not APA accredited, and you want to teach....it is definitely not a good fit for what you want. Teaching positions anywhere are at least moderately competitive (some are VERY), and the accreditation issue will torpedo your chances, as will the fact it is online.

    If you want to teach, your best bet is a traditional research oriented PhD program. As faculty, you'd need to produce research, along with all of the other responsibilities. A big part of academia (and securing a position) is about who you know, and who knows you. Traditional programs tend to be close knit; there is something to be said about spending a lot of time working side by side with people. (I am admittedly NOT a fan of any online courses, but my bias aside...i still think it is a concern) A PsyD can teach, but even that is a bit of an uphill battle. If academia is squarely your goal (including writing books, seminars, etc)....a traditional research oriented PhD program is really your only choice.

    For what you want, and what it will provide....not worth it in my opinion.

    Generally, they are not well respected, ESPECIALLY in academia. Academia is very slow to adjust, and many places still aren't wild about traditional PsyD programs, so an online program isn't even on the radar.

    I'd re-evaluate your situation, and look at traditional PhD programs that may fit your situation. If you haven't picked it up yet, DEFINITELY look into "The Insider's Guide to Clinical Psychology" (or something like that). It will help you compare programs across the US, many of which you would not think of for psych....but in fact are excellent schools. I'm not sure if you are 'stuck' where you are, but the vast majority of people end up needing to move to attend a clinical program.

    -t
     
  4. RayneeDeigh

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    Hi there!

    I can only offer my personal opinion since I'm not an expert on employability in the field or anything.

    If it isn't APA accredited (I don't even know if any distance programs ARE), you're going to run into problems getting an academic position. It's already a tough nut to crack, and you'd just be setting yourself up for a lot of difficulty.

    I LOVE distance ed courses and did a few of my undergrad requirements that way (just because I like working on my own time and being self-directed) but I'm honestly not sure how a PhD in psychology would translate into distance learning. I don't think it's as respected as the traditional style of in-person courses and whether or not that's fair, it's definitely something you should consider before dropping so much money into it.

    Good luck with your decision and I hope it turns out well for you!
     
  5. Ollie123

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    Academic jobs are tough enough to find if you go to a traditional program at a top research institution. I won't say its impossible to teach at a mid-low level program with an online degree, but I'd guess it is very very hard. Heck its very hard to do even if you DO go someplace like Yale!

    I do know that pretty much all the postings I've seen for faculty jobs require graduation from an APA accredited institution. I can only think of one exception offhand and I looked into them a lot when I was having my "Is psych right for me" nervous breakdown. I was looking at major research institutions though, and from what I understand it is "generally" easier to find jobs at 4 year and community colleges. Though obviously top-notch 4 year colleges still tend to be VERY hard to get into (even more so than plenty of universities). As a general trend though I think that holds true.

    I'd think very hard before dropping 100k on an online, non-accredited program. Understand that by doing so, you will be fighting an uphill battle for the rest of your life given the sorts of things you want to do. If you are willing to do that, than it may be worth it to you. If it were me, I'd take time off and reapply but I don't know what your situation is, if applying all across the country is an option for you, and if you think you would be competitive for spots at a traditional PhD program.

    Basically, it all boils down to be cautious before doing this, which it sounds like you are doing. Look at job postings at the kind of schools you'd like to teach at and see if they require APA accreditation. I imagine 4 year schools might care less about this since you won't be expected to supervise student's clinical work, but I didn't look at any so I don't know.

    Another thing to keep in mind is how resources are set up to help you. How can you manage running a dissertation without a physical lab to work with? Are you bringing subjects to your house? Renting a warehouse for a week? Do you need lab equipment? What about practicums located in your area, can you get one? How will those work?

    These are all things to consider that vary depending on what you specifically want to do. If you are interested in psychophysiology, I can't imagine an online program working for you. If you are interested in pure survey research....maybe it would.
     
  6. distancepath

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    Let me first just say that I'm really glad I found this board.

    I really appreciate all your great feedback on this. This is a bit of an agonizing decision for me because I was involved in a car accident which has left me unable to sit for extended periods of time (hence, making a traditional Ph.D. program nearly out of the question).

    I agree with the points you've brought up, namely that it's a lot of money for placing myself in an uphill battle on the Ph.D. job market. I don't think I'd want to teach at a traditional research psych program though, but more in the area of humanisitic/depth psychology doing psychohistorical research, qualitative research, etc. So I don't know if this changes things at all . . . maybe not.

    Here's the irony: Right out of college I was admitted with a full ride to U. Delaware's Clinical Psych Ph.D. program, as well as Hofstra and Arizona State U., but I dropped out because I had some personal problems and felt extremely isolated. Here I am 10 years later, and wanting to return to that path, but finding myself very restricted in my options.

    I guess it's going to take a considerable effort to get to that next level, any way I look at it, certainly as much an effort as when I was 22 and going to U. Delaware.

    If you have any more thoughts, I'd be happy to hear them.

    - Scott
     
  7. distancepath

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    Let me first just say that I'm really glad I found this board.

    I really appreciate all your great feedback on this. This is a bit of an agonizing decision for me because I was involved in a car accident which has left me unable to sit for extended periods of time (hence, making a traditional Ph.D. program nearly out of the question).

    I agree with the points you've brought up, namely that it's a lot of money for placing myself in an uphill battle on the Ph.D. job market. I don't think I'd want to teach at a traditional research psych program though, but more in the area of humanisitic/depth psychology doing psychohistorical research, qualitative research, etc. So I don't know if this changes things at all . . . maybe not.

    Here's the irony: Right out of college I was admitted with a full ride to U. Delaware's Clinical Psych Ph.D. program, as well as Hofstra and Arizona State U., but I dropped out because I had some personal problems and felt extremely isolated. Here I am 10 years later, and wanting to return to that path, but finding myself very restricted in my options.

    I guess it's going to take a considerable effort to get to that next level, any way I look at it, certainly as much an effort as when I was 22 and going to U. Delaware.

    If you have any more thoughts, I'd be happy to hear them.

    - Scott
     
  8. paramour

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    If you're interested in distance learning, try Fielding Graduate University. It is the only (as far as I know) APA-accredited distance-learning program. There are some "in-person" requirements but you can typically make them work for you regardless of where you live. You may simply need to suck it up to do a bit of travel on occasion if there aren't others in your area who can work with you.
     
  9. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    I'd like to start by saying that much of what has been said already does contain nuggets of truth but -- like the prejudices you were warned to be aware -- is mixed with a generous scoop of mythology.

    First, the faculty placement battle is tough all around! Given the tipping of the scales to more adjuncts than tenure tracks, the remaining full-time positions are extremely competitive. An internship colleague of mine -- with excellent academic, professional, and publishing credentials got a grand total of ZERO offers. (She eventually landed a staff position at a university and is slowly chipping her way toward acquiring a teaching load.)

    But if you are interested teaching as an adjunct, the doors are wide open.
    During graduate school and since, I have held 5 adjunct appointments (2 campus based and three online).

    Truthfully, as psychology has many academic specialities and only clinical/counseling programs are accredited by APA, the assertions that lacking APA approval will doom your chances for a teaching position is a red herring. Saybrook is regionally accredited which is the same standard used by conventional programs.

    On the clinical side, however, that is a valid concern, but ignores the reality that the entire licensing process for psychology is a hodgepodge of independently determined standards and is difficult to traverse for ANY graduate, not just distance/non-APA program ones.

    Yes, lacking APA accreditation there are some states you will never be able to license in. But that hardly is the same as fighting an uphill battle for "the rest of your life."

    One of my undergraduate professors, commenting on the perceived lack of prestige of our state college degrees said: It only matters for your first job. Once you start amassing experience and a solid performance record, few people will look back to see where you went to college.

    The same is largely true at the graduate level.

    Unless you are planning to hopscotch across the country during your career (which would raise flags of its own), once you have obtained licensure in one state that will potentially smooth the way into other states. However, as I mentioned earlier, for inexplicable reasons, license mobility in psychology is much harder than any other profession.

    The debt load concern is a valid one, but not specific to distance learning. You would end up with the same debt at a campus based PsyD professional program and -- as has been discussed elsewhere on these boards -- even "full ride" university PhD students are not all leaving with zero debt.

    For a license-track program, you will have to attend some campus-based activities. (All licensing laws require some time "in residence.") Let us not ignore that much of clinical psychology is theoretical with a sizable amount of empirical literature. There really is no reason that you be sitting in a classroom to read and discuss those facets of the discipline. For the interactive skills sets inherent in clinical practice, you will have face-to-face didactics.

    Frankly, my classmates and I wondered aloud why our university chose clinical psych as one of its first programs. Our concern was not that we felt our academics were lacking (quite the opposite, actually). However, the profession of psychology is very parochial and insular and coupled with the illogic of the licensing process, there are a lot of hoops which one must jump through and coming from a distance program adds to -- but does not create --that complexity.

    Feel free to PM me if you want more specific information.

    <--- PhD (2006) Capella University
     
  10. JockNerd

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    I'm a bit confused here. While I'm sure that your condition is severe and does impair your abilities in some ways, I can't see this being a reason on its own to not go to a traditional PhD program. This seems to me to be a disability that a school would have a fine time making accomodations for. As someone with aquired/permanent disability, you qualify for funding that isn't accessible to everyone. And, frankly, it looks good for a program to show that they can graduate people with different abilities.

    Is there anything other than this holding you back from going to a traditional PhD program?
     
  11. Ollie123

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    I'm also a bit confused by this. I've seen much greater accomodations made for students...would this be as simple as setting up a podium instead of a normal desk so you can stand while you're working, or something like that? Maybe get you a mat and a laptop so you can lie on the floor? (I'm not sure what position is the most comfortable alternative to sitting).

    Please, correct me if I'm misunderstanding, but I'd think it would be very reasonable to make these accomodations. Don't feel like a non-APA online program is the "only" avenue you have left if its just a matter of you not being able to sit down for extended periods of time.

    I'm also very sorry to hear about your accident. I wish you the best of luck with graduate school!
     
  12. Ollie123

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    psychwhy also makes a good point about adjunct teaching. I assumed you were looking for a full-time tenure track position since that is usually what everyone means when they say they want to go into academia or teach.

    If you just want to teach a few classes here and there without it being an actual full-time position, then it should still be an option.

    Also psychwhy - I think I know why they chose clinical psych. Supply and demand. There are sooooo many people vying for so few spots in this field they knew they could fill the class, something they might not have been so confident of in other areas.
     
  13. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    After some additional research, I think the bigger problem with Saybrook would not be its online status but:

    1) Its accreditation has been placed in "warning" status.
    http://www.wascsenior.org/institutions/programs/ps_101.pdf

    2) The focus of their psychology curriculum is likely to raise eyebrows (and scorn) from mainstream programs. Saybrook's psychology degrees are in:

    • Consciousness and Spirituality
    • Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology
    • Integrative Health Studies
    • Organizational Systems
    • Social Transformation

    The fact that they also have a licensure track PhD seems to speak to Ollie's suggestion that it is likely an attempt to capitalize on the supply and demand issues in professional psychology.

    I will give Saybrook credit for one thing ... they are open about the challenges their graduates would face in licensure and do nothing to sugar-coat or equivocate the reality (unlike my alma mater!)

    I'll say it again -- one can earn a professional viable distance delivered PhD/PsyD in clinical psychology. This particular program, however, calls for at least a couple extra layers of scrutiny.
     
  14. Ollie123

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    Yikes.
    Yeah, I'd stay as far away as you possibly can. Not being APA-accredited is questionable, but on the verge of losing regional? I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't find that suspicious.

    I also didn't look into the curriculum. While some of those topics are interesting to examine, they are far off the mainstream and stink of being philosophical rather than scientific. There's certainly something to be said for philosophy of the mind - I find it fascinating personally. However, the VAST majority of psychology departments these days are moving increasingly towards the hard science area. Barring some sort of unforeseen "rebound" in the field, I think that sort of psychology is on its way out in favor of strict empirical science/treatment.

    Be very very careful with this program. There are enough hurdles in this field if you graduate from a top, fully accredited, etc. program - no need to give yourself this many more.
     
  15. JockNerd

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    Your prof was comparing a state college versus... an ivy-league college? The discussion was on online degrees, not alma mater prestige. Whether your degree is from Harvard or Podunk State won't matter much if you're a great researcher and academic. Having an online degree is different, a point your prof might agree with. The very nature of an online degree necessarily imposes limitations. There's no way someone getting a degree online could possibly compare with even the most feeble PhD program (or even PsyD, for someone who wants to do a little research) in terms of research.

    Degree of debt is a factor. A $10000 debt (no matter what program) is significantly different from a $100 000 debt. In a nonfunded program (PhD or PsyD) you're going to have trouble with your debt load after grad. If you have a degree from an online school with a questionable record, you'll have trouble securing anything to start repaying that.

    Not to rehash anything that's been talked about on the board a million times over, but I'd hate for someone to stumble across the above post, see it undisputed, and decide "hey, all programs are the same; I'll get a hundred-grand online degree!"
     
  16. paramour

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    Although I agree in general that there are limitations with an online degree, I must point out that research is not necessarily one of them. I know an individual (granted, this is the only one I know) who is attending an online program and actually does quite a bit of research . . . and collaborates with individuals in "traditional" programs. So, I wouldn't base my decision upon this alone.
     
  17. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Actually, the point wasn't about alma mater prestige but the reality that prestige isn't the only thing that opens professional doors, but skills, experience, and accomplishments as well.

    The very nature of academic programs the world over impose limitations, not just online programs. To insinuate that all campus-based programs are equivalent while online ones are are not is to just perpetuate the myth that online learning is by design inferior to campus-based learning when the opposite has often been shown to be true (c.f. Barry & Runyan, 1995; Carey, 2001; Cheng, Lehman & Armstrong, 1991; DeNeui & Dodge, 2006; Lee, Carter-Wells, Glaeser, Ivers, & Street, 2006; Qing & Akins, 2005; Russell, 1999; Shachar & Neumann, 2003).

    Do you really think that the Podunk U (U of Montana?) grad is going to have been exposed to the same sort of experiences as the Harvard grad -- no, of course not. But one would be hard pressed to ascertain the differences between Podunk U, Backwater U, and Middle-of-Nowhere U. And here's the kicker -- assuming all are regionally accredited, the degree from Harvard, Podunk, Backwater, and Middle-of-Nowhere are all just as valid.

    What I hate to see is the repetition of this unsupported prejudice. Isn't the point of accreditation to certify minimum standards? If a school is regionally accredited, then its programs are real, its degrees are real and one should be able to assume the skills and knowledge of its graduates are real as well. So why are you insinuating -- especially in a profession where a fair number of graduate students enter seeking to become clinicians, not academics or researchers -- that you would not question the degree from Harvard, Podunk, Backwater, or Middle-of-Nowhere, but if someone had a regionally accredited degree from Online U THAT raises a red flag?

    [Note to paramour: Hey, I even know a graduate from an online doctoral program in psychology whose dissertation has been nominated for an APA division's annual award for excellence! ;) ]

    Of course, debt load is a factor, which I acknowledged in my original post.

    However, it is not the only factor.

    And, my point was that debt load is not solely a problem with online programs.
    Let's say one wants to be a teacher and is "lucky" enough to be admitted to Harvard University. Your Bachelor's will cost $185,800 ($46,450 x 4), and then your Master's $55,128 for a grand total of: $240,928.
    (Source: Harvard University admission materials, 2007)

    Before you start frothing at the mouth, I know that big schools like Harvard do offer aid packages. But looking at both the undergraduate and Graduate School of Education materials, the word LOAN appears quite a bit.

    So, here is a top flight school -- one which I doubt anyone would ever question its legitimacy.

    Would you advise a prospective teacher to not (potentially) go a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS into debt to earn the appropriate credential from Harvard University for that profession? Yet, regardless of what aid package was received, some people will defy economic logic and choose to attend Harvard and then :eek: actually work in their chosen field even though it does not guarantee riches and a favorable debt-to-earnings ratio.

    But of course, you went ahead and recycled the old insinuatory chestnuts about how online learning is inherently inferior.

    What makes you think the OP (or any subsequent reader) is unable to critically process the ample information provided without another thinly veiled "online learning - bad" screed?


    References:
    Barry, M., and Runyan, G. (1995). A review of distance learning studies in the U.S. military. The American Journal of Distance Education, 9 (3): 37&#8211;47.

    Carey, J. M. (2001). Effective Student Outcomes: A Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Delivery Modes. DEOSNEWS, 11(9). ISSN 1062-9416

    Cheng, H. C., Lehman, J. & Armstrong, P. (1991). Comparison of performance and attitude in traditional and computer conferencing classes. The American Journal of Distance Education 5 (3): 51&#8211;64.

    DeNeui, D. L. & Dodge, T. L. (2006) Asynchronous Learning Networks and Student Outcomes: The Utility of Online Learning Components in Hybrid Courses. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33(4). 256 - 259.

    Lee, J., Carter-Wells, J., Glaeser, B., Ivers, K., & Street, C. (2006). Facilitating the development of a learning community in an online graduate program. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 7(1). 13 - 33.

    Qing L. & Akins, M. (2005) Sixteen myths about online teaching and learning in higher education: Don't believe everything you hear. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 49(4). 51 - 60.

    Russell, T. L. (1999). The no significant difference phenomenon. Chapel Hill, NC: Office of Instructional Telecommunications, North Carolina State University.

    Shachar, M., & Neumann, Y., (2003). Differences Between Traditional and Distance Education Academic Performances: A meta-analytic approach International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 4(2).
     
  18. Therapist4Chnge

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    The bigger problem is the VIABILITY of a person being able to attain an academic job within the field. They may receive proper training, but there is a bias against online degrees in the field, and that will make it harder to gain employment. Psychology academia is definitely one of the most traditional areas in this regard, and change is VERY slow.

    If a person wants to work in academia in psych (tenure track), I always recommend a traditional balanced and/or slightly more research heavy PhD. Why....because that is who get the jobs. I know PsyD's and EdDs who have nice teaching positions...but they are in the vast minority.

    -t
     
  19. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    True that, T4C ... 100%

    Which is why it behooves those of us who know better to not allow the proliferation of un/misinformed, lazy logic. Either accreditation means something or ALL accredited institutions are suspect.

    Believe me, I am not crazy about the idea of having to be a trailblazer in this regard. It is always difficult to be the one who "did it the new way" first.

    Nevertheless, it is time that the status quo be challenged and changed. Bottom line, online learning is here, established, valuable, and viable. Just because some people resist acknowledging that reality, doesn't mean the rest of need to pretend it doesn't exist. Many professions (e.g. medicine, nursing, alternative health) have demonstrated some remarkable evolutions over the past 20 or so years. There is no reason why psychology cannot do likewise.
     
  20. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    It will definitely take awhile (my own bias against online training not withstanding). I think there is A LOT to be said for being face to face and have immediate access to your research team, colleagues, etc. I have learned a great deal from my classes and my clinical training....but I have also learned a plethora while working with colleagues. I've been exposed to a great deal of other research and training because of this. Online training can synthesize many aspects of traditional training, but I believe it is best as an adjunct in the clinical setting.

    -t
     
  21. RayneeDeigh

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    Please excuse my ignorance, but in reading these posts I thought of something.

    Why is there a need for online programs? :confused:

    The OP's disability sounds as though it could and would be very easily accomodated in a traditional classroom environment, especially since only the first couple years of training are course-intensive at most institutions.

    I guess I just don't understand why online programs are needed in the field, when it seems to me that there isn't much to be gained from them.
     
  22. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Well, maybe not everyone is able to take 4 - 7 years off to live a monastic existence.
    Or, just maybe, not everyone can pick up and move to anywhere in the country to secure one of those rare university PhD programs.

    It boils down to the reality that online delivery opens doors to a lot of otherwise qualified people (not just those with disabilities).

    As far as the "experience" that some believe is lost when course delivery is online, as yet, no one has provided any substantive proof that being on a campus is required to be a competent psycholologist. [Seems ironic, Therapist4Chng that your nick seem to infer you believe in the power of change ... for everything except training psychologists!]

    Yes, for those of you who earned your degrees that way, I'm sure it seemed natural to you. But extrapolating that personal experience to conclude on-campus is the ONLY way to do it is akin to people who swear they need a cell phone or 500 cable channels. They believe it to be true, but for the vast majority of subscribers, it just ain't so.
     
  23. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    I think that is part of the process. If it were easy, everyone would do it. There is something to be said for people who are willing to make the sacrifices. It isn't for everyone.

    There are MORE people who are qualified than get into programs, but that doesn't mean we should open up more spots.

    I haven't dug through the research, but there are certain experiences that are lost if the training isn't done residentially. People argue that online courses allow people to have their lives, etc. I think people need to be 100% dedicated to the work to become the most effective therapists. I don't want people to do it 'part-time'....I don't think that is fair to everyone else, and I don't think the training is the same. I admitted before that I have a bias against online learning.....but I have yet to see an online person do as well or better than a traditional program. The only online program I know of is Capella's. Do you know what their internship placement rate was from 2000-2006.....29%! When 71% of your people don't place....that is A PROBLEM. If that is going to be an option (still not sure it should be), then the standards need to VASTLY improve.

    -t
     
  24. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    And if you think earning a doctorate online is easy, you are as ignorant as those who believe "girls don't get math."

    An online program contains the same curriculum that a campus-based program does -- it has to or it wouldn't be accredited!

    The major difference is that one is not required to abide by the artificial construct of showing up at a specific location 3 PM on Thursdays.

    No, by all means, let's keep qualified people from attaining personal goals and providing valuable services!

    Like showing up late, sleeping in the back of the room, rushing to catch a shuttle? C'mon ...

    Of course, because studying psychology requires messianic devotion?
    Please, stop perpetuating the myth that every campus-based PhD student spends 24/7 either in classes, holed up in a lab, or engaged in some sort of intellectual debate.

    More iron clad innuendo. "I don't want ... " "I don't think ... "

    And I would agree with you IF that were truly the case.
    But you have misread the numbers (or are repeating a misreported value).

    First of all, Capella was only accredited in 1997, which means it will take a few years for the first cohorts of graduates to come through the pipeline. You are quoting its statistics for its very first classes. If you believe a new school will have a 100% Match rate, you're delusional.

    Yes, from 2000-2006 only 29% of Capella applicants were directly Matched (perhaps due to those such as yourself holding intractable prejudice against such programs?)

    If you continue across the columns, APPIC reports that 50.9% did not match. However, APPIC itself cautions that "many applicants find placements through the Clearinghouse or other means." As they also report the percentage that withdraw from the Match altogether, this could mean that 80% of Capella's student were placed in internships, just not in the direct Match. Again, APPIC itself warns to not judge a program simply on a Match rate, as you are doing. It is inexplicable why APPIC does not continue to track applicants through Clearinghouse, but they do not.

    Oh and by the way, campus-based programs with a <50% Match rate:
    Boston University (Counseling) - 30.0%
    Chestnut Hill College - 38.5%
    Immaculata University - 33.8%
    Lakehead University - 46.2%
    Philidelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine - 42.5%
    University of Missouri ~ Kansas City - 30.0%
    University of Montreal - 36.4%
     
  25. JockNerd

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    uuugh can't believe I'm posting again...

    Sexy as references in a web forum post may be, the ones provided don't support your position. They're either conceptual reviews of the use of internet-based undergrad courses or net-based course discussions forums (with heading topics like "Question and Answer is the Best Approach For Threaded Discussion," one of the myths in Li and Akins. Informative!) or based on undergrad coursework. I couldn't find the Lee and colleagues article, the only one that seems to pertain to the discussion, online. The nature of clinical PhD training is different from an undergrad business course. If those are the best examples you have....

    Including undergrad tuition in your debt calculation is a red herring as well. Obviously the online degree, PhD, or PsyD student will have comparable undergrad debt loads. Differences arise in graduate schooling. The $50 000 Harvard debt (or any institution not funding students) is still significantly more than $100 000. And, the point about the ease of paying it back still stands.

    (Incidently, as a Canadian I have no idea how Americans can afford to pay that kind of money for their undergrads. My entire 4 year degree cost about $10 000 and got me into a great PhD program.)

    It's great that you know someone who was nominated for an APA division award. Researchers nominate themselves for those awards. Let me know when someone from Saybrook wins one.

    As T4C mentioned, more spots aren't good. More spots mean fewer properly funded students. It's a competitive profession. Having personal goals doesn't qualify you.

    The ability to name 7 programs with low match rates is insignificant.
    Not every program will have 80% match rates. 7/300 doesn't mean that the training in all the rest of the programs is equal to training in an online degree. And even UMKC's 30% is better than Saybrook's 0%.
     
  26. KillerDiller

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    Psychwhy, I think you have an excellent point about how traditional programs shouldn't be exempt from scruitiny simply because they are campus-based. Likewise, I agree that people shouldn't be skeptical about an online program simply because it is online. I'm of the school of thought that every program should be subject to intense scrutiny by potential students--both accredited and unaccredited, traditional and distance based. The standards of the APA aren't exactly high in some instances, so that means that students cannot rely on that alone to tell them which programs will deliver the best educational experiences.

    That being said, I don't think you will get far with your arguments for online programs if you resort to trafficking in myths about traditional programs. No campus based program I've ever attended or heard of would allow students to sleep in the back of class. Similarly, there's a lot more committment required than simply showing up at 3pm. With the symposiums, research labs, practica, and student teaching, learning about psychology becomes a more-than-full-time job. I'm willing to believe that this can tranlate to the web, but I don't think that saying it all boils down the course work will win people over to your side.

    Also, to throw this into the mix, I know of a program that just this year had their first round of students go through internship placement. They placed 92% of them, so good stats are possible even for young programs.
     
  27. JockNerd

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    Hear hear. I'm in total accord, KD.
     
  28. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Yet here you are ...

    Funny, but those supporting conventional over distance are providing NONE.
    Has anyone ever empirically validated conventional training?

    I do not make a living supporting the "cause" of online learning so I have not done a literature review in a while. But I will be sure to bulk up the data ...

    If the point was solely about college debt, you might have a point. But, again, you are prooftexting and taking things out of context.

    The Harvard example was simple illustrative that it is possible to amass a sizable debt in pursuit of other professional credentials as well.

    Even if you remove undergraduate costs completely, your argument about not assuming a debt load would essentially disqualify anyone from every seeking a teaching degree as none are research based providing full rides.
    Even if you "only" incur the $50,000 debt, you are still entering a profession that is not known for stellar pay.

    The point was -- and is -- people are motivated to pursue higher education for reasons beyond the financial.


    And some (like this) are nominated by division members who actually served on the dissertation committee ...

    Before you blow smoke, you should make sure you know what is burning.

    (PS - I think the issue of Saybrook's status has been more than adequately addressed.)

    It's an artificially and needlessly competitive profession.
    Before professional schools, it was actually easier to get in to medical school than a psychology PhD.

    Of course there should be standards -- this is serious profession -- but that doesn't mean they need to be artificially elevated because of a lack of funding.

    (Please identify any empirical evidence beyond your ancedotal post-hoc confirmation bias that proves an applicant with a 4.0 GPA is a better psychologist than one with a 3.9.)

    Nor was that the point ... again, you all seem to be asserting that campus-based is better across the board. That is simply untrue. Using this one statistic, some campus based programs apparently don't meet your muster.

    It is mindboggling that you would accept (apparently without question) the worst campus-based program before you'd consider the best distance delivered program.

    But, it is apparent from the circular argument being forwarded, once again this is an attempt to teach pigs to sing.

    :: End of music lesson ::
     
  29. JockNerd

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    This is really just getting ludicrious. It's clear that, without adaquate reason in my opinion, you support online doctoral programs and will not be swayed by any contrary evidence. I, equally, don't think any of the reasons you provided for the equalivalence of online and campus-based programs to make any sense.

    Really, your research award story is anecdontal and not good evidence. I have no way of knowing if your friend really nominated him/herself or was nominated by anyone else.

    Financial reasons SHOULD absolutely be a factor in program consideration. In my opinion, no one should go into debt to get a degree in a profession that doesn't guarantee that it can be paid back. Retake the GRE, spend a year getting research experience, don't restrict yourself geographically... people can get into a funded program. Like Raynee, I don't see the reason for the existence of these programs, and no reason provided during this discussion is adaquate.

    Funding doesn't create articificial competition. It ensures that students can make it through a grad program without incurring crushing debt. There's just not enough funding to get everyone in. As for that "4.0 GPA is better than [etc.]" statement, well, that would be meaningful if either I had said that sort of thing should be a criteria or if any program in existence made that kind of judgement. We all know that factors that go into getting in. People who have demonstated their abilities will get good positions (given reasonable preparation on their part in terms of find programs they fit with and such). Programs may need to pass on students they would take if they had the money, but students should be able to get into at least one program they really like and want to go to.

    I would absolutely take any campus-based program over any distance one, for exactly the same reason that I would never let a surgeon with a distance-ed degree come near me.
     
  30. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    Excellent point. This is generally my stance. The OP was asking about the program in regard to academia, which is why my answer was a bit more forward.

    As I've said in countless other threads....match rate is not the end all and be all, but 29% vs 75% (avg acceptance rate) is hard to ignore. Even with 'newer' classes, that is still a concern.

    I am not a "PhD, 7 years of research or else" type person.....I support PsyD's (my background) and some professional schools, but I want to make sure people go in with their eyes open. Online programs I am admittedly not a fan of, mostly because I don't think they translate well to a clinical curriculum. English, business, poli sci....all fine online, but when you are dealing in an area that has such a focus on relational interaction.....isn't it contradictory to have the learning take place 'at a distance'?

    -t
     
  31. RayneeDeigh

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    Um...

    Okay so while I think your reply to me questioning the purpose of online courses was unnecessarily hostile, I'll agree that it increases flexibility for people who maybe can't afford to move across the country, or single parents who have to take care of children, yadda yadda.

    But here, you've lost me. You support online programs because they allow one to not have to abide by schedules? Isn't that kind of what... jobs require? If a patient books an appointment at 3PM on a Thursday, don't you have to appear for it?
     
  32. psychanon

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    We can't Ph.D.'s to everyone who wants one. If you're not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to obtain quality training, then perhaps your not as committed to the goal as you make it seem. And as we've been through before, producing more psychologists is NOT going to translate into more services available! There is a finite number of positions available, and producing more psychologists is not going to change that, it's just going to push salaries down further. There is definitely not a shortage of psychologists in this country. Plus, having more poorly trained psychologists is not a good things, as poorly delivered therapy does more harm than good.

    My class has 7 people in it. That's 7 people in each of my classes. Nobody is sleeping in the back of the class.

    Anyone want to take a poll? I'd say I spend at least 70-80 hours/ week working. In my first year, I would get at least 350 pages of reading for my classes per week, and we definitely had to do it all.

    The fact is, I just can't buy that the kind of education that I'm getting at my program could be offered online. I just can't. Things like role playing in practica, group supervision with talented peers, one-on-one supervision with well-known faculty, etc. etc. are so important to clinical training-- and they really can't be replicated by reading through a website.

    the numbers reported on APPIC are highly inflated by recent internship applicants, as Capella didn't generate too many before 2002:
    from APPIC's website:

    CAPELLA UNIVERSITY
    year # applicants
    2000 1
    2001 7
    2002 10
    2003 9
    2004 17
    2005 22
    2006 23

    So many of the more recent applicants are not matching either. Is match rate the be all and end all of indicators of quality? Of course not-- with small classes, rates can be deflated by one non-matcher with extenuating circumstances. But they do cause alarm when 1) they're remarkably low, as they are here; 2) there is other reason to suspect poor quality (such as a for profit company offering degrees online); and 3) when classes are bigger, as they are in 2004 on (as we all know, bigger N--> more power to demonstrate a real effect).

    And maybe the match rates are low because of biases in the field. But when experts across a field have a systematic bias against something, you gotta wonder if they're onto something. Besides, if there's a bias, regardless of whether it is accurate you will have a hard time building a career, a good reason to go somewhere else.

    Well, most of these programs aren't that great either. :rolleyes:
     
  33. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Sorry, but you are the one ignoring/dismissing any contradictory evidence. Yes, I have supplied some ancedotal examples (usually to refute yours) but ALL you have have done is reiterate "I don't accept" "I don't believe." You haven't offered been one solid, verifiable, empirical piece of evidence that demonstrates campus-based programs are inherently better than distance delivered ones -- other than your personal opinion.

    And to ignore the fact that there is a fraction of the training funding provided to graduate psychology than medicine is to ignore the reality that an average entering medical school class is around 100, while an average clinical psych PhD program is more like 5. High school mathematics will tell you that it is statistically much more difficult to gain entry into a PhD program than an MD program -- even though medical school has long been seen as the pinnacle of the "hard" entry professional program. That is an artificial barrier, one that the Vail Conference sought to dismantle.

    Finally, speaking of ludicrous -- comparing psychology to surgery lays bare your utter lack of understanding of the component skill sets of both professions.
     
  34. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    So sorry if you felt it was "hostile" but I'd like to see how calmly you would respond when you have people summarily dismiss your work and accomplishments because they do not fit their confirmation biased view of what is "proper."

    I'm all for a vigorous debate, but there has been no substantive evidence proving the superiority of campus based programs supplied here.

    "It needs to be done this way because that is the way it has always been done" is never adequate rationale.

    Oh c'mon RD, do you really want to forward that misdirected an argument?

    Why don't you try juggling a job, family committments AND a graduate level class load and then come back and tell me how important it is for your discussion to occur in a particular room at a specified time each week?

    Succeeding at distance learning is a venture that takes far more self-discipline and time management than a conventional program where the wheres, whens, and whats are all specified for you.

    Still, no one has offered an iota of evidence why sitting in a seminar room at a specific time each week is inherently more effective in imparting knowledge than reading and responding in an asynchronous electronic format.
     
  35. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Sorry KD, didn't realize that hyperbole is only permitted in support of campus based program. :)

    Seriously, I am off the charts insanely tired of people summarily dismissing alternative programs with no evidence other than "that's not how I did it."

    Of course in small campus based class, you are not likely to get away with literally sleeping in a class. However, it is also inherently difficult to mandate that each and every student participate with equal effort. While you may not actually be snoozing, you can sit quietly with a minimum of interaction (the "holy grail" of campus programs).

    In an online course, on the other hand, there simply is never an opportunity to just "phone it in." Each and every discussion requires a substantive response, usually supported with documented empirical evidence, not vague recollections of what you might have read.

    In addition, the part about "online" learning that seems to be conveniently ignored by its critics is that no license track program is completely online. My program required the numerical equivalent of contact hours as yours did when it comes to symposia, testing labs, therapy practice, etc. I did a full year of externship and internship.

    The one legitimate criticism would be the lack of an established research presence. This, however, is why Capella changed to a PsyD. Fielding Graduate Institute, on the other hand, maintains a vibrant research program, in which many students participate.

    Yes, there are some things that are missed by not being "on" campus, perhaps some "X" factor in the experience. However, that is not the same as being able to say that one needs to have an on campus experience to learn the appropriate skills to become a psychologist. If -- big IF -- psychology graduate programs began requiring course work like gross anatomy (cadaver dissection) and basic surgical skills then -- and ONLY then -- would the "I'd never let a distance trained surgeon near me" be an appropriate comparision.

    But when one honestly appraises the core components of graduate psychology training, sitting in a classroom is not a necessary facet of the training.
     
  36. RayneeDeigh

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    Well, now it's clear that PsychWhy defends online programs, but this doesn't help the OP one bit. Whether or not the rest of us are showing a "confirmation bias" (as an aside, I think dropping psych terms when they're not needed is the equivalent to name-dropping in the music business and is every bit as annoying) doesn't really matter to the OP's situation. What DOES matter is that he will face certain challenges if he gets an online degree that he likely won't face if he tries to make a campus-based program work for him. Many campus programs will make allowances for his disability. He asked if there would be problems associated with an online program that wasn't APA accredited (and is in danger of losing regional accreditation). The answer is a resounding yes.

    If juggling a job, family, and grad school is a big enough problem that someone would ONLY have the option of getting an online degree, I would have to question whether they would be able to dedicate the necessary time (and flexibility of one's schedule) to the field following graduation. To each his/her own and I'm glad that you're happy in your program, PsychWhy. I've taken distance ed courses quite a few times and found the self-direction required both challenging and rewarding. However, you must realize at least at some level, that the rest of us who are making such sacrifices are put off by the extent to which you dismiss them as unimportant.
     
  37. phd2006

    phd2006 Life is a Highway
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    I just wanted to respond to this excellent point.

    It's in our syllabi -- students with disabilities are provided any myriad of necessary accommodations. Now the student has to inform the school (e.g., office of diversity, office of accommodation, etc.) NOT just the professor (the professor does not provide accommodation until verify with the proper department) and they have to be able to substantiate their disability and required accommodation (e.g., note(s) from physicians, psychologist, psychiatrist, assessment reports, etc.)-- that is, you can not just tell the professor you need to complete an exam orally and not written due to a reading disability, you must inform the proper department who will then 'verify' your disability.
     
  38. LadyInRed

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    I think that comment is exactly the point. Going back to the OP’s original questions, without entering into a discussion about whether it is a “prejudice” against these programs or a completely founded viewpoint, the fact is that there are many people who hold the same views as T4C and JockNerd. While the set of people who have responded is definitely not a statistically significant or necessarily representative sample, it goes to show that there are a number of people who feel that online programs are inferior. My guess is that the people who come from the top-tier stronger research institutions are more likely to hold this viewpoint than those who do not. Therefore, if you one day dream of teaching at one of these institutions, your chances of having someone challenge your online degree are greater than if you were interested in private practice. Getting a job in academia is in itself difficult, and if there is a decent chance you’ll run into some potential employers who feel the same as T4C and JockNerd do, this will reduce your options. I believe this attitude, right or not, is an important piece of information to consider before pursuing an online degree.
     
  39. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    Whether or not you agree with what people are saying, you have to admit that there is NO track record for people in academia who have online degrees (what this thread is about).

    -t
     
  40. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Yes, T4C you are correct. And I conveyed as much to the OP from the start.

    The reality is that tenure-track positions are fast becoming rare -- for all candidates. Given that, coming in with an online degree would likely add steepness to that already uphill climb.

    As disappointing as that may be, what is more disturbing is how so many people here accept mudslinging and opinion as information. In a profession which ostensibly champions scientific research and empirical data, how can so many casually ignore such information, criticize those who use it, and perpetuate argument by opinion. This is what I battle on a daily basis with my students. At least in their case, there's a reason -- they're undergraduates (and not afraid of real psychological terms like confirmation bias). It doesn't say much about us that we cannot even hold to the standards of the profession when discussing an issue related to the profession!

    Professional psychology has long suffered from an identity crisis and a lack of credibility with the general public -- a perception we do nothing to refute when we engage such disingenuous "debate." Recently there was an ex-stripper near Boston convicted for practicing psychology without a license. A sizable number of online comments run along the theme "yeah, but was she helping her clients? Psychology is nothing but good listening and giving advice."

    This is how the general public sees us.

    If they started visiting these forums, I don't know if we'd be given that much credit.
     
  41. JockNerd

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    Shocklingly, I somehow doubt that making the degree available online will add that desired credibility from the public. I'd anticipate the opposite effect (someone posted on another thread that he/she was embarassed about going into clinical, as he/she recently heard someone scoff that clinical psychology degrees were worthless, as they can be obtained online now).

    There doesn't seem to be any empirical research either way. The studies you cited earlier don't relate to the discussion. The only real advantage I can see (that you can go back and get references for any discussion posting) isn't very selling. The primary weakness of that advantage is that you then get people arguing that such and such is right because Siligman said so. Or they post references that don't support the topic and hope no one checks them (*ahem*).

    I checked my copy of the insider's guide and the authors, too, warn against online programs but admit that there's a dearth of research. So, it's reasonable for me to go on what information I do have. Online programs suffer from all the characteristics of schools that are viewed as the most negative-- they're not funded, they're too expensive, they admit too many people, they don't emphasize research (examples of the one or two people someone knows who did research projects in an online program notwithstanding), they have poor match rates, they appear to cater to part-time students and those who seem unwilling to commit to their chosen profession. Any single onle of those factors would not make a school bad; together, I'd say they certainly do.

    I'm not clear how my surgeon analogy didn't come across. I wouldn't go to a surgeon with an online degree because I'm sure enough, without even bothering to check, that the training was not as good as at another program. And a surgeon with a degree from a campus school is probably four doors down. As a rule, I'd take the second over the first (to be clear-- this means that I wouldn't do an online program because it's a reasonable enough assumption that the program isn't as good as can be found elsewhere, and another program is probably just in the next county).
     
  42. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    If you honestly cannot see the lack of applicability of this apples-to-oranges comparison, it raises a larger logical problem than whether or not cited sources were directly on point or not.

    As any ego-centered surgeon would confirm, surgery is a practical skill not a theoretical construct. One cannot learn to become a surgeon without copious amounts of hands-on learning and practice (also true for auto mechanics, massage therapists, and locksmiths, just to name a few). The same simply is not true for a psychologist (except, of course, for conducting assessment batteries which, at present, require the participant to manipulate physical objects).

    But it goes further than that as video/web technology is spawning a variety of tele-medical applications. While a radiologist or pathologist might be able to assess digitally transmitted images of diagnostic tests, a surgeon simply cannot not be there. (Unless you want to venture down the road of robotically facilitated surgery!) There is plenty of discussion of how psychotherapy can be delivered in a distance modality. (At my internship site, psychiatrists were already beginning to conduct follow up appointments via a audio-visual hook up.)

    It is also rather disingenuous to insinuate that any attempt to provide empirical evidence will be a worthless exercise of cherry picking. As empircal investigation is the cornerstone of the scientific method, what would you have replace it? It is supposed to be the responsibility of professionals to evaluate and interpret the scientific literature of their discipline.
    Peer review, anyone?
    Point out the methodological/interpretational flaws of research? By all means.
    Dismiss all published information because you don't believe any of it is valid? Why are you here then?

    While there may be a lack of specific research on distance delivered professional training in psychology, none other than the American Psychological Association published a report on its utilization (http://www.apa.org/ed/exec_summary.html). While reiterating several of the cautions discussed here, a group of conventionally trained psychologists found nothing inherently inferior or inappropriate about the delivery model, specifically in the area of training in professional psychology.
    (Perhaps a contributing reason that the APA itself now offers continuing education courses online.)
     
  43. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    While reports of there needing to be more research in this field are real and widespread, that is not the same as saying there is no applicable empirical evidence.

    [NOTE: Some of these are from the original list I posted which JockNerd dismissed as being inappropriate. I've included the abstracts to allow those interested to judge for themselves if they are truly not applicable.]

    In the spirit of a honest and open discussion, an expanded list of related references:

    Distance psychology training
    Lee, J., Carter-Wells, J., Glaeser, B., Ivers, K., & Street, C. (2006). Facilitating the development of a learning community in an online graduate program. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 7(1). 13 - 33.

    Abstract: This case study analyzed how an online learning community developed among a cohort of 18 students in an instructional design and technology master's degree program taught at a distance. Students' reflections about the effectiveness of the program revealed that a community-centered approach to learning, a constructivist learning environment, and authentic assessment practices most supported community development. Positive interactions among community members facilitated by faculty contributed to community development, but did not correlate with academic achievement. Students ranked computer-mediated communication, which provided technological support for learning, and participation in critical discourses across multiple forums, as conditions highly conducive to community development.

    McIlwraith, R.D., Dyck, K.G., Holms, V.L., Carlson, T.E., & Prober, N.G. (2005). Manitoba's rural and northern community-based training program for psychology interns and residents. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(2). 164 – 172.

    Abstract: This article describes a unique internship training experience developed by the Department of Clinical Health Psychology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Manitoba. Interns live in and provide services to remote northern communities for half of the internship year and receive supervision from a psychologist in the community, supplemented by telehealth. The department also offers a full-year, postdoctoral rural residency. Ten interns and 4 residents have been trained so far. The community-based generalist training model and responses to the challenges, for both supervisors and trainees, of working in small underserved communities are described.

    Rudestam, K.E. (2004). Distributed Education and the Role of Online Learning in Training Professional Psychologists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 35(4). 427 – 432.

    Abstract: Distributed learning and its allied concept, distance education, have the potential to move graduate training beyond the physical classroom, providing "anytime" and "anyplace" educational opportunities to new groups of learners as well as to students in traditional campus-based programs. It is argued that the focus on online learning activities found in distributed learning institutions is most compatible with a model of pedagogy that emphasizes, among other things, asynchronous small group discussions, collaborative problem solving, reflective inquiry, competency-based outcomes, and the facilitator role of the instructor. The article concludes with suggestions for and challenges regarding the application of computer-based learning tools to the training of clinical psychologists

    Online learning in general
    DeNeui, D. L. & Dodge, T. L. (2006) Asynchronous learning networks and student outcomes: The utility of online learning components in hybrid courses. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33(4). 256 - 259.

    Abstract: The current research focuses on the impact that learning management systems (LMS), specifically the Blackboard interface, are having on courses in psychology. Blackboard provides instructors with access to a powerful web-based instructional platform. One of the main benefits to students is the unfettered access to virtually anything an instructor presents in the classroom. For example, access to syllabi, course notes, interactive demonstrations, handouts, audio or videotaped lectures are all possible via this interface. Currently, few empirical studies have examined the impact of LMS on objective measures of student learning. The current project examines the relationship between the frequency of usage of these various utilities and student performance in a hybrid class. Results revealed a significant positive partial correlation between overall usage and their exam scores. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to the current course; however, a discussion of the broader pedagogical implications is included as well.

    Qing, L. & Akins, M. (2005). Sixteen myths about online teaching and learning in higher education: Don't believe everything you hear. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 49(4). 51 – 60.

    Abstract: The article examines myths associated with online learning in the area of higher education. Among these misconceptions are: that traditional courses can be copied to online learning, that online learning is limited to content learning, that online teaching and learning promotes isolation and lack of community, that the learner must be proficient in technology, that the instructor is expert, that online learning will make the teacher redundant and that online teaching and learning is quick and easy. Possible strategies are explored to help the move away from myth to reality and ultimately to establish a successful online learning environment

    Warren, L.L. & Holloman Jr., H. L. (2005). On-line instruction: Are the outcomes the same? Journal of Instructional Psychology, 32(2). 148-151

    Abstract: Institutions of higher education are offering more and more on-line courses to students. Do students receive the same quality of instruction with an on-line class as an on-campus class? Specifically, is there a difference in students" outcomes between a face-to-face class and on-line class? This study addresses that question by collecting and assessing data between students enrolled in the same course as it is delivered to one section face-to-face and another section on-line. The results of this study reveal that there are no significant differences in the students' outcomes between the two sections. These results support that the quality of on-line instruction is equal to face-to-face instruction. However, more research is needed to address issues related to on-line instruction.
     
  44. nononora

    nononora Dis Member
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    While I admire your resolve in this issue, the fact of the matter is that most online/psyd programs have low admissions standards. I understand that low admissions standards do not a bad program make, but the chances of a top program being unselective is small. With low admissions standards comes lesser-qualified entering students, and that's the stigma for you. These "lesser-qualified" students may do extremely well in the program but it no long matters to the general public. Stigma trumps empirical evidence any day. Think of the community college graduate with a 4.0 gpa (not a totally accurate analogy, I know). While there is no way to ensure program quality, highly selective programs are ensured to have accepted better prepared students.

    APA accreditation, or the lack of it, is not a good indicator of the quality of any program. It is merely, and I quote from the APA websi
    te, "a process that assures the educational community and the general public that an institution or a program has clearly defined and appropriate objectives and maintains conditions under which their achievement can reasonably be expected. It encourages improvement through continuous self-study and review. It fosters excellence in postsecondary education through the development of principles and guidelines for assessing educational effectiveness." There is no mention of a minimum standard.

    Your posts come off (to me) as unnecessarily combative and sarcastic. Don't forget that you are speaking on behalf of online degree holders. To me (again), the greatest measure of a program is how its graduates present themselves to others. Right now, you are painting a somewhat ugly picture.

    This reminded me of something I read many months back. It's not pretty but definitely relevant.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051031075447.htm


     
  45. RayneeDeigh

    5+ Year Member

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    I love the title of the article ("Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly"). That made my day. It reminds me of the time my friend told me that he wasn't worried about the GRE because he had always been "more verbose than the average person".

    Man, when/if the OP comes back to read his thread he's gonna be pretty surprised at the outcome.
     
  46. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Well, I'll grant you the stigma point. Sad that people will tend to believe the negative rather the positive of anything. But the still unvalidated assumption is that someone with a 4.0 from Big Fat U is going to be a better psychologist than someone with a 3.5 from Plain Ol' State College. There is no arguing that only having 5 openings in the average PhD program permits the programs to be highly selective. But the underlying premise is flawed to uncritically accept that higher grades = better psychologists. (Perhaps this is a reason many undergraduate institutions are starting to balk against using the SAT/ACT as a gatekeeping measure.)

    And APA standards are by and large aspirational. Perhaps you haven't had any first hand experience with the APA, but once you are there you will discover that the leadership is a small cadre of members who endlessly cycle from one position to another. The accreditation standards (like many states licensing requirements) are deliberately vaguely written -- this permits defense of a status quo while appearing to be objective. (Not wholly unlike the first policies instituted after civil and gender rights began to take hold.)

    And I accept my responsibility for letting this get the better of me. But what remains unexplained is why only those who have been put on the defensive are held to this standard. This thread was perfectly polite and reasonable until some arrived and began not addressing the OP's inquiry but trashing all distance programs using unsubstantiated opinion, not evidence. As I said before, I challenge those passing judgment to remain civil after your work and accomplishments are dismissed by people who make ill-informed statements without correct information. My tone indeed became harsh at times, in response to the same treatment. Why are the others who contributed the nastiness exempted from criticism?

    Like most of you, I sought out this forum to commune with others in the profession, get some information, maybe debate a point here or there, and, perhaps most importantly, contribute to the profession by fielding the occasional inquiry. Sadly, what happens far too often is -- in true schoolyard form -- someone attempts to clarify/defend a point and is pounced upon. Then, instead of mediating, others join in to blame the one who got pounced inferring "well, if you weren't here in the first place ... ".

    Relevant? Are you serious? Using proper terminology on the Student DOCTOR Network is inappropriately elitist?

    Less than 100 Stanford undergraduates didn't like big words or fancy fonts. Ironically, when the samples came from a printer low on toner, the writer of the same essay was seen as more intelligent (the theory being that the lack of toner "excused" the fluency of the passage.)

    The other point cleverly overlooked is that this evaluated using long words needlessly. Using the appropriate term to describe a phenomenon is a sign of education, not overcompensation. This is supposed to be a forum devoted to the achieving the highest levels of education in healthcare fields. The idea that actually using that education is criticized rather than applauded would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

    Then again, we arrived at this point because people were defending conclusions based upon incomplete information. Seems like a pretty ugly picture of the profession as a whole.
     
  47. chaos

    chaos Member
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    I don't know much about how distance learning PhD programs work, but it sounds a little sketchy to me...how do you complete your dissertation? I mean, you would normally recruit research subjects from the university itself or a hospital/treatment center or whatever affiliated with the university...but the program might not have any connections near you. Also, so much of psychology is relational- even if you purely want to do research, you have to do a clinical internship (I'm assuming you apply for an internship in your 4th year or so along with traditional students?) and I just don't imagine that online classes can prepare you for any kind of clinical work- you learn as much from the body language, tone, and word choice of your professors as from the material you cover. And so much of psychology is about who you know...I just can't imagine really connecting with anyone without ever meeting them face to face. Just my $0.02...maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I find the whole idea a little wierd.
     
  48. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
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    Online programs may not have the built-in research portfolio of conventional programs (Fielding Graduate Institute excepted), so students have to -- there's that extra motivation factor again -- find their own. Many are already working in clinical settings and propose a study there. Some obtain access to existing data sets and propose unique analyses. Personally, I solicited participants from right here on the World Wide Web (avoiding that overused -- and highly unrepresentative -- population pool of undergraduate psychology students).

    Yes we do. And we extern/intern at the same places conventional students do as well -- CMCs, hospitals, prisons, schools.

    In my case, I did field studies at a rehabiltation hospital, a private institute lead by a world renowned theorist, and a federal prison. I completed my internship at a different prison.

    Sorry, one should really base assessment of what is important to learn in class by the tone of voice of the professor?
    And what should a student do when faced with the Ben Stein character from Ferris Bueller?
    (Bueller ... Bueller ... )

    Some have argued that online learning is actually more effective because such extraneous factors as instructor personality, presentation style, tone of voice, foreign accents are removed. It is pure content -- reading from texts/journal articles; essay exam style answers, but with time for reflection, research, and proofreading; and extensive final papers.

    But when it comes to clinical proficiencies, every license-track program includes face-to-face components. Most require the equivalent number of contact hours as would be realistically expected in a conventional program.

    Well, this is just sad . . . but true. So most online programs, in addition to the face-to-face didactics, also require student be involved in some sort of profession association during graduate school. Instead of being immersed in the insular world of one program, being involved with a state or national association provides a much broader perspective -- and networking base.
    (I obtained a practicum placement, teaching appointment, writing opportunity, even the kernel for my dissertation idea from involvement in an association.)

    Which is why we do have face-to-face contact.

    The reality of online programs that most critics refuse to recognize is that really only the classroom components are delivered via the Internet. Honestly, are the core skills crucial to being a psychologist are learned while sitting in a classroom? Probably not.

    The online programs provide the substantial equivalents of the non-classroom aspects in a manner probably very similar to conventional programs.
    Is it absolutely the same? Of course not.
    But different does not necessarily mean better ... or worse. Just different.

    The truth of the matter is 20 years ago, PsyDs were mocked as being woefully substandard to the traditional model. Today, you'd be hard pressed to objectively demonstrate any difference in clinical skills. (Sorry, that's not true -- those being totally honest would have to concede that PsyD are better clinicians as that is their training focus.) I would venture a guess that 20 years from now, this petty bickering will be forgotten as some of the old "traditionalist" prejudices die off with their proponents and distance learning graduates take their places! ;)
     
  49. RayneeDeigh

    5+ Year Member

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    This thread has singlehandedly made me consider leaving SDN altogether.

    Honest and open opinions (such as those of Chaos, who stated his/her view rather diplomatically I think) have been met with snappish sarcasm. Is that really necessary? Nobody can MAKE you defensive, it's a choice one makes.

    If this is the future of the profession and the kind of thinking that is representative of online programs (and I sincerely hope it isn't), perhaps I'm glad to be on my way to a campus.
     
  50. Ollie123

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    I'm done with this thread since I've already stated my bit and past experience has taught me conversations like this are generally futile. I have my opinions, others have theirs, and I'm fine with that.

    That being said, I felt I had to step in and say:

    Don't leave Raynee! Don't let this ruin all the threads you did enjoy participating in...
     
  51. JockNerd

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    Agreed, this thread should die. I think the OP's question was answered by the time of the 5th post. The wild spin off topic was 1/2 my fault. No more posts from me on the topic.

    I too value Raynee's informed, articulate, and well-thought-out contributions to board discussions.

    And, well, at least Jon Snow was conspicuously absent from the thread. :rolleyes:
     
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