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I have been a software engineer / graphic designer for a few years and have recently been considering furthering my education in the field. (It was actually a very generous Christmas present)

I would primarily be interested in something like Human Computer Interaction or a similar "creative technology" that involves heavy UI/UX Design, prototyping or Information Architecture.

Anyways - I still plan on working full-time and was looking into part-time distance programs and was wondering if anyone had some experience with pursuing a similar degree (either from a distance or in-person) and could share their experiences.

Thanks!

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I completed my master's in Software Engineering from Kansas State University via Distance Learning. I know my degree was in a different area, but I thought I would share my experiences in completing a degree online via distance learning.

Couple of thoughts on distance learning:

  • Find a program that will allow you to complete the degree completely online. Transfer credits are a nightmare and often times the campus is too far to commute to attend a required on-campus class.
  • Find out how the courses are delivered. At KSU, my courses were delivered via streaming video. The lecture was given in person to students on campus and recorded. I then streamed the lecture at my convenience. I have taken some online courses (another program) where it was all reading and I feel I should be getting lectured from a professor to get my money's worth. I learn better by having someone explain it in addition to assigned readings, etc.
  • Find out how tests are given. In my case, I needed to find an educator in my local area to administer my tests. This kept things honest and increased the value of the degree. Just keep this in mind when looking for a program.
  • Also, find out how professors interact with distance learning students. At KSU, I had the email addresses and phone numbers of all my professors. Both email and phone came in handy when I needed to ask a question directly. Distance learning students can't ask questions in the lecture directly since they are recorded. So, it was nice to be able to call the professor directly when needed.
  • Lastly, be prepared for the time commitment. A reputable school will still require the same amount of work from its distance learning students as it does from its on-campus students. This is important for both the reputation of the school and the value of your degree.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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A master in comp science with the right specialization will probably take you the fastest in that direction, as you are able to learn from and work with experts in the field, who are able to guide you through the most relevant literature.
Though it might not completely be the direction you're looking for, hci will only be a relatively small part, it will be much broader, which imho is a good thing. But it's a huge time investment, and working full time while doing that is not to be underestimated..

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Thanks Emile - I figure it would be quite the challenge, however I am not in any type of rush to do it. It's just something I enjoy and I am really interested in learning more about. –  Rion Williams Dec 29 '10 at 23:06
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