When professionals seek an advanced degree, geographical location carries a great deal of importance. Some may need to stay in their general region while pursuing a graduate degree, and as a result, their options can be limited. However, some schools are looking to change that. Yale University Medical School recently announced that it will offer a Master of Medical Science program that's entirely online. Pending approval from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, the program could be offered starting in 2016.
"The program goes far beyond staring at a computer screen."
In a world where technological advancements are constantly being developed, it makes sense that technology is impacting the way students are learning. A growing number of colleges are offering online programs, and some of the most renowned schools are seeking help from outside sources to do so. Yale is partnering with software company 2U to make the medical degree accessible to all qualified students, regardless of where they reside.
However, the program will be more than just students staring at a computer screen. There will be a mix of online classes, in-person clerkships and on-campus training sessions that will enhance the learning experience for students. Online programs are sometimes perceived as less of an education, and this unique approach to a medical degree challenges that belief.
Implications of the changes in online programs
This kind of online program can help break down barriers that may prevent professionals and students from earning a degree at their university of choice. It also helps promote quality professionals all over the world, as graduates often stay near the region in which they earned their degree.
"If people from the rural part of the Midwest can stay at home and train, they are more likely to work there as clinicians in the future," said Yale's Program Director James Van Rhee. "This is the same thing for inner-city physician assistants. "We hope that this will increase the number of [physician associates] in rural areas. This is our way of helping the country get more health care providers."
Online degrees are helpful both to the students who earn them, as well as the communities in which they serve.
By Monique Smith
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