November 28, 2016

When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology piloted its first online master’s degree in Supply Chain Management last year, Danaka Porter thought it was exactly what she needed to boost her career.

"I found that people were a little bit more respected once they had their master's because it was like they had taken that next step to go a little bit further," Porter said.

The 30-year-old business consultant from Vancouver, British Columbia, said she simply couldn't afford to stop working to become a student again.

"I own a house. I have bills and stuff that doesn’t stop because I wanted to go to school,” Porter said. “[The online program] was a great kind of alternative to be able to get education from a fantastic university as well as be able to continue to keep working,”

So far, Porter has completed four of the five online courses she’ll need to earn half of a master's degree from MIT. Even though it's all online, Danaka believes the coursework is just as rigorous as if she were studying on MIT's campus in Cambridge.

“It requires a lot of effort and if you don’t have a background in math, engineering, or supply chain it’s not a breeze. We do have people that fail,” Porter said.

These master’s-level, online courses are free and open to anyone for no credit. But, like Danaka, 3,500 other students have paid about $1,000 for MIT credit, and the chance to earn up to half of a master’s degree or MicroMasters.

Read More at WGBH News