I am doing a distance learning Masters at the moment so have some sympathy!
For me I would stick out with what you are doing as there are no guarantees that the other course would be any better. Lots of face to face courses have a lot of self study these days so the networking may well be minimal. The thought of extra months would be enough to put me off.
It's so difficult, I often feel that the fees I am paying bear no relation to the service offered and sometimes it feels like I am just buying a degree with the added stress of assignments!
I'm nine months into a part time distance learning MSc Occupational Psychology. While I love the topic area I have been really disappointed by the quality of the course; the online lectures are uninspiring, I have minimal contact time with the lecturers and I am finding the isolation of distance learning quite a challenge, especially with lack of fascilitation from the lecturers.
In light of this I am considering switching to my local university, which is part time but during the day, one day a week for 24 weeks each year. The pros and cons are as follows:
Current course Pros Already started, 1/3 of the way through Known quantity, already in the swing of things
Cons Course a bit crap, not really preparing me for a job, no networking Isolation of distance learning More reading than a course with more teaching time
New course Pros Possibly better course (thoug not guaranteed) Face to face teaching Links to local companies
Cons Will cost more money (1-2k on top of 5k am already spending) Will have to start from scratch, an extra 9 months on from current course Probably more intense (2 terms rather than 3) Day time course - will have to square it with work which is doable but will take negotiation and will mean working longer hours Will have to sort out switching my career development, may even have to pay it back and reapply - not guaranteed, big faff involving writing to bank, getting a refund from current uni Have to put together a portfolio to get APL (accredited prior learning, to try and transfer some credits I have already done, though wont be able to transfer them all) More assignments than current course
So ultimately I have to chose between a crap course with fewer job prospects (well, will mean I have to use my own wiles and networking!) but is cheaper, and less work in the short term, and a possibly better course, more practical and fun, more chance of job prospects, but a lot of work to organise the transfer, having to negotiate with work (who are v supportive, I work flexi time but will have to compress hours over the year).
On top of all that, my MIL has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, which means home life is v stressful. I rely on DH's support to manage my time. I'm not sure how that affects things but it does mean life is more complicated at the moment.
I really don't know what to do. I want to do well in this course, and I really want to get a job afterwards. I'm going to be competing against a whole load of bright young things, and it is all I can do to get through the course, work 4 days a week and manage two young kids, let along network and get work experience.