Online college degrees: three persistent myths

Wherever you look, there's considerable disagreement about the value of online college degrees. Some die-hards insist employers will never hire people who have only studied online while others report a massive increase in the number of people studying online. With this in mind, we need to look cautiously at what's being said and separate the truth from the myths.

1. Online courses do not deliver high quality education

There are good and bad schools. More importantly, the quality of individual instructors can vary from the genius who inspires learning to the incompetent who drives out all interest in the subject. We have to start with the educational institution. To be allowed the right to award degrees, schools, colleges and universities must be accredited, i.e. have invested in the resources to deliver courses of an appropriate standard. Each course must be based on an approved curriculum showing what is to be taught and how learning objectives are to be achieved. There should also be monitoring from the accreditation body to ensure the courses delivered match the published curriculum. So you can check to see what the course content should be. You can check to ensure the college is accredited. In this remember that distance learning has been around for centuries and, with Harvard, MIT and other top universities now offering courses online, you cannot assume online college degrees are any better or worse than those awarded by traditional learning institutions. Employers do the same checking and value the best qualifications regardless of the study methods.

2. Online college degrees do not allow interaction with instructors

Everyone who thinks about distance learning worries about how easy it will be to interact with the instructors or meet fellow students. For the record, in a campus-based course with more than one-hundred students, how easy is it to meet the instructor? Obviously, every online course is different and instructors have different methods. With email, bulletin boards, forums, chat sessions, and video conferencing available, it can be easy to keep in touch with everyone involved in the course. All you need is the will.

3. Online college degrees are easy

People who prefer independent learning often find e-learning provides a quicker and easier way to get a qualification. But you have to keep up the pace and meet all the deadlines for handing in course work. Whether you find this easy depends on your learning style.

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Online college degrees: three persistent myths »

Online college degrees are the subject of a number of persistent myths. Here are three myths about online college degrees explained.