Online education has come a long way. No longer is it just a class here and there. No longer is it of little or questionable substance. Universities around the world have developed top-quality education programs, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields, with all coursework done online. Online news resource www.insidehighered.com cites an estimate that one-fourth of students enrolled in U.S. schools are enrolled in online programs; that’s about 5.5 million online students. Here’s a look at some of the myths about online programs that today’s online students are discovering for themselves.
It’s Too Easy
A common misperception is that online coursework is too easy, so it’s valued less than a traditional education. Online students have more options about when and where they study, but the coursework is the same and so are the assignment deadlines. These students may actually have it a little harder, having to be more self-directed in managing their time and coursework. As for work quality, academic standards may vary from school to school, but most institutions require that all students meet those same standards.
Online Credits Won’t Transfer
Some students may encounter trouble transferring credits no matter where or how they are enrolled. But that is not due to the course being an online offering. It may instead be due to trying to transfer credits to a for-profit institution or a specific program. Often, the school has no way of telling if a transfer course was taking in class or online.
Online Courses Aren’t Accredited
Accreditation varies from school to school, as with traditional courses. Students definitely need to research their school and program of choice for regional accreditation by a trusted agency. Student aid may not be available and credits may not transfer from schools that are not accredited by a reputable organization. Students should visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education to see whether an accrediting agency is legitimate.
Employers Shy Away From Online Degrees
This may depend on the individual employer. If you can show an employer that your program and school have top-quality academic credentials, most organizations will support you. Seek schools with a good reputation and programs with high standards, such as George Washington University (GW) and Maryville University. Learn more about the healthcare MBA offered online by GW and the online MBA in supply chain management offered by Maryville.
Not Enough Interaction with Instructors
Although you’re not physically in class, colleges have found ways to work around this to the student’s advantage. Enrolled students can reach instructors via online chat sessions or Skype, by sending an email or even by phone. Instructors are happy to work with you and many offer regular online and in-person office hours.
What getting a good online education comes down to is choosing a reputable school, researching its accreditation and taking advantage of the many ways you can interact with instructors. For businesses seeking to get up to speed on advances in their fields, and for business people who seek career advancement, online degree programs provide a means of doing both.
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