Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Online Degrees Increasingly Gaining Acceptance among Employers

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Online Degrees Increasingly Gaining Acceptance among Employers

Article excerpt

Skills, experience and reputation of school are more important factors.

Acing the interview and landing a job after college is becoming an increasingly common scenario for those who earn their degrees online.

Such degrees are gaining more acceptance among employers, according to a survey from Eduventures' Continuing and Professional Education 2005 report.

Of the 505 employers surveyed, more than 62 percent have a favorable attitude toward online instruction and perceive the quality of online learning to have the same if not greater merit than classroom instruction.

Administrators at universities that offer online learning, such as Webster University, say that their online degree programs are well received by employers.

"We've had no issues whatsoever with employers discounting the online knowledge," says Dr. Benjamin Akande, dean of Webster's School of Business and Technology. "I think that employers nowadays are also doing their due diligence, and they are recognizing that online education is probably a little bit more challenging than in-class education."

Akande also acknowledges that it takes a committed student to succeed in an online environment.

"Those students that have the strength and capacity to successfully go through those online delivery processes are disciplined and know how to work through the confines of planned education," he says, adding that students who must balance work, life and school responsibilities often do well with online courses.

According to the Sloan Consortium, more than 80 percent of institutions where doctoral and research programs are available also offer online courses that fulfill requirements for those degree programs.

The report also concluded that 80 percent of online students who are seeking their bachelor's degree are older than traditional college students and often have jobs and families. But only 40 percent of that population is utilizing online courses exclusively. The rest are hybrid students, blending online courses with more traditional campus-based classes.

Dr. Pamela Chandler-Lee, the associate dean of Regent University's School of Undergraduate Studies, says older students may have the edge in commitment and maturity, but students coming straight out of high school often have the technical aptitude to succeed online.

"For them, online learning is a natural part of who they are," she says. "They are much more used to dividing their time and prioritizing. They just understand how to multitask better than the freshmen of my generation."

Dr. Denise DeZolt, provost of Walden University, says graduate students who earned their undergraduate degrees at traditional institutions often initially question the quality of online education. …

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