Online Education Becoming More Accepted

By Staff
October 16, 2009

New findings show that many corporations are increasingly hiring applicants with online degrees or providing tuition reimbursement, indicating that online degrees are being viewed more favorably.

Industry Market Trends reports that a recent survey of human resources professionals found that 76 percent of respondents view online university degrees more favorably today than they did five years ago. The study, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, also found that 58 percent considered online courses as credible as traditional university courses. Moreover, 95 percent of the respondents noted no difference in tuition assistance between those enrolled in accredited online universities and those studying in accredited traditional universities.

"CFOs and faculty believe the quality of online education is as good as face-to-face," said I. Elaine Allen, who was quoted in eLearn Magazine. Allen is an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Massachusetts' Babson College and co-author of "Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States 2008."

A study concurred with the SHRM survey by indicating that 83 percent of employers and hiring managers consider online degrees more acceptable than they were five years ago. The survey did find, however, that most hiring managers prefer online degrees from established universities such as Duke or Stanford rather than Internet-only universities.

Many still believe that traditional courses are a far better learning option than online learning. A recent study, for example, found that nearly half of professors who taught or developed an online course felt that such courses were inferior to face-to-face learning.

Nevertheless, the Christian Science Monitor points out that such an opinion may very well be short-lived as online education becomes more widespread. The Internet, points out the article, "has caused sudden shifts in other industries, from the way, people read news to the way they buy music or plan travel. Might higher education be nearing such a jolt?"

Indeed, according to Janet Poley, president of the American Distance Education Consortium in Lincoln, Nebraska, online learning "has been growing very fast," and students appreciate the flexibility such courses offer. She noted that the main factor holding back their growth is a lack of access to high-speed Internet options in some areas.

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