Online Education and Its Growing Popularity

Online college education is becoming more of a prevalent alternative to traditional campus schooling due to the ease and flexibility of internet based learning.

Many of these colleges award degrees from associates to doctorates. A common misconception is that these web based universities are not as reputable as a normal college. Looking for accreditation recognition ensures educational quality.

What to Look For

Diploma mills, sites that deliver fake degrees for a fee, need to be quickly spotted and avoided completely. To obtain proof of accreditation, contact one of the six regional accreditation boards.

These organizations are divided into geographical regions and are as follows: Middle States Associations of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

In addition, it is recognized by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) that the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is an acceptable resource for accreditation for online degree education programs.

Public Perception of Online Degrees

Although the majority of online colleges have been awarded accreditation, it does not change the fact that 55 percent of employers prefer a potential employee to have obtained a traditional degree versus an online degree.

However, according to the same survey reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2007, 41 percent of employers said they would view the two degrees as equal and consider employees accordingly. A survey by the Distance Education and Training Council showed that employers observed that an employee receiving a distance education degree compared favorably to other employees with a resident degree.

Educator’s Perception of Online Degrees

The Sloan Consortium reported in 2006 that 62 percent of academic leaders rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face.

The curriculum in online education programs are often identical to an in class program. This is something to take into consideration when deciding what route is best for a particular life situation.

Growth of Online Education

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released a study that reported 56 percent of all institutions offer distance education courses. The Sloan Consortium reported also that 3.2 million students took at least one online course during 2005. Additionally, about two-thirds of the largest institutions have fully online programs.