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  1. #1
    avia93 is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2002

    Discrimination against online degrees

    Recently, I was at a dinner party with some people I consider dear friends. When we all some how got on the topic about colleges we attended for undergraduate school. Almost every one of my friends obtain there degrees the traditional way with the exception of me (I received my bachelor from Excelsior) and Melissa (a very close friend of mine got her MBA from Phoenix online.) I explained to my friends how obtain my degree online really helped me in the work force. Of course, everyone congratulated me on this accomplishment; and then they asked me if I plan on obtain my masters degree through the same method I said Yes!

    Well, sometime later, I excused myself to go to the ladies room, but the door was locked so I hurried back to my so-called friends and accidentally walked upon them having a heated discussion about me. One friend I’ll call Susan said, “Someone really needs to tell her nobody in there right mind is going to hire her for any real import job with a college degree from a school called Excelsior College” and another friend snickered she should have just went the traditional way and not took an easy way out, I didn’t do that” . I was so mad hearing them talk badly about my degree and was about to give them a piece of my mind, When Melissa the friend who got her MBA through Phoenix online spoke up defending my choice and she even asked them if they talk badly about her behind her back. There response shocked me they told Melissa that her getting a Masters degree online was understandable since she had already obtained her undergraduate degree the hard deserving traditional way and didn’t take a short cut.

    Melissa after hearing this stuck to her guns and put them down for backstabbing me. I left the party and have since kept a far distance away from my so-called friends who made the horrible remarks. However, I cannot help feeling as if this what HR are really thinking when I go on job interviews and mention my degree. I am now starting to think maybe I should not seek my master degree online but through a traditional method. I have been hired to jobs that paid much more then my friends who got their degrees the conventional way. However, I noticed that all my past bosses have gotten there degrees online as well and that may have something to do with them not ever question my online degree. Unfortunately, where I live at right now is a huge college town that supports hiring a large percentage of there local college graduates. Sorry for this being a long post!

    Has anyone else on this message board ever experienced discrimination against their online degree?
    Last edited by avia93; 10-13-2004 at 11:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Morten is offline Registered User
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    Feb 2003
    If you look at the curriculum there is of course no difference between the ‘classic’ and the online educations. However, and this is something I have been thinking a lot about myself, I dare say that there is a difference in what you learn. At traditional educations there are the added benefits of group cases (I know that some online schools also offer that, but I still think there is a difference) and the general interaction between the students. Often you do not get that at online schools.

    (Donning helmet and jacket because there will probably be incoming fire)

  3. #3
    tcmak is offline Registered User
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    Apr 2004

    It really takes courage to start an online degree. It's more than commitment during your study. It's about how others think about your degree.

    I did have some unhappy feeling with some 'friends' thinking that online education is only a sub-standard edication for sub-standard people. I am quite unhappy about it and even spent time in looking to see how they learnt differently. I don't see much difference there. I am taking an MBA , so does my friend....only differ by which school and the learning method. I don't think I know less than her.....

    What could be even would be the HR people hiring people. There is no evidence that they would take online degree a secondary choice. But there are simply people think in this way.

    Human interaction is something people said about what online learning is lacking. This could be even more important in programmes like MBA .
    But communication is made easier with advanced technologies... I did a group exercise last year!

    Pure traditional classroom based learning lacks detailed discussion like what online study has. What's more would be international diversity for a class from many places of the world.

    Good luck with you!
    Last edited by tcmak; 10-14-2004 at 02:32 AM.
    BSc (Comp. Sci) - The University of Hong Kong
    MBA - Tanaka Business School, Imperial College London, The University of London

  4. #4
    manjuap is offline Registered User
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    Jul 2002
    I had a similar situation with one of my coworker who talked low of online degrees. I just did not care and just explained him what it takes to be in a online class. I also told him that i can make him cry if we sit across the table and discuss a common subject in Business. (he has an MBA from a local school).

    I work for a large fortune 500 company and the company pays for the tuition. So the HR and my directors are aware of what i am doing.
    Last edited by manjuap; 10-14-2004 at 02:53 AM.

  5. #5
    jugador is offline Registered User
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    Nov 2003
    I do not have an online degree, but I do have 42 SH of RA accredited correspondence and online coursework from 8 universities. In my opinion, online and correspondence education has its advantages and disadvantages. While it is true that online students are deprived of some of the classroom discussions, online work requires a lot of personal discipline. I have a lot of respect for folks who have the "stick-to-ativeness" to persue legitimate online and distance education . I am proud of my coursework from the University of Tennessee, Texas Tech, University of Texas, University of North Carolina, LSU and more. We've all had experiences with classroom professors who say things like, "Well, you can study chapter one if you want, and for some of you, you might to skim over chapter 4. Just skip chapter 7 entirely," etc. Well, for all my correspondence courses, I've completed the ENTIRE BOOKS (or continuous half book in cases where the text is used for s follow-up course). There has never been a cancelled class, and the professors have never gotten off track to rant about politics or anything else. As a result, my correspondence courses are among the best I have ever taken, and I would stack my knowledge from these courses up against corresponding traditional classrooms student any day.

  6. #6
    rinri is offline Registered User
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    Apr 2001
    For me, online study or, in general, distance learning (preferably followed by a degree when successful) is all about OPPORTUNITY and extending what is possible.

    Since yesterday, I am enrolled in a Master's/Doctorate with a UK university, while living in Germany. I wanted an English-language program, and one that could support the interdisciplinary nature of my proposed field of study. No such programs are available in Germany, to my knowledge.

    My daughter (7) is enrolled in a distance-learning program to keep up her (native-level) Japanese. The local Japanese school for the expatriate community here in Europe does not offer the challenge that she needs. If we were limited to what the local B&M school offers, her level would decrease.

    DL is not a solution for everybody and all educational endeavors but, for example, in the international arena, it offers unmatched opportunity. The quality depends on the school, regardless of DL or B&M. But that's true anywhere. Top schools, like Harvard, Stanford and the University of Arizona (my alma mater:D ) offer high-level DL courses and programs that are challenging and interactive. Sometimes, maybe especially when starting a longer program, it may be important to meet one's advisor face to face. Once bandwidth is no longer an issue (and we are getting there), students will be able to "meet" their profs and classmates via high-res webcam ....without the mouth oder :D.
    Last edited by rinri; 10-14-2004 at 03:10 AM.
    Russell Jones
    BA, University of Arizona (B&M)
    MProf, Middlesex University - in progress (DL)

  7. #7
    jackjustice is offline Registered User
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    Apr 2002
    Don't feel bad - feel fortunate- since your endeavor showed initiative and persistence. Three of my brothers earned degrees in the 60s from “night school”, which was the only way, practically and from a cost perspective, they could do so. The so-called “night school” option was available from some brick and mortar schools and quite popular. Students on campus often spoke of them as being out of the mainstream, basically because they were older and different. In fact, the average night school student was older and more mature and less interested in socializing. Yet, they did not seem to fit in at any function that brought the student body together, for instance at commencement. I think on-line programs, the really good ones, attract the same caliber of students the “night school” programs did – and no apology is necessary. In fact, you ought to be quite proud, positive and non-apologetic, qualities that any prospective employer will pick up on. :)
    Jack Justice

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  9. #8
    Randell1234 is offline Moderator
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    Apr 2001
    I know that not all HR people think online degrees are sub-standard. I spoke to an HR Manager at my company and asked if they would provide tuition reimbursement for a PhD program, she said she would have to check since no one has ever asked. We continued our conversation and she asked what school I was planning on attending. I told her it was an RA online program (since I travel 100%, traditional is out of the question). She told me she was looking into a PhD in I/O Psychology at a traditional college in Long Island. She said she wished she had the discipline to complete an online program. If she could she would, but she said she needed structure to go to class. Was she being honest or just trying to make me feel special? I think she was being honest!

    Approval for tuition reimbursement came from the VP of HR . I don’t know if he knows it is an online school, but all my managers know and they are thrilled that I am pursuing higher education .

  10. #9
    rinri is offline Registered User
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    Apr 2001

    struck, structure, struckest..

    Originally posted by Randell1234
    ... She said she wished she had the discipline to complete an online program. If she could she would, but she said she needed structure to go to class. ...
    Last month, I completed the 6th in a series of 9 online courses in the Software Localization program that is offered by Austin Community College over a period of a year at approx. one course per month. At the beginning of each 2-week course that includes students from throughout the world (Taiwan, US, Germany, Italy etc.), the instructor gets a consensus on what the best times are for instructor and students to meet in the online chat. During the course, we met online on, what was for me, Saturday afternoons for 4 hours straight. The structure was definitely there. There were regular bio-breaks (for restroom/snacks) but other than that one was expected to be disciplined enough to "stay on the ball" and participate. And it worked well. If one was silent (inactive) for too long, one would receive a message saying something like "Russell, are you still there?" from the instructor (that didn't happen but once :D).

    The only difference from going to a B&M classroom is that you're sitting in your favorite armchair with a laptop while sipping iced tea -- no commuting time and gas expenses. Sure makes learning a lot more fun...hence a lot more of it tends to take place.
    Last edited by rinri; 10-14-2004 at 05:48 AM.
    Russell Jones
    BA, University of Arizona (B&M)
    MProf, Middlesex University - in progress (DL)

  11. #10
    ham is offline member
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    Oct 2004
    i think it does N O T really matter, as long as one's school is properly accredited at a nationwide level.

    I have M.A/Ph.D in political science from brick & mortar canadian universities.
    No question about legitimacy, accreditation & " tradition ".
    Yet i could N O T market my M.A here at all and i never ever tried my Ph.D.

    Over time i have focused over different disciplines, such as international law, eastern/communist countries law/politics; canadian french speaking politics & a host of others: i wasn't some scholar just devoted to some niche subject.

    it has made NO DIFFERENCE at all.

    It may be helpful to remark i could see even friends with M.Ds going through the same "meat grinder".

    The objections were about the same exposed here:
    1 it is not recognized here ( EEC/Lisbon's directives are about useless as most countries just ignore them )
    2 the university wasn't that good in our opinion because
    3 they're not "serious" at what they do, at least not as much as we are
    4 course X is worth 5000 hours here, but just 500 when by the university you come from
    5 is that really an university?

    that is an outright forgery & a lie, but it was that way.

    Interesting enough, friends of mine who had completed their degrees HERE, would face the opposite objections:

    a. even traffic lights here get such a degree: we see dozens a day.
    b. here teaching is quite poor/mass oriented & our *** needs skilled, opnminded, well taught people
    c. if you only had studied abroad, that would show you're bold, skilled & well taught enough to provide us with ***
    d. you know no foreign languages; local language exams are kindergarten level: then see c.
    e. the only universities that teach well are abroad

    A few companies had been upfront, telling me i was TOO EDUCATED. They'd only need some local university sprout, to whom they'd give the BS trip above, leading to lower wages .

    Hence i really see no reason to be especially afraid of distance learning degrees.

    Onshore, you hear the above BS talks taylored to local universities.
    For some, only certain university deliver real teaching , while others are just short-cuts.
    While onshore the accreditation item is less important, still it all plays in the potential employer's mind: and it does play as outlined.

  12. #11
    bullet is offline Registered User
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    Aug 2004

    Just say the magic words

    Just tell your friends the following:


  13. #12
    cogent is offline Registered User
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    Feb 2001
    phoenix, az, usa

    Online Acceptance

    There are many uninformed people out there. If you are going to an accredited college, that is all that matters. For me to move up the pay scale at my community college (I am a professor), my degrees had to be regionally accredited. And on top of that, my MBA is AACSB accredited (Morehead State University). I put my online degrees up to anybody's degrees. To hell what the ignorant think... just move on and don't let anybody stop you.

  14. #13
    philosophy is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2003


    I think that there are still some people no matter what will always consider "Traditional Education " the only standard acceptable for education . I too have found that employers when going to interviews will ask questions, and if you say that you took your classes through online or distance, that they sort of frown upon it. I guess what I have learned is to take what is a skeptical situation and turn it into a positive situation. Instead, of getting defensive, you learn how to minimize the reluctance by giving information about the school, and also to discuss with them about the technologies that are part of the curriculum of the school that you are graduating from.

    The purpose for any graduate whether traditional or untraditional, is to have the knowledge and skills that an employer is looking for, and to be able to demonstrate this at an interview or the place that you work at.
    "Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today." -Benjamin Franklin

  15. #14
    cbryant is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2003
    I think that sometimes it depends on the field and the school. For example, a university (brick and morter) here in the city I live in offers an MBA that is earned entirly online. I don't think that it will have much of an impact on its graduates gaining accepibility or respectibility.

    However, with my choosen degree which is an M.A. in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary (online) I seem to catch flack sometimes from those who made the "supreme sacrifice" and quit my job to go back to school full time. However what they do not understand is that I am held to the same standards as on-campus students and I pay the same tuition.

    I think that things will get better concerning the respectibility of online learning. It is here to stay and as telecommunications and computers become more advanced those who embrace this fact will be better off in the long run.


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  17. #15
    Jodokk is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2003
    Asheville NC


    Living well, is always the best revenge. You are obviously doing well with your degree.
    I am a graduate of Charter Oak and, Luckily for me, hardly anyone knows that "Charter Oak State College" is predominately a distance instituition. I spent the summer in the University of West Alabama's distance psych/counseling program and I am now in my first semester in the Low Rez MFA creative writing program at Queens U of Charlotte. I have avoided any of the obvious on-line schools to avoid the problems to are describing. UoP and others are certainly fine RA schools but their very success, garnished by constant advertising , keeps me from ever considering them.
    Obviously, others don't share my hesitancy, have done great work, and have legit degrees through the more "out there" schools.
    I have NO doubt that in the next few years, as EVERY B&M school out there either offers the distance option or suffers, the whole mindset will change. I wish you good luck and tell your "friends" to do some study. Let them design and test their way out of class after class with no immediate reinforcement. You are a hero for swimming against the tide, as is every person here who has made the decision to stay out of the corral and run free.
    Good luck!
    Dan B
    BA from Charter Oak State College
    MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte
    MSCE in Counseling/Psychology from University of West Alabama

  18. #16
    dis.funk.sh.null is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2003
    Ontario, Canada
    Dear Avia,

    I too have had a similar experience though I've been sort of scorned cupon up front than behind my back... I remember one of my friends remarking "oh it's not one of those online degree mills is it?"

    Even my own sister was like "adda (meaning brother in our language) I cannot believe what you are doing... I would never get a degree through DL. Online schools are not serious institutions!"

    After a year, now that she is considering going for an MBA , she still says she wont go for an online degree, but the reason has changed: "adda, it requires a lot of discipline for DL studies; I've seen you work and I realise now how hard it is to study online... I don't think I have it in me do take on DL studies."

    This not only shows that people need to be educated regarding DL, but also a sense of fear from distance learning...

    I feel the major role for tarnishing the image of DL or even eperential credits is all these un-accredited universities offering degrees in 5 days with "no exams, no tests and no background checks" type scams.

    A line needs to be drawn and I think this forum is doing an awesome job at it!

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