Are online degrees getting the respect they deserve?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by nobycane, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. nobycane

    nobycane New Member

    I have been a member of this forum and website for sometime now, it was Dr. Bear and many others on this website that assisted me and guided me into the realm of distance learning education.

    The advice and suggestions given to me allowed me to move forward in completing my B.S. at Excelsior College, and with the ongoing knowledge and tools provided (from the wise individual here) led me to discover the current Master's program that fitted my academic and career Montana State Unverisity- Bozeman (Master Science in Science Education). A program and university that I am excited and proud to be apart of.

    Though the question still stands, "Do online degrees recieve the respect they deserve" in the academic world? I am a constant reader of another academic fourm called the "Chronicle-of higher education"

    Which has various discussions on higher education (cc and univ), job seeking advice, in the classroom experiences, etc...

    There was a recent discussion that many on there (which are adjunct prof's and tt prof's) state that online degrees are worthless and are a baisc loop-hole in today's academics. Which really upset me...

    A couple of quotes that seemed really disrespectful were:
    So my question is, why do so many people, businesses, colleges and other academic instituitions are still so bias when it comes to an individual who has educated themselves in a non-traditional way? I am sure that there will be a time that online education will severly outweigh on-campus educaton...

    I just do not get it? I am completing my master's online, same amount of work in the program as other individual would if there were on campus. I have to meet the some on-campus requirements (a couple weeks worth)...what is the big deal?
  2. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    In my own opinion, any prejudice (and let's face it, condeming all DL degrees is prejudice) comes from the same places as any prejudice, anger and fear.

    Anger: "I had to sacrifice so much so that I could put my butt in that classroom year after year, I'll be damned if I let someone take the easy route."

    Fear: "Those DL degree holders are popping up everywhere. If I'm not careful I could lose my job to one of them."

    In the end it doesn't really matter what these people say. DL is not a fad. DL will only get bigger and better.
  3. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    You are familiar with Paradigm Shift by Kuhn? I would consider DL to be the Paradigm Shift equivilency in education. Ironic though it may be, a professor teaching paradigm shift may not even be aware that he/she is part of the “old paradigm” and thus a dying breed with dying ideals.


    “Eventually a new paradigm is formed, which gains its own new followers, and an intellectual "battle" takes place between the followers of the new paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm.”-------quote from Wikipedia concerning Thomas Kuhn and the Paradigm Shift

    Education will have to follow it's nature or will out date itself if it does not keep up. There are those who will, thus technology will drive education.

    The internet is not going anywhere. This is a capitalist society and higher education is no longer immune to the effects of capitalism that in the past it has enjoyed… (you can argue that they ever were, but I digress)…the fact is that you have many professionals earning their degrees via distance learning voluntarily, such as us and involuntarily, such as displaced Katrina victims. All of these people will enter the workforce with an online (DL) education in some form or fashion even if just a segment was online. They may be the minority, but they eventually will attain rank.

    Secondly, those in the private sector who work while they learn are adding experience to education, thus qualifying themselves over those who simply completed a degree… pushing them into decision making positions.

    Over time with the acceptance of the internet, which will one day be used as a T.V.-movie rental, retail front, etc. all in one unit in your home….it will be viewed as a valuable educational tool as well (perhaps the end of "snowdays"). Technology gets better everyday, soon you may have virtual classrooms that are truly virtual.

    Either way, for profit schools are becoming increasingly competative, being accepted in the private and public sector. Those of the “old paradigm” can argue, rant, rave and stomp their feet…but just like Paul Bunyan….you can’t beat technology.
  4. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    Opinions are valid even when they differ from your's. This is a distance learning board. With that in mind, it would be silly to think many people here would say anything short of "online programs are everything classroom based programs are and more".

    In the end, there is no blanket answer. Some online programs are very challenging and other online programs may be unusually easy. I suspect most are right in between. It is wrong for anyone to assume all online programs are easy. It is just as wrong for anyone to assume any RA distance program is completely comparable to similar classroom based programs.

    I started my graduate studies with Regis University at their Colorado Springs campus. After 4 courses, I transferred to the online program due to a cross-country move. In my experience, the classroom based program was exponentially more educational than the online program. The assignments are identical between the two programs but I miss the classroom interaction. Posting on a message board (not unlike this one) could not replace the interaction with a professor and classmates for 4 hours each week.

    If I were interviewing two job applicants each with a degree (one online, one classroom), I would give more credit to the applicant with a classroom based degree (assuming abilities and experience were similar). I would have this preference not because of "anger or fear". This preference is driven by my own personal experience.

    *This post expresses my personal opinions. I will not discount other opinions and desire others to avoid discounting my opinions.
  5. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member experience is exactly the opposite of yours. I have done a LOT more work earning an online degree than I did in the classroom....but then that's me....

    as for the classroom interaction? At the local community college during the daytime there was a bunch of kids who were there because they didn't have anything to do after high school or the night classes filled with tired, irritable adults who were trying to get a promotion, career change, etc. They certainly didn't want to be there either in most cases. All in all, it was kind of a depressing experience.
  6. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Yes, OK. I miss the classroom experience as well but none of that means that the online format is inferior to the classroom format. You have a "preference" and so you assume that everyone has this same preference. What is best for you must be best for everyone? I miss the classroom and so that MUST be universally superior?

    Yes, OK. Maybe that's not anger and maybe it's not fear but I think it's bias and not evenhanded.
  7. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    There is no doubt that results will vary from school to school. My experience was with graduate studies at a respected university. I am certain daytime classroom based courses at community colleges leave much to be desired. I think many professionals will find evening classes more enjoyable. In my experience at Regis, the evening classes were small and very interactive.
  8. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Still....even like Mr. Tracey may not be fear or anger...but still smells like bias, to which of course you are entitled.
  9. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    Jack, judging by your attack, I believe you have misread my entire post. There is no question that I have preferences. Who doesn't? However, I never stated or implied I think "everyone has this same preference". In fact, I went out of my way to communicate that others may not share my feelings. I never stated or implied "classroom...MUST be universally superior". In fact, I pointed out that programs will vary greatly and there is "no blanket answer".

    When I make hiring decisions, I hire the candidate I prefer. If I get 5 or 6 qualified applicants that could all do the job, I have to go with my preference.

    I apologize if I offended you Jack. My post was intended to express my personal opinions only.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2005
  10. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    What you stated was that given two candidates with the same qualifications you would choose the classroom degree over the online degree for no other reason than that you, personally, liked your classroom experience. You gave no other reason. I believe that is bias.

    I also believe that what I wrote was in no way an attack.

    You are entitled to your opinion. I am not writing for the purpose of changing your opinion. I am writing so that the other readers of this thread might see a counterpoint. I believe that I have achieved that end. I hope you have a pleasant evening.
  11. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    If I had two equally qualified candidates and a decision came down to education alone (very doubtful), I would have to make a choice. Since I can't have experience at every college, I would have to go with what I prefer from my own experience.

    Perhaps "attack" was a strong word to use. You made a couple of very broad statements about MY beliefs that were not at all supported by my posts. In doing so, you may have given other members that I am unreasonable and not capable of seeing alternative viewpoints. My post was very respectful and full of disclaimers. Yours was not what I would expect from a moderator. In the end, we can agree to disagree :)
  12. w_parker

    w_parker New Member

    You state, "In the end, there is no blanket answer. Some online programs are very challenging and other online programs may be unusually easy. I suspect most are right in between. It is wrong for anyone to assume all online programs are easy. It is just as wrong for anyone to assume any RA distance program is completely comparable to similar classroom based programs."

    Where do you come up with your measurements of online programs? Do you have some form of quantifiable or qualitative measure you used?

    "In my experience, the classroom based program was exponentially more educational than the online program. The assignments are identical between the two programs but I miss the classroom interaction. Posting on a message board (not unlike this one) could not replace the interaction with a professor and classmates for 4 hours each week."

    Once again, where did you come up with this measure that the classroom learning experience was exponentially more educational, even though the program and assignments were identical?

    "I am certain daytime classroom based courses at community colleges leave much to be desired."

    Really, says who?

    Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Thanks for sharing yours.

    MSU MBA Student
  13. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Finally, someone who understands this forum is an exchange of OPINIONS. There are still a few around here who just don't seem to get that.

  14. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    William, I fear my original post was once again misread. I was not offering any opinions on "online programs". I was only offering my opinion based on my experience in the online program at Regis University (comparing to Regis' classroom program).

    I have no quantitative or qualitative evidence of the quality or lack of quality in Regis University's online program (and did make any claims of having such evidence). I cannot prove that the program is inferior to Regis' classroom based program. At the same time, I cannot prove the program is as good or better than the classroom based program. Because every school is different, I sincerely doubt anyone on this board can make broad statements about the quality of online education. Most schools are good and others are not so good. I am extremely happy with Regis and am about to enter my final semester. My impressions about the Regis online program were not negative, they were just not as fantastic as my classroom experiences. I genuinely believe I learned more in the classroom interaction than I gained by the online message board.

    My post was completely anecdotal and was expressed as an opinion only. I never made any claims of having empirical evidence that related to the quality of online education.
  15. trevor D

    trevor D New Member

    Change never happens quietly!
  16. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    I had no idea I would get such a response! It's not everyday that an opinion can be so wrong :)
  17. nobycane

    nobycane New Member

    What I think is interesting is, that a lot of people look at education from the view of having to actually being in a classroom or classroom setting.

    Though in my experience, and all the online courses I have taken...there is still somewhat a classroom setting - a virtual setting through chat rooms & discussion boards. Sure, everyone does not get to look their profs and fellow classmates in the eye, but isn't all about communication anyways?

    Do I miss the physical classroom setting? No. Do I look forward to the summer campus field classes I am required to take for summer 2006? Yes.

    I do not mind having to meet a requirement like this where I need to have an actual on campus course for a week...but I could not deal with being in a classroom all the time again like I did in my earlier undergraduate days...

    I believe a lot of individuals are threatened by "continuing education/distance learning" degrees...maybe because they did not have the oppertunity when they were persuing their education. Or, because distance learning is new wave of education, many researchers at universities are worried that if a lot of students take the DL route for their Bachelor's or Master's the univeristies will begin to loose research money and grants...due to the lack of enrollment of on-campus students?

    I look at it this way, and this will be the way I teach my daughter when she is ready to move into college...

    I would like her to go to a community college for a couple years to earn an Associate degree "on-campus". Then after that, when she is ready to move on to finishing her BA, then I will give her the option to go to a "on-campus" univeristy or complete it "on-line" (depending on the major).

    In 17 years, I can see that DL education will so huge...that the on-campus education and on-line education will be equal.
  18. John-NY

    John-NY New Member

    I would add ignorance to anger and fear. I'd be willing to bet--and I'm no gambling man--that the folks responsible for the quotes that nobycane cited have little or no experience with DL. Just my $.02 (after taxes).
  19. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    I value distance eduction. I happen to prefer classroom education. In the case of the quotes nobycane cited, some people really dislike DL. It is silly to assume this dislike is due to anger, fear, or ignorance. We can't assume anyone with differing opinions is just plain wrong (or fearful, or angry, etc...).

    I worked with a very pretty woman that was positive any other woman that did not like her was "jealous". While she certainly had her flaws, some people may have very well been jealous. I still thought it was very closed minded to assume all that didn't agree were wrong.
  20. John-NY

    John-NY New Member

    Dislike? I would say that quotes such as "el cheapo, fifth-rate pseudo-academic 'alternatives'" , "worthless, but highly lucrative, 'degrees'", and "not a legitimate academic enterprise" go a little farther than just expressing "dislike." These people are passing a value judgment on DL, which is their right to do. However, passing judgment on something you know little or nothing about (i.e., are ignorant of) is prejudice, plain and simple.

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