Are online degrees getting the respect they deserve?

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

  1. Michael Lloyd

    Michael Lloyd New Member

    Well, when I was working on my MBA, I gave up most of my 'free' time for several years while I worked on my studies. Family and work came first, and then the MBA and other studies. Recreational time pretty much went out the window.
  2. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    During the interview process, it is likely that a prospective employer will want to discuss your education. Even when a student attends a B & M school, hard questions will follow unless you have lived somewhat near the school. Without admitting to distance learning, it is hard to explain why a degree was earned through Boston University when the applicant has never lived or worked in Mass.

    I earned my Charter Oak BS degree while living in Connecticut. I don't get many questions about how the degree was earned. I am finishing a graduate degree through Regis University and I have lived in Colorado. I don't expect many questions about that degree. I think it is easier to avoid DL questions (if that is a concern) if you choose a school that is local or at least in the same state.

    I am not suggesting that anyone should try to hide the delivery method of their education. I personally answer all prospective employer questions honestly but I don't volunteer any extra information. In my experience, attending a school in the same state will lead to less questions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2005
  3. drummond

    drummond New Member

    For one thing, there are usually hints in the resume, and the fact is likely to come up in the interviews. I am not saying you should hide the fact of an online degree, but be aware that the bias exists.

    Of course, if you join a company and do exceptional work, that would overcome any early disadvantage from some of the executives looking down on a DL degree. I am not saying, by any means, that a DL degree is not important or worth the cost (after all, I am still considering getting my own MBA online), but pointing out a tactical consideration.
  4. drummond

    drummond New Member

    By the way, just a comment, slightly off-topic, to 'gasbag', if he should come back again.

    Moderators on boards like this are a bit like the administrative staff of a company, or the assistants to a professor at school. Some people think they don't deserve respect, and treat them quite rudely, as you did in this thread. Whether or not a given person has the power or inclination to punish insolence, it is poor business practice to disparage anyone whose help you might need, or whose work aids you in getting your own work done. It also reflects the character of a person, how he or she treats someone they consider their inferior. Call it 'karma' or whatever you like, but poor courtesy towards other people has a way of coming back around, while a person who respects everyone is often held in very high regard by everyone.
  5. Tim D

    Tim D Member

    Of Course if you are in Boston working full time and get a MBA from Mississippi State it is hoing to be very obvious on your resume. If you live close(in the same state or a close neighboring state it may not be as much of an issue,that is only common sense. My point is this if you live Meridan and get a Mississippi State degree via DL it is going to be very difficult if not impossible to be sure unless you ask.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This thread makes me think about the whole issue of the question: "What kind of company do you really want to work for?"

    I know -- in some circumstances, beggars can't be choosers. But really -- I'm not talking about beggars here.

    If you're in an interview, and you feel the need to hide the fact that you earned your degree on the Internet because you feel that might make the person interviewing you turn you down (due to some bias) -- is that how you want to start the relationship with that potential employer?

    Once you're in a company, what are you going to do? Hide it when someone around the water-cooler asks you about it?

    There's no shame in shameless acts of self-improvement. Why be around a culture that makes you feel you've got something to hide?

    When people asked me about my doctorate at my last job (sure, it happens that people ask about degrees), I looked them in the eye, smiled, and said, "The University of Cracker Jacks Box" or "The University of Matchbook Cover". If they took it further than that, I continued to smile, and said, "Look me up on Google Groups -- and we'll talk."

    And yes, the COO did just that. And no -- he didn't throw a harry conniption when he learned more about my exciting past. And this was with an unaccredited set of degrees, let alone online degrees. Over drinks one night, we talked about it. And I talked about it with colleagues who reported to me, if they asked.

    People appreciate honesty and they appreciate disclosure. If you've lived your life ethically, are an ethical professional, and are not ashamed -- and people want to know something -- just answer. If they have a conniption over the response -- imagine how they'd react if they were (for whatever reason -- errors of omission or whatever) if they were to "find out" the "secret" on their own. Many people don't like finding out what should have been obvious from the get-go. They might feel "deceived". That's never a good feeling-place to put someone in.

    Now, I'm not saying put a sign over your head "apologizing" for your online degree (I'm sorry, Sir -- it's an online degree -- I hope you forgive me, Sir) -- but I am saying that we spend more time at work than we do at just about any other thing in life except sleeping. These people we're going to be working with are our colleagues. They tend to appreciate the straight up. If we feel defensive about our life choices around the people we work with -- we come across as defensive.

    Ever worked with a defensive person who just didn't seem to feel right in his or her skin? They broadcast it -- but we're not quite sure what it is they're broadcasting. Tension. Unease.

    Now imagine there's a deadline on the way. You're surrounded by people who sense your tension (over any issue). You have to lead them into battle -- but they just don't seem to trust you -- you seem tense. What are they thinking? I've worked around people who don't quite feel right in their skin. It's not pleasant.

    Just my two Canuck cents.
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Addendum: Yes, there's a "time and place" for every disclosure.

    Few years back I was having lunch at a restaurant with my wife, and there was this couple across from us on their first date.

    The woman was "disclosing" (and in graphic detail) all the parts of her body that had been pierced.

    This did not make for a good lunch for my wife and me.

    Time and place. Yup.
  8. Dennis

    Dennis New Member

    Incidentally, would you also classify Excelsior in the last category? I'm asking this because I just remembered reading a post from you on degreeinfo a couple of years ago where you related how easily you earned your degree at this school.

  9. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    As I said before...I believe that we are seeing a change in technology and our interaction and acceptance of it as a society. Eventually online will be accepted with this change as familiarity increases and technology encroaches itself even upon the most unwilling.

    As for the here and now...there may be bias; indeed for those with DETC degrees there may be even more bias, but you cannot work your entire life around biases. Look at the bias against women, look at the bias against African Americans, look at the bias against physically handicapped persons and in government work at least, look at the bias against the white middle aged male. Everywhere you turn has bias and none of those biases are universal. Just accept what you've accomplished (you know what you've done) and don't think of yourself as inferior (you aren't you know) and act as if you deserve the same consideration as anyone else (you do you know).

    Everyone here can agree that an online program can be every bit as tough as a B&M what if the bias is's dying. I truly believe in this "paradigm shift" in education. Look at how many people had to take online classes this last semester because of Katrina....

    Then there are schools like St. Josephs College of Maine, yes it is an online school, but all graduates are required to attend a residency on does that fit into presumptive bias?

    Just a quick BTW….I supervise approximately 17 people right now…of those 17 people there are about 5 or 6 that are good with a computer and the internet and most of those people went to school online. I’ve got a couple of guys with a B&M education (one from U.T.) who are not so good with computers and it makes my job that much harder. Give me the techie nerd any day.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I said it was easy? Really? Swift, sure. Without unnecessary complications, certainly. But easy in terms of intellectual challenge? Only to the extent that I feel multiple-choice tests can be beaten. An element, but not the core issue. I still had to pass the exams and accumulate the credit. If it was truly easy a lot more people would be taking that route.

    "Degrees," not degree. And from its public predecessor, not from Excelsior.

    But I would not lump Excelsior (or COSC or TESC) into this category for good reasons. (Assuming we're talking about the assessment programs, not the taught programs.)

    First, the impact of entering then exiting Excelsior is minor. You don't change your life, you don't commit huge funds, you can always resume, etc. Also, Excelsior is outcomes-based. No matter who is admitted, earning a degree is between you and the curriculum. Someone else's admission doesn't affect your success, nor the quality of your experience.

    No, I don't think they compare.
  11. trevor D

    trevor D New Member

    I think that Rich hit the nail on the head.
  12. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    Great information!

    I appreciate all the ideas and information you all have supplied. I am a banker with over 20 years experience and I've always wanted to get both an MBA and a PhD, for personal knowledge mainly. But I also wanted to teach post-secondary business classes in the future.

    I started my MBA while working full-time+ at a professional level job, with a spouse who also works full-time, two kids 11 and 9. I was PTA Treasurer and then President, managed two year-round soccer teams and was a very hands-on parent. So I knew I needed an online rather than a F2F program.

    I gave up many hours of sleep, parties, gardening, pleasure reading, cooking and cleaning but due to excellent organizational skills, (and the wonders of modern technology) I kept up with all my responsibilities — excelling at them – got a promotion and even survived my spouse's life-threatening illness. (I took 3 years, not 2 and took some sessions off altogether.) I studied about 30 hours a week; used commuting time (bus), lunch hours, typed on a laptop at soccer games, in the car, at family gatherings etc. I read ahead at times when I wasn’t in class that session. I also got almost straight As (just one B) and learned a heck of a lot. Graduated May 2005.

    I attended the same school that JTAEE1920 attends and so far I have had no raised eyebrows on the DL portion, even though Regis is not well known here. I chose Regis because it has a B&M campus, was not-for-profit and cheaper/faster than UofPhoenix, but I didn’t do much other research. I also had a friend who had started the program on-the-ground then transferring to online and his wife had done hers on-the-ground at Regis, so I had his experience as a guide. In hindsight, I might have gone to an AACSB-accredited school. But I don’t see problems getting into the PhD program of my choice down the road.

    Through my learning experience, I determined that I have great facilitation skills and decided to try my hand at teaching a bit earlier than planned and to teach via online programs. Recently, I received an offer to teach an online community college class in the spring of ’06. The fact that I got my degree online is more of a plus than a minus. I have excellent references from former instructors, some of whom I have met IRL. I hope to continue teaching online, as it suits me and will help me pay college tuition for my two kids, who are now teenagers!
  13. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    I agree online learning will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, I suspect this growth is for the wrong reasons. When schools market their DL/alternative programs, they generally speak to convenience, ease of schedule, open enrollment, etc... I have yet to see many schools (or students), claim an internet based program is of higher quality than the same school's ground based program.

    I am an online learner. People I meet are impressed that I have the time to study and work full time. It isn't easy at all. In considering my time, distance learning is much easier than having to be in a certain classroom at a certain time.

    I'm sure a few students may have felt their DL experiences were more educational than classroom based experiences in the same program at the same school. At the same time, I'm confident many more people feel their DL experiences were much more convenient than classroom based experiences in the same program at the same school.
  14. eric.brown

    eric.brown New Member

    In working on my MBA, I have taken courses online and on-campus and have always enjoyed the online courses more than on-campus. The on-campus courses do give a person more of a chance to interact with other students, but it also requires a set amount of time out of your schedule to go listen to a Prof talk about something for 2 to 3 hours that I feel like I can learn in much less time than that.

    In Aug of this year, I went to 100% online with my MBA program and don't regret it. When I mention to friends/family/coworkers about the online program, they are all very interested in it because they see the value of being able to attend class and study as time permits.

    I think in the next few years, we will all see the "stigma" of online learning be removed in the majority of peoples minds. Look at it like online dating a few years ago...people used to think that you were "weird" if you used an online service to meet people and to date. If you take a look at online dating today, it's a huge industry and there is very little stigma associated with meeting people online.
  15. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    I'm not sure how fast it will happen but agree that it eventually will.

    Just as an aside, I work for one of the five largest banks in the country. I'm in Washington State, my boss is in San Antonio Texas, his boss is in San Francisco and our credit approver is in LA. Co-workers are in NY, D.C, Boston, St. Louis, Oregon, San Diego etc. I telecommute, something that was unheard of 10 years ago. The internal pushback was amazing but the system works very well with fax, cell phone, confernece call providers, and DSL/broadband.

    Sure, there are some managers in the Bank who won't allow telecommuting but it works. Customers like it, mainly because they have instant access to most of us and faster turnaround on questions.

    It's the way of the world, and will evenutally be commonplace in most if not all industries.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2005
  16. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    What kind of respect does an online degree deserve? :eek:
  17. John-NY

    John-NY New Member

    Since there is no reason to believe that all online degrees are equal, that's a tough question to answer. :confused:
  18. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    I think there is where the problem lies. No two schools are the same. I suspect there are few online programs (if any) that are superior to the same school's ground based program. Even a smal number of online programs that are inferior could have the potential to create a negative perception of all online degrees.
  19. w_parker

    w_parker New Member

    Why would a school's program be superior or inferior? Many AACSB schools will allow you to take courses in person and online, and most AACSB schools have the same faculty teaching online and in classroom covering the same content. I believe the biggest factor in this case is how the student learns, and what the student gets from the course and the program. Are there inferior programs out there? I believe so. This is part of the reason I chose AACSB programs, so there would be some quality control built into the program.

    I did my undergrad degree as a mix of online and in class. My graduate education has been online so far, but when I return from Iraq I will be transferring into U of Hawaii's MBA program and attending in person, but this is a personal choice and not due to any perceived inferiority of the online program. During my educational endeavors, I have not seen any real difference in my ability to learn the material and the knowledge I gained whether online or in class, but as I said everyone learns differently so my experience does not guarantee your experience will be the same.

    William Parker
  20. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    Any particular school's online and classroom based programs could be very different for a variety of reasons. Mode of instruction, interaction, quality of the prof., etc... There are many variables to consider. Since classroom and online learning are so very different, it would be difficult to say the two are of equal quality. While I have no evidence, I suspect the chances of an online program being inferior are greater than the chances of a classroom based program being inferior.

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