An online degree is an academic degree that can be earned primarily or entirely through the use of an Internet-connected computer, rather than attending college in a traditional campus setting. Improvements in technology, the increasing use of the Internet worldwide, and the need for people to have flexible school schedules while they are working have led to a proliferation of online colleges that award associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.
Quality of learning online
Online education enables individuals living with physical disabilities, busy full-time employees, soldiers, those living abroad, and stay-at-home parents, among others to have access to accredited higher education.
The perception of the quality of online degrees compared to on-campus degrees varies. While most major online colleges are regionally accredited, the public estimation of their quality is in dispute. A national survey of hiring representatives showed that a preference toward on-campus degrees exists. In some instances, hiring executives were unwilling to consider applicants with an online degree. Some experts argue that degrees in certain fields are more accepted online than in others, while some programs are less suited for online-only schools.
A survey by the Distance Education and Training Council found that 100% of employers who responded felt that distance education program graduates performed better on the job as a result of their degree (as compared to their previous performance). Additionally, employers felt that an employee receiving a distance education degree compared favorably, in terms of knowledge learned, to someone with a resident degree. On the other hand, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in January 2007 on a Vault Inc. survey that found 55 percent of employers preferred traditional degrees over online ones.
Forty-one percent, however, said they would give "equal consideration to both types of degrees".
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