Online Learning– Not just a Degree Mill

ComputerThere is a lot of debate regarding the benefit and motives of online learning programs.

For instance, Campus Technology writes about for-profit education in “Faculty Coalition: It’s Time to Examine MOOC and Online Ed Profit Motives“.

We need to consider that not every online program is built solely for the purpose of making money.

Online programs help working professionals and people hindered by geographical barriers achieve education when life obstacles make it difficult to attend brick & mortar colleges or programs on a regular semester schedule.

Military personal, executive leaders and managers, and stay-at-home parents are just a few examples of those with irregular schedules who may benefit from online studies.

It is the duty of the instructional designer, faculty, and program directors to ensure that online education practices sound curriculum development.

Three key pieces of information anyone considering online education should be aware of when selecting the right online program include:

1.) Will your transcript and diploma state “online” in the verbiage? If so, stay away! Your future employers and colleges (if you go for post-graduate and doctorate work) may see this and be scared off that your education was not “legit”.

2.) Are your professors the same professors you’ll have if you attended the class in person? Yes, great! That means you’ll be learning from the same intelligent people as those students who are on campus.

3.) Is the curriculum and syllabi the same as the curriculum for the on campus version of the class? Yes, fantastic! That means you’ll be learning the same content and completing the same work as those students who are on campus.

You should be able to ask an Admissions Counselor or Program Director these questions. If necessary, ask to see a copy of the syllabi for the different modes of class delivery (online, hybrid, on campus).

I love learning: I read, write, and share knowledge. If your end goal is to better yourself and you don’t need a certified credential, by all means, participate in MOOCs and other non-traditional learning opportunities. Just, don’t shell out a bunch of cash for “tuition”. If you’re paying for education, you should receive legitimate proof of your hard work by means of a diploma and transcript from a established educational institution.


About Julie Tausend Burba

Instructional Designer at Hulu, Ed Tech and Project Management enthusiast. MBA Technology Management, MS Management, BS Communications, Traveler and Cook.

Posted on October 27, 2013, in Educational Technology, Instructional Design, Tausend Talks Shop and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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