4 answers

Is there a negative stigma with online degrees?

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Are online degrees and certificates looked down upon or considered less than traditional education? #college #degrees #online-learning #online-college

4 answers

Jennifer’s Answer


Hi Jackie,

I don't think online degrees are looked down upon per se, as any effort to educate yourself is generally a good one. That said, I don't know that they can fully substitute the full experience of a traditional degree. The time you spend at college or university is an important time of self-discovery. You don't necessarily need to live on campus or attend full time - but having the in-person contact with professors and classmates is a very valuable part of the learning process.

Another option for an online degree might be one with a residency. I'm actually enrolled in an online graduate program at the moment and for my first class I had to attend a one-week residency on campus. This allowed me to expand on the difficult subject matter I was learning, meet the professor face-to-face, and meet so many wonderful classmates. Now that I have met almost everyone personally, I feel it enriches my online experience. This is a perfect mix of both worlds because with my work schedule I would not be able to attend traditional classes.

I hope that this helps - best of luck to you!

Mark’s Answer


In many cases, I don't think people know WHAT to think about these degrees and certificates, because they are so varied. :)

Most of us in the industry need to take various "certifications and awareness" classes, often given online, and often not more challenging than "clicking next". They do achieve (in most cases) what they are intended to achieve... but most of my college classes were much harder.

However, I have also taken online training on subjects I needed, and got a LOT of information out of course in a short period of time.

Traditional schools and degrees are known, understood, and have some level of safeguards. No university or college will "hand out a degree for just clicking" (or if they do, their reputation will suffer... and so with their graduates and future enrollment!). A lot of people understand and rely on that. "On-line" doesn't come with that... so (at the moment), you will have to make up the difference! :)

If you reference the degree or certificate, assume your audience doesn't know that it is credible. Have a quick statement or two about it's merits ("The course was accredited by an university as equivalent to their on campus courses), and "links" to more details so they can look up more on their own if they want.

Use the resources you have at hand, and are available! Don't be afraid to take online courses and get certificates, but do also be aware that the goal is to learn, and show that you have achieved something! Best of luck!

Ken’s Answer


Hi Jackie!

You asked a very important question. I have two main concerns:
- they may not be held up to the same certification standards and thus may not measure up to traditional college courses
- they do not allow you to interact in a very important interpersonal way with classmates and instructors, as you would in a traditional college course. Such networking and sharing is very important in gaining relevant class information and real world application of the topic.

Let me know if and how this helps. Keep me posted. I would like to follow your progress.

Holly’s Answer


It depends on the field you are entering and the type of organization you want to work for. Generally speaking, online degrees are not valued as highly as traditional degrees. For certificates, it depends on the industry and credibility of the institution where you are earning the certificate. Check out the websites of organizations where you would want to work, and see what their employees have listed on their resumes or bios. Best of luck!