May 31st, 2006
After two high-level law enforcement officials were accused of receiving their Master's degrees from a 'diploma mill,' the very nature of online education became a heated topic of debate.
Many people felt this exposed a weakness in online college degrees, and that the entire industry should be viewed with less respect and trust.
This author fights back , reminding readers that online universities offer a true value, and that a few bad apples should not spoil the bunch.
The HNT article reported as much when the staff writer wrote: ". . . who earned degrees online "places that do not require actual courses or exams." The problem, however, is that this syntax does not differentiate between all institutions that offer online courses and degrees, and it connotes that online degrees in general "do not require actual courses or exams." This cannot be further from the truth.
The distinction should be made in the accreditation as most employers only recognize degrees for employment and promotion that come from "accredited" institutions. And, that doesn't just mean that the institution uses the word "accredited," but who accredits them.
It's nice to see both sides of the issue examined. Have you ever experienced prejudice because you opted for an online education?
(Image: Hugh Holub)
May 30th, 2006
FOREXBusinessSchool.com, a favorite among finance professionals, is now being developed further by college educators, with an aim to improve the quality of online education.
…owner of FOREXBusinessSchool.com, researched over 500 existing currency trader training programs and determined that there was a need for an independent source to provide FOREX training. The FOREXBusinessSchool.com program is being developed by college educators who are experienced investment and finance professionals.
According to Sarah Eisner, a consultant on the FOREXBusinessSchool.com project, "This educational program is designed utilizing the most advanced e-learning instructional techniques. The currency trading learning goals of FOREXBusinessSchool.com are clearly defined and supported with lots of supplemental materials, resources, assessment quizzes, numerous tables and graphs, and college level testing modules. This online learning experience will prepare traders to be winners."
Further details can be found here.
May 29th, 2006
If mortgage brokering is your thing, then your online options have expanded.
In a move designed to help its approved mortgage brokers enhance their professional skills and build their businesses, Argent Mortgage Company is launching a new online education program that is convenient, affordable and flexible enough to meet the needs of a busy broker.
Argent University, powered by CampusMBA, the educational arm of the Mortgage Bankers Association, will provide unlimited access for 12 months to more than 50 online courses for the single price of $350, which is slightly more than the cost of just one traditional Web-based course. Available exclusively to Argent-approved brokers, bankers and loan officers, this educational opportunity will be available on the Argent Web site at www.argentmortgage.com on May 30, 2006.
Whether your goals are strictly professional, as in this story, or if you're looking for a more varied experience, there certainly is no shortage of opportunity in online education these days.
(Photo: Mortgage Class of 2002)
May 25th, 2006
Online courses already make up 7% of the world's entire college student population. The number is expected to grow to 10% by 2008, which means that millions of students will opt for an online education over a traditional university setting.
Along with busy lifestyles, many students find finances and increased opportunities to be valid reasons to opt for online degrees.
Congress passed a law in March that drops the requirement that colleges offer at least half their courses face to face to receive federal student aid. The new law will undoubtedly attract more students and schools into the fledgling online industry.
Online enrollment, including multiple courses taken by a single student, jumped from 1.98 million in 2003 to 2.35 million the following year, accounting for 7 percent of postsecondary education, according to Eduventures, a Boston firm that studies trends in education. Another study, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, reports that 65 percent of universities offering face-to-face graduate courses also offer graduate courses online. By early 2008, Eduventures predicts, about one in 10 college students will be enrolled in an online degree program.
"It's only going to grow," said Richard Garrett, an analyst with Eduventures. "The largest high school graduating class in U.S. history is expected to be 2009. There is going to be a lot of pressure on these students to get education in a competitive market."
Here's to the online future!
(Photo Source: Express Citations)
May 24th, 2006
Online education specialist and powerhouse The Sloan Consortium has awarded the University of Florida Global forensic Science program its 2006 national Award of Excellence in Distance Education.
The online program, which offers master's degrees and graduate certificates in four areas of forensic science, was selected for the honor by a panel of 16 peer universities affiliated with the consortium.
"Our forensic distance education master's programs have earned a well-respected international reputation in the past six years through our growing student enrollments and through partnering and assisting universities and governments in South America, Europe and Asia in education, workshops and training," Tebbett said.
Congrats to UF, and here's hoping to see more quality like this in the future.
(Picture Source: UF)
May 23rd, 2006
Not only have online courses and degrees aided universities in many ways; they are now supporting some. The University of North Carolina is one such institution:
Bowles also said distance learning, or online classes, offered at UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, and all across the state are helping a lot to bring in more money, and that helps the bottom line for students.
"Because (with online classes) we can generate revenues from students throughout the world," Bowles said. "Would you rather have a master's in teaching or master's in nursing from the University of North Carolina or Phoenix?"
Bowles believes that money will help prevent big tuition increases and help move the UNC system forward in the years to come.
Of course, this leads one to wonder if the trend of more 'traditional' universities offering online degrees will lead to the demise of wholly online institutions such as Phoenix. Where would you rather get your degree?
(Picture Source: UNC)
May 16th, 2006
Amid the technology and daily innovations we find in the field of online universities, it's important to remember that the industry is about, first and foremost, people. Which is what makes inspiring stories like this one so wonderful.
Joel Brown had to leave college 64 years ago, to help his family. Back then, nobody would've dreamed that a college education would one day be within reach for anyone, at any age. Thanks to online enrollment, Joel recently fulfilled his dream of earning a college degree…at the age of 80.
"I never dreamed that I would get a degree at 80, but here I am," said Brown, who proudly wears his 2006 class ring. "This just goes to show you that you should never give up on your dreams."
Brown initially enrolled at the University of Alabama in 1944. He was one year shy of graduation when he left UA and went to work in the Capital City to help support his family.
Twelve years into retirement, Brown, who is an active community volunteer and leader of the Sunday school ministry at Eastmont Baptist Church, decided in 2003 that the time was right to resume pursuit of his lifelong dream.
Brown said he still feels as if he has "more work" to do and doesn't plan to stop his quest for knowledge. He hopes his journey will inspire others.
"Go at life with abandon; give it all you've got," he said, "and life will give you all it has for you."
(Photo: Joel Brown with class ring, courtesy of the Montgomery Advisor.)
May 16th, 2006
Educators all over the world, as in this recent story from the University of Tennessee, are using online college courses for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is purely practical, and yet, hopeful: to keep students from dropping out. Officials hope that students who weary of a traditional classroom setting will turn to online courses, rather than leaving college entirely.
Especially targeted are students in the 'stopped-out' category:
Higher education officials wanting to raise Tennessee's college graduation rate are developing plans to help the "stopped-out's."
These are students who dropped out for personal or financial reasons but always wanted to go back. Some are lacking only a semester or two of earning their degree.
This absolutely seems to be an excellent possibility. Would you finish your college education online?
May 16th, 2006
Online university Walden University recently received an important accreditation for their M.S. nursing program. Walden has more than 1,000 students enrolled in the program, and is now a driving force in improving the quality of healthcare.
"CCNE accreditation means Walden's program meets the highest standards and will equip graduates to make a direct impact on the nursing shortage by producing qualified, inspired leaders dedicated to taking the profession to new heights on the job and in the classroom," said Marion G. Anema, Ph.D., faculty chair of Walden's M.S. program in Nursing. "This accreditation indicates that the Walden nursing program has the substance, standards and focus needed to enable its graduates to excel in a professional career environment and practice effectively," said Dr. Anema.
Truly excellent news: here's hoping for more like it.
May 16th, 2006
In a recent study published by the joint efforts of the Penn State University Office of Outreach Marketing and Communications and the University Continuing Education Association, it seems the mega-boom in online university enrollment can primarily be contributed to adult continuing education students. Researchers estimate that online college enrollment will grow 10(!)
times faster than 'traditional' enrollment over the next 10 years.
Up to 45 percent of colleges and university enrollment is from adult learners, many of whom sign-up for distance learning classes rather than on-campus classes. Revenues for continuing education rose 67 percent at responding institutions since the previous survey in 2004. The trend is expected to grow distance learning 10 times faster than campus classes over the next decade. The growth in distance learning is driven by the growth of interactive marketing.
This does seem fitting when you consider the idea behind the impetus of online education: to break down any barriers–including common ones such as years spent away from school– and spread the access of knowledge to anyone who seeks it.