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How do degrees from online schools stack up with hiring managers?

How does a degree from an online university stack up against one from a traditional institution when it comes to hiring time?

A TechRepublic member recently emailed me with this question:

I had a question about applicants who have attended online universities like University of Phoenix, DeVry, etc. Do hiring managers honor these degrees, or are they more likely to go with an applicant who went to a traditional school?

I know I sound like a broken record every time a question is asked about IT degrees, schools, or certifications, but the answer remains the same--it depends.

It depends on the individual perception of the person looking at the resumes. Even with a degree from an accredited online school under your belt, you could be at a disadvantage. This is because the competition for an IT job is really stiff now. If yours is the only resume received by a hiring manager, you might get an interview. If the hiring manager has six other resumes besides yours and the applicants have four-year degrees from traditional schools, then he or she may consider the latter degrees more valuable. It depends on the personal experience and perceptions of that person.

Your credibility as a graduate of an online university also depends on the school. UoP is well-known and regionally accredited, which helps with its reputation. Some online schools, however, can be a rip-off, which unfairly taints things for all the others since some employers don't differentiate between good online schools and bad.

Having said that, however, I should say that some institutions already respected for their traditional programs, such as Notre Dame, Tulane, Stanford, Villanova, and Stevens Institute of Technology have been experimenting with online offerings as well. So it may be that the overall perception of online education will change as time goes on.

I asked an HR recruiter, Tim Heard, to also weigh in on this question. He said:

Degrees are funny things. I have clients who are adamant that an individual must have one, even if the person has an amazing track record that spans years of success in one's field. Personally, I think that a degree  is important only if a candidate is somewhat light on experience. Even then, with respect to IT professionals, I'd tend to recommend specific training relating to one's career path, rather than going for something like an MBA program from an online university.

With respect to how degree programs are viewed, there's certainly a pecking order. I helped screen MBA candidates not long ago for a leadership program that a large employer has implemented, and almost all of the candidates were from universities with exceptional academic reputations. On the other hand, sometimes an employer isn't concerned about the institution, but rather wants to make sure that their managers all have exposure to the basic training offered in an MBA program.

Here's the pecking order, which is fairly common sense:

  • A degree is better than not having one (but with some employers is not a big deal one way or another).
  • An MBA or other advanced degree is better than simply having a BS or BA.
  • An MBA from a brick and mortar school is generally perceived as better than an online MBA.
  • A PhD, if you're an IT professional, is generally not a good thing, because PhDs are often considered to be too interested in the theory and academics to actually produce in a fast-paced work environment.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

134 comments
RayJeff
RayJeff

For the majority of my IT career, I've had the chance to work in the academic field. Half of the end users were students; The other half, faculty. And the majority of them had doctorates; e.g, Ph.D, and Ed.D. While they didn't have doctorates in I,T or Computer Science, all and all, they are all the same. Educators in general and persons with advanced degrees (Masters and Doctorate) really are like babies when it comes to I.T. While they think they know everything, they really don't. And when there is a problem, who do they go to? Now, when it comes to persons with doctorates in Computer Science, since this is more likely the crop of potential employees than persons with doctorates in I.T., which doctorates in the latter aren't that common (but I maybe wrong). Let's face it, Computer Science is all about the theory. And how many persons who have doctorates in Computer Science actually have worked in I.T.? How many of them have ever worked in a helpdesk environment? How many of them have actually installed computer systems? How many of them have actually laid cabling. If even 1% of them have, I'd be truly surprised. If they aren't used to doing it before in an actual work situation and not in a classroom environment, then it's going to be hard to get them to do it. But..this is not to say you can't get them do the work. You just have to know how to deal with them. Now, on the other hand, how many of us, as I.T. pros have ever worked with doctorates on a consistent basis? I would guess at less than 1%. The dilemma is having both sides never having worked with each other before and then it makes for a difficult environment. Would I hired a doctorate in Computer Science or I.T.? Personally, and this is just me, I probably would because of having dealt with them. I wouldn't assume from the out set that because they deal in theory that they can't apply the theory. My future plans are to pursue a doctorate in Computer Science. I'm one the few that love the theory and application. And while I would love to do research, it doesn't mean that I wouldn't want to apply it in actual work. I would hoe that a future employer and/or recruiter would not toss my CV and resume away just form seeing those three letters, Ph.D, without reading further to see that i have many, many years of actual I.T. work to balance it out. :-)

jcowanjr
jcowanjr

I just had this convo with an executive HR friend of mine and we both agree that it's likely that the traditional degree will probably hold more weight than the online only degree. Many traditional universities have programs with online options. I think this is probably the best of both worlds. You have the convenience of online classes with the reputation of the traditional school. Best part is that once you graduate, your degree is not going to say MBA with online option!!

gnaydo
gnaydo

If it were in just IT, I would probably not look favorably on this. You can dissect technology into so many directions that it would be easy to loose the point. If the PhD related to the business or core objective of the organization (ie PhD in education working at a school), then I would say this has some merit.

crowell
crowell

A degree that required some classroom time is a must have for me. I don't care if you've got an online degree from MIT. I want to call references that were classmates on projects. The people I hire will evolve into other roles in the organization and even though my Level1 Team doesn't "need" a degree to do a good job, they must have a degree to get OUT of my team. I can't keep a level1 person on my team earning $70k+ a year. I start telling my team at $47k, you'd better be looking for additional opportunities because in (2) review cycles you?re at the Salary Ceiling and that?s that. No degree, or no quality degree means you?re locked out of Level2 or the business and will quickly be locked out of my team too because level1 cannot afford you anymore.

snaik95899
snaik95899

I wish there were rules or some kind of standards for companies and their hiring practices. I am sick to death of hearing every week of 50 ways on how to post a resume.And every week I see a different post on companies wanting certifications. Then next week, it's degrees. The following week it's all experience and no degrees or certifications. WHY CANT THERE BE INDUSTRY RULES FOR THIS ! This going back and forth week after week is making people mad and seasick. I wish the IT industry would tell us if they want certifications, degrees, skills or not. If your have exceptional computer skills with no degree, where does that leave you. If you have a degree, but no experience, where does that leave you as well. The industry leaders really need to set standards. If they don't, IT people will never, ever be considered as true professionals.

oapb
oapb

I think it's more important to help and support the company to get its goals like reducing scrap, or make it more productive than having a master degree; the master degree will help the employee to get those skills or ideas in how to help or support the company to get its goals,,, it does not matter if the master degree is online or not... Come on,,please change the mind,, this is the 21st century,,,imagene how the people in a little town in Mexico or India,, that does not have the "Brick and Mortar" universities too close,,, how that person will get the skills or habilities???, Please HR managers, help yours companies to get the sucess and hire people with ideas and skills instead of looking at their resume if they studied in a brick and mortar school... Oscar Paz

tbmay
tbmay

The honest truth is there's NOTHING you can do that is a guarantee. It's impossible to be all things to all people. After years in the workforce working with many entities and many clients as an independent I've observed these things: 1. They like me if they like me. 2. They don't if they don't. I would advise everyone, regardless of whether or not I.T. is their career, to be the best they can be at their career, but understand that no matter how good you are or how many credentials you acquire, someone is better. And even if you are the best in all of history, that doesn't mean you're going to get the job. Unless you're privy to the inside workings of a company by virtue of REALLY knowing people on the inside, you simply can't account for all the dynamics. If you have the opportunity to pursue credentials, by all means do it, but don't expect it to guarantee you anything. Whether it's advanced degrees or certifications or whatever, assess what you REALISTICALLY hope to gain by sinking the money and sweat equity into the exercise.

kc6ymp
kc6ymp

will as an senior engineer at a los angelesdsl provider, i had the chance to interview 100+ grad's from DeVry ? to cut the story short, out of the 400 interviews given for 40 tech support employee's,, none were given to devry grad's m ost of the employees hired had no formal education, five positions were given to city college and the rest was filled by a maxine waters telecomm training school in south los angeles ?

bitdoctor
bitdoctor

I did qualify my comments by saying even B&M has cheating - but, in general, with PEERS AND INSTRUCTORS WATCHING, IT'S *MUCH* MORE DIFFICULT than me sitting ANONYMOUSLY in my bathrobe, while my wife types in my assignments on my computer and submits them to my instructor - get the point?

hamild
hamild

I came into IT by way of Marine Electronics - quite by chance - with no degree or even experience of IT. (I guess the hiring manager had quie a broad view of the world or simply reckoned that the fact that I could tell one end of a transistor from the other and had some fairly logical thought processes was good enough...) Along the way I discovered I had a knack for software and now design and develop services and systems that are used across the globe by one of the biggest IT companies in the world. The funny thing is that I was told recently that if I had to apply for the job that I do today, I wouldn't even have got an interview because I "don't have a degree". How narrow minded is that?

rsmastersjr
rsmastersjr

I've got one of those online MBAs. The $38K I recently sent Sallie Mae was very real. Hiring managers absolutely view online education as inferior; a cursory search through an academic library will produce more than a few articles confirming this position. Experience, obviously, can never be dismissed. The worst aspect of online education is open enrollment. A candidate will constantly be slowed down by colleagues who have no business in graduate school--I would go so far as to say some should have never been allowed to matriculate from high school. These less-than-capable students cause curricula to be dumbed-down. Worse, a culture exists where quality work is viewed negatively--the student is "showing off". On a positive note, online education works when you are pressed for time--I turned in a few assignments I regarded as garbage but the teacher regarded as an A. Academics and administrators need numbers to pay the bills. Open enrollment accomplishes the need for paying customers--the policy is defended as just because many students are "just in it for the piece of paper". I about puked the first time I heard that one. Brick-and-mortar institutions at least have to maintain some semblance of academic integrity, either because they have to look look at each other on a daily basis or because there's always a parent or donor popping in unannounced. In finality, online education demonstrates the difficulty of trying to exist as an altruistic venture as well as a profit-making enterprise. It just doesn't work.

Pauly454
Pauly454

I'm currently doing an Open University IT degree with a Certificate in Web Design Application (the Open University is UK based online university). I'm doing it online instead of going to university as I work full time (in a different sector) and I'm working towards a career change and can't afford to leave work to study. How would this be perceived when applying for an IT job?

malcolm davis
malcolm davis

Startups love PhDs, and prefer PhD degree for CTO. The PhD title helps with getting funding. Understanding theory is very important for new and creative development.

jbyrnes
jbyrnes

I know that employers need to know if someone is qualified or not and that little piece of paper is suppose to tell you that. But to be honest it is always going to be a crapshoot. I would think that someone who has an online degree is someone worth hiring. I would look at it this way, Johnny is at UVA or any other traditional school and he is getting his BSIT, great for the past 4 years Johnny has spent his life in the world of academia with no real life experience except for maybe an intern at a family friends company where he sat in a server room and played at computers. Now let?s look at Tony who is someone who has been working in the IT field for the past 4 years and is pretty much learned on his own as he need it, basically self taught. Tony has now hit the point in his career that he no longer wants to be the clog on the wheel but the gear that runs the wheel. He can?t quit working so he starts taking classes at University of Phoenix or DeVry or any other fully accredited online school. When he finishes he comes out with four years real life experience and that little piece of paper that proclaims that he now knows everything he already knew. I myself would look at this candidate faster than I would look at little Johnny. Someone who is willing to work a full time job and get an education at the same time is someone worth looking at in my book any time. The stigma that an online degree is less than a traditional school is outdated and I hope will change as the traditional schools see the benefits of turning off the heat and the lights in the old brick and mortar class rooms.

Raingirl
Raingirl

This hit the new during the week. Interesting read and might bring some additional insight into the topic today. "Columbia University School of General Studies Valedictorian Brian Corman evidently cut himself some slack in writing one of his last assignments -- The Columbia Spectator reports that Corman plagiarized a section of his graduation address from comedian Patton Oswalt's "Physics for Poets" bit." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/25/brian-corman-columbia-val_n_589339.html

Raingirl
Raingirl

While its true degrees from brick and mortar schools are perceived as an advantage, the reality is a degree does not indicate intelligence, perspective or an ability to successful complete projects or goals. It just means you started something and finished it...and yes, many do so below average. I've worked with PhD's whom I wouldn't let touch a child's savings account, and 8th grade drop-outs whos talents and skills surpassed mine. To stereotype individuals is a bad business practice and can lead to a lot of the same characteristics being in one department; to its ultimate failure. Before pursuing an advanced degree I spoke with myriad number of degree holders from Universities all over the city and one correlation was evident. Those who went through local MBA programs had just as many problems and issues with their fellow team members as the online Universities. Late assignments; incomplete, plagiarism, horrible grammar, spelling, excuses and a lack of cognitive thinking. All realities in the work environment. True too the degree itself did not open more doors for them than online universities. The greatest complaint they had were the teachers, who expected them to learn their (teachers) theories and then regurgitate that in their work. Mainly because the teachers did not have any real world business experience or had not worked in that environment for years. I think the question, which is better for a career, should be asked; which one prepares you for the job market 10 years from now? Not just tomorrow. The shift to online universities bringing together teams of people from around the globe is following in the new business culture. (Not all mind you, but yes, UOP is one of them). The crazy push and pace of the class teaches you, not just to learn the knowledge but to go out and find the new knowledge. New knowledge because 10 years ago, no one could have predicted the shift in our business environments and how we have to learn to adapt, to change, to relearn and relearn and relearn. The main thing I personally walked away with from UOP, for the betterment of the company, is the ability to pull in team members I have zero authority over; to find a way to motivate them to completion in a short period of time (which is our current business environment, BTW) and to do so holding the standard of the work and reports. With pressure coming from all angles sometimes, the ability to ask the right questions, hunt for the knowledge, sift, compile and present to supervisors; all in 3 days, is going to add the advantage to many business decisions. Its also a case of time. Traditional schools, despite the introduction of of online classes, are a long-term commitment many cannot maintain. The cost, stress on personal life and the balance of work have cost 5 acquaintances to drop out before they were half way through their programs. While these are personal experiences, I'm not saying it is a pattern or a trend, all I am saying, is in my current environment I have learned to shift 180 degrees without encountering the stress of change. Stress and emotional barriers, which plagues many of my co-workers and to help them adapt to those changes. And yes, I will concede reading Niche and understanding how the arts are an influence makes for a better rounded character. The things is, 10 years from now, how many people either remember or follow up with such art and culture in their lives? The question too should be 'What will I get out of the university to prepare me for the workforce'? Focusing on how an HR person will hire you is not focusing on the position nor your ability to perform the job. It will only get past the gate...and that is no indication of job retention nor advancement. After all, the show 'Are you smarter than a 5th grader?' wouldn't be popular if we, as adults, retained all the knowledge we've encountered. just my 2c. Note* while its true HR is the first line on a companies hiring practices, how much knowledge of the area does an HR person really have to gauge expertise? Especially in the IT field?

Sensor Guy
Sensor Guy

For me, it always depends on the job requirements and the environment the potential applicants will work under. For me, a degree is an achievement marker, just like military service and the myriad civilian technical accreditation. The current batch MBA graduates from the last 5 years have two negatives which must be vetted carefully. One is arrogance and lack of job staying power and the other is ethics. One key area is to fully understand the work environment and colleagues and customers the job holder will face. If the environment is results oriented and taking orders, then military experience and a comfort level in operating in a command environment is best, regardless of education. If it requires servicing clients who are liberal arts graduates and needs "out of the box" thinking and may have job growth potential to executive ranks, then a traditional college degree has more weight. In legacy IT, if you are working under a CFO, then the MBA will have a value. You hire your image and your values, usually. If you hire to the job and its future, then you are in the minority as a hiring manager. BTW, most USMC officers have liberal arts degrees and the most successful degree major among software types before the Gerstner era where consulting became the primary business was music and religion.

bitdoctor
bitdoctor

Former co-worker at BMI got his Bachelor's Degree at U of Phoenix - and bragged about how he had one of the it Guru consultants do all his homework for him. In my opinion (and I think others who might hire him would have the same opinion) this makes his degree a 'sham' and totally useless! In truth, U of Phoenix should revoke his degree; but there would likely have to be more proof - like an audio recording of him bragging about it. At lunches, he openly did that, among 2 or 3 fellow co-workers. To me, that is one BAD quality point about on-line degrees! It may be atypical, but you should consider that point. Brick & Mortar is "the real deal" and yes, even there, you can find ways to cheat or short-cut the sytem but, in general B&M degrees, IMO, are ALWAYS to be considered over on-line degrees. Having said that, it also depends upon the person. This particular person is one who always talks 'nicely' to you in your face, then stabs you in the back once you are out of ear-shot - and has been complained about, for that reason (and for violent outbursts) a number of times (to his managers and to HR) - yet, he still is there, as far as I know. Most folks say that others likely are afraid of him, and that if they fire him, he will come back and blow up the place - so that may be why, even with such unethical behavior, he keeps his job. For my money, I would attempt an on-line degree but, whenever possible, I actually like going to the B&M campuses and taking classes, live and in-person.

mmelvis
mmelvis

I went in for the interview, the person doing the interview was a Navy Seal. His first sentence was "When do you want to start?". My resume had my service information and my hair was real short. 20+ years later I get to run the an IT department. Degrees are a good thing and if the person took the time to get an online degree that counts for something. So I believe they can help.

ScottTaylorMCPD
ScottTaylorMCPD

Most folks today would agree that what makes a degree significant is what the individual has learned in the process of earning it. Obviously, it's more likely that a degree program will be helpful in that regard if it has been accredited by a non-biased third party, either industry-based (as in the USA) or government-based (as is the case in most other countries). As far as credibility goes, most folks also will make no distinction between the medium used to communicate the work for a given class between the instructor and the student. When Harvard and other top schools around the world are starting to offer distance learning options, you know that online schools have clearly arrived.

ScottTaylorMCPD
ScottTaylorMCPD

Other fields of engineering already have industry-standard credentials (such as a Professional Engineer (PE) certificate), but IT has been problematic, since, as a field, it is still very far from mature, even on the fundamentals of how to build a project or operate a system (although we are definitely light years ahead of where we were just a few decades ago). As the industry matures, IT will no doubt eventually embrace some kind of vendor-neutral, universally accepted set of standards for the basic skills expected for various roles within the industry. It's possible that the work that IASA is doing could form the nucleus of such future efforts. At any rate, the one fact that most experienced IT people can seem to agree on is that the particular degrees or credentials one holds are not the best predictors of how one will actually perform in the context of a particular team or project. I myself have interviewed individuals with advanced degrees in computer science, who lectured at local universities, as well as having every certification in the book, who were completely unable to answer even basic questions about the tools of the job. Most of the time, making preliminary evaluations on anything below the name line on the resume is pretty much in the same ballpark as flipping a coin.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

But those corporates who want to take advantage of workers on H1b's and outsourcing WANT to keep the confusion high, as well as the outrageous "requirements" for maximizing their bonus checks (and keep fickle investors from bailing if they fail to meet expected profits even by a fraction of a point.) I doubt we'll see any real hard standards anytime soon, especially when all the MBAs see IT, IS, MIS, etc as only an expense.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

Someone who wants to invest in an individual (to make them money, for the sake of having lots of it) will send their student to the States to learn, and then come home to work. OR the individual saves their money, gets a student visa on their own, learns, and gets a job at home, or is raked into a H1b visa program and abused.

shearsl
shearsl

I don't know how most online programs work, but I teach online and my students do everything online except their exams. They take those at an Assessment Center or an approved proctor. They show id before they test and they are watched during their exams.

Tony_Scarpelli
Tony_Scarpelli

I don't really care about the education of the applicants only that they did take enough training within the IT field to show me that they are interested in working in this industry and that they chose it as a Career. Most of what I want them to know they will get working with us for 30 days. The best new hires I have found have mini-networks in their home. All indications that they live breath and eat technology and love it. Communications skills are much more important to me than which school and how much school you have.

ppomeroy
ppomeroy

If I had not already taken college coursework I would have had to take placement exams, even for an online university. Some may offer open enrollment, but not all. And just like a brick and mortar college, if your credits are older that a certain amount of years you have to take it again. I should know. Some online schools operate much like b&m schools, believe it or not.

Raingirl
Raingirl

I don't agree with your assessment; mainly because its taken a limited personal experience and applying it to everything. I do agree online universities are perceived as lower, and there are scam universities out there. I also think traditional state universities (which where considered diploma bills 20 years ago, with the same arguments given here)just take a longer time to generate people through the system. I turned in horrible papers, which make me ashamed now, in my BA program; I too received A's. Kids figured out pretty quickly which teachers would give A's and B's for just showing up to class. How is that a better system? Its not. Its just hidden more because the perception of money is hidden behind a mystical 'academia'. Sororities and Fraternities have whole filing systems set up for exams of classes to help each other cheat. I know, I tutored them to make extra money. The thing is all about perception, and carrying the historical notion of tradition. And unless you're going into a field where talent; such as a musical instrument or scientific research, then the thought that universities are held to a higher standard because there's a test to get in, is a joke. CheatHouse was not built for online universities. How much academician honor is in allowing a Valedictorian to plagiarize and not pull degree or the title? They are ALL are about money, and wealth and power. Give it a go and see what you think. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/25/brian-corman-columbia-val_n_589339.html

tfbiii
tfbiii

I actually heard about stuff like this a few years ago about UoP and that is why I passed on them. All of my exams via WGU have been proctored by live people.

Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier

I busted my ass to get my MAOM (Master of Arts in Organizational Management)with the University of Phoenix online. I went to a so called B&M college with students who downloaded their term papers off the internet and recieved "A's" for their effort. I did the online program because my work weeks are 50-60 hours already and it is a time management concern. Don't judge everyone who does online schooling by the cheater you know and don't assume everyone who graduates from a B&M school did it the right way. Consider the person first and the credentials second.

SheFixesThings
SheFixesThings

I know quite a few people who had their homework from a B&M done by others...I still do not understand how they passed, but they did and some went on to become doctors. Like it was said in previous posts, someone should not be "weeded out" due to what type of school they attended. A good hiring manager should focus on the work done and then that 10minute conversation should help to explain further. As in IT developer, I am also in favor of a quick 5 minute test. For the record, I went to both a B&M and did some on-line schooling and the on-lined proved to be more difficult because the instructor wanted us to find out the answers to our own questions where the same class at the B&M just gave us the answers, I think I learned more via the online class because it taught me HOW to learn.

ppomeroy
ppomeroy

I would like to know how he got away with that. I attend an online university. I do not see what he could have cheated on. We use the internet to research, have open book tests, and every single paper we turn in is sent through a plagiarism service. There really is no reason or need to cheat.

justJekke
justJekke

I've spent a fair amount of time on both sides of the IT hiring desk, primarily for Wall Street firms and found that degrees are funny things. Degree requirements tend to come from one of two places: a genuine need by a line manager for someone who can do "computer sciency" things that are learned in a formal education or HR. When I was helping with hiring, the three things we looked for were experience, intelligence, and motivation. A degree implied intelligence while one gotten later in life (as most online degrees are) suggested motivation. A handful of alma maters made a candidate extra-desirable (not all of them Ivy League and not all Ivy Leagues.) Online vs. brick-and-mortar mattered not at all. Either way, a degree will get you a first-round interview. Outside of entry-level, I've never seen anyone hired because of their degree.

tbmay
tbmay

...as hard as it is for us to deal with some time, this is a free market industry. It certainly complicates my life as a consultant but at the same time, I get to participate in the free market too. Personally, I'd rather keep the government from getting involved, or increasing it's involvement, in standard setting in I.T. For that matter I'd like them less involved in other industries. I look at it like this. Companies get what they deserve in terms of the people they hire. If they don't want to use me, or listen to my counsel for whatever reason, it's their business and they should not. I'm both degreed and certified but most of my clients don't care about that. It's primarily helpful in getting past a few bureaucratic hurdles but at the end of the day, my knowledge and skills are what matters. Certs and degrees are out of control now and unless you're Bill Gates, you're very likely not going to be financially able to pursue them all in a manner that will cover all your bases. And even if you did, if a key person in the hiring process doesn't like you, they'll find another reason not to hire you. Put very simply, if you have paper credentials, that's great and certainly helps but it's no guarantee. If you don't, you're not without hope either.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I've not taken any of the modern online, for college credit courses. However, many years ago I completed various college level education classes in this subject or that via correspondence. Plus one complete course of study, took a whole year even with me hammering away at it as fast as I could, for the purposes of achieving a specific "Certificate". Progress tests were not monitored or proctored. Since they were simply meant as an aid for my instructor and myself to determine how I was doing periodically. But any test to determine a pass/fail grade had to be proctored. With the proctor having to be pre-approved and acceptable to the educational institution before they even sent the test. And it was sent to the designated proctor, not to me. This whole idea of external students and non-traditional learning is not new. The method of delivery might be relatively new. But not the concept or practice. And it was done not only by non-traditional "correspondence" schools, it was done at least to some extent by quite traditional, reputable, brick and mortar schools. I'm retired from the US Navy. Spent 23 years in that service. For myself and guys working for me it was kinda hard to get the opportunity to sit down in a real classroom at a brick and mortar school. Especially for those of us who spent most of our service time assigned to front line combat units. Some guys with ambitions to "some day" get a college degree or certification, simply decided to wait until they got out of the service. But others wanted some way to make a least some progress towards such a goal as getting a degree, now. Still others simply wished to learn more about a particular subject, for whatever reason they had. And we tried to encourage such and help them. Every major unit had an ESO (Educational Services Office), and most departments had at least one person who held a collateral duty of being a Career Counselor. I was one such. And used to maintain my own library of info, guides, and so forth. And did my own research into how I could help a guy or gal who came to me for advice achieve their goals. As part of that I found out that a LOT of traditional brick and mortar schools offered a huge number of courses via correspondence. Of course, they often did not stress that fact. I even met college student counselors who'd dismiss or downplay the fact. Just as they'd not mention, or mention only briefly and in passing, the subject of challenge testing. But I took that with a grain of salt. Most of them had spent most if not all of their lives in this or that educational institution. It was their world. And in their minds they probably thought of attending real classes, in a real B&R institution, as the only way to get a "proper" education. Besides, job wise, counselors are in the business of planting asses in seats in the school at which they work. The more asses they plant, the better job evaluation they get, and the more money the school gets. Pretty simple, and quite reasonable from their point of view. Now, most of the major, well known, reputable colleges at the time frame I'm speaking about, had a little provision thrown in as concerns external, non-traditional students. And that was that typically they only allowed a maximum of perhaps 70% of the credits to be applied towards any particular degree to be "non-traditional". For the rest they wanted you physically there, enrolled, ass in one of their seats. And paying the fees they demanded. Anyway, besides my own endeavors, I often had guys who worked for me taking correspondence courses. Some from regular brick and mortar schools. Others taking courses from non-traditional, but reputable correspondence learning schools. Proctored and monitored exams were the rule rather than the exception. Reading this thread, I'd pretty much assumed that any, or at least most, of the more reputable online schools/classes would be the same. Chuckle, I teach part time. After hours and weekend classes for working folk. They're harried and tired. And often tempted to take ... oh, shall we call it "shortcuts"? LOL ... I overlook a lot. Unless the fool is just too blatant about it. Like one guy who didn't just plagiarize another classmates work in order to complete an assignment. He friggin COPIED it, literally. Ran it through a copier, using a blank piece of white paper to "white out" the original guy's name, and then writing in his own on the copy. Egad, what an idiot. But I always tell my students, cheat all you want, I'm not your parent or your baby sitter. But if you do not KNOW the material, I guarantee you that you will not pass my final exams ... period.

bitdoctor
bitdoctor

I think many are moving that way - exams given only in front of a proctor. Some are truly long distance / remote, and they still offer even exams "on-line," with the "honor system" as their guide, but it's best to have the exam portion in-person and monitored closely.

rsmastersjr
rsmastersjr

First off, I thank you for your reply and appreciate your points--and that's not said lightly. The link your provided was interesting and validates much of what you said about brick-and-mortar schooling. The young man reeks of arrogance and is surely an embarrassment to the legitimate students and faculty of Columbia. I'm retired from a successful career and graduated from a brick-and-mortar institution many years ago. I'd have no opinion of the buzz value of an online degree in relation to getting a job. My perceptions about online learning come from experiences at two different institutions. I graduated from the first and did two semesters at the second--both were highly regarded institutions. I stand by my opinion of open enrollment. Less gifted students drag on those who are prepared to study at that level. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

bitdoctor
bitdoctor

Yes, I have been to both B&M and some online courses (mainly for my B&M school), but clearly, if I have Google and 10 co-workers next to me, I can pass a test MUCH easier than just ME sitting in a B&M class by myself, trying to remember facts and so forth. And I did qualify by saying that, even in B&M, there is plenty of cheating. It's just much easier with the "anonymity" of on-line classes - and there, IMO, needs to be more accountability and verification of identity, in order to make those courses as viable and valuable as B&M classes. Example: If I look at my colleague's paper during a test, the other students can see me and so can the instructor, and BOOM! I'm caught. If I am taking a test on a computer, and my best friend is there, assisting me with the answers, NOBODY KNOWS IT! Face it - ONLINE schools are SO easy to cheat at! But, you are right - I found the Finance and other couple of on-line courses actually MORE challenging than the B&M equivalent - for one, as you pointed out, the instructor wanted "more" from us - in the way of more homework, more research, more frequent testing; etc. - and it made it more difficult to even 'consider' cheating, because you had to have all your 'ducks in a row' and know the material. How my former co-worker passed all the tests, who knows; but if it were me, I would have had someone "stand in" for me and take the whole course - which seemed to be what my co-worker was hinting at. BUT - I would never do any of that, because I like and respect the purpose and need for education, ethical behavior and accountability.

digidash
digidash

On-line means just that: ONLINE - meaning, "nobody knows you're a DOG on the Internet." So, if it is your "tech-savvy" buddy typing your term papers, then whose to be the wiser? How difficult is it to see that ANYBODY CAN EASILY CHEAT WHEN USING ON-LINE SCHOOLS! Unless EVERY student is required to have a CAMERA ON-LINE AND POINTED AT THEIR FACE (and even that can EASILY be re-directed). You are on a computer, typing in and submitting your assignments - BUT, the funny thing is: it's not [YOU!] - it's your tech-savvy buddy with his masters in IT, who is an expert programmer - and he is doing all your work. [AND, to qualify, I did say that my co-worker told us his buddy did all the class programming/homework assignments - not sure about the tests themselves but, as unscrupulous as my former co-worker is, I could see him letting his buddy "sit in" for the test, probably paying his buddy a small fee or some Marijuana in return. For all I know, the buddy is the one who "passed" the entire class; and the unscrupulous co-worker did virtually no work] How could you NOT see how simple it would be to cheat in an on-line school situation?

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

In the end, whether it is online of on a campus, we just cheat ourselves out of useful knowledge and experience. We deprive our brain of exercise when we cheat. I had online tests but if the material wasn't known before hand it was very hard to get a good grade on them. I felt like I wanted to learn so I read the material and tried to grow from my experience at DeVry - to each his own I guess.

ppomeroy
ppomeroy

Everybody seems to think online exams are easy. Sure you can use a search engine. Sure you can have your "buddy" do it for you. But at Kaplan, throughout the course we have to do "mini" exams (papers) to prove our knowledge of the coursework. One that I recently had to do, and most are the same, asked me to write 1 page minimum about what I had learned so far in the course, in detail, and how I planned to use that knowledge in with my future goals in mind. They want to know you have the gist of it so they do this. It is NOT something you can fake your way through. Not to mention we have mandatory discussion board posts that deal with scenarios. Such as, if a customer came in and said that 'a' happened and you needed to offer solutions or fix it what would you do. We would also have to explain our reasons for doing it that way. It is not as easy as everybody on here seems to think! I too attended a B & M college at one time and looked down on online schooling, until I actually tried it. Many people choose to do online schooling because they have children to care for or have to work. Going to school online means being able to take care of responsibilities AND get an education! Hiring managers SHOULD take this into account, otherwise they are being prejudiced and biased. Last time I checked this was against the law! Hiring managers may want to remember that before letting their prejudices lead the way.

Mark A. Lewis
Mark A. Lewis

Wow. That was way too harsh. Name calling hurts your point.

edh1215
edh1215

That is about 2% of the grade for online courses. Most likely because perhaps someone else can do it for you. So, your "point" goes nowhere. BTW, are you sure the job title you have chosen for you profile is correct? I highly doubt you are an CIO - You do not speak or act like one and if you are... wow... would not want to work with your company. LOL, what a joke.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

Given: It has happened in reality in an on-line environment. Given: Not a complete semester substitution (Very hard to near impossible to pull it off that way in a B&M IF it was physical presence. Unwise move if he let the other guy into his school account.) Given: Programmer who was asked, and obliged, did the homework. "so this programming homework was second-hand, and involved things he was doing every day!" Hmmm... academic exercises and job tasks... Not the same level of requirements, or so I've found. Spit it out faster than the one who "bought" the code would have been able to, definitely. Very little effort, time wise? perhaps, perhaps not. (And not really the issue.) "I was making a point moron - don't cut someone down for stating facts about something that already happened." Cutting someone down, calling them names, (and other "bad nettiquet" offenses): ANY and/or all of the above will undermine ANYBODY'S position, EVEN IF they are correct. Your point is taken, and expanded. That employee could have used the same guy, and method to cheat, inside a B&M. After all, the assignments are "homework." Get nailed on a test for not knowing it, or cheating? Depends on the testing environment, in any classroom. Just trying to show that such an event isn't exclusive to the on-line classroom. Personally, I think your bragger should be given a cardboard box, supervised while he packs it, and then shown the door. No telling what IP might get brought in from the outside and become a liability because it was "given" to him because he needed it, and couldn't produce it on his own.

digidash
digidash

Obviously, you have no clue. This ALREADY HAPPENED - not worth arguing about. The friend didn't take the whole semester, but to answer the most ridiculous part of your question: The friend did the homework - not sure if it was for money - but he did it with VERY LITTLE EFFORT. How stupid do you have to be to see the point that this guy WRITES PROGRAMS EVERY DAY - and so this programming homework was second-hand, and involved things he was doing every day! I was making a point moron - don't cut someone down for stating facts about something that already happened. And yes, there have been BOTH B&M & ON-LINE courses where people have "sat in" for others for money - unemployed - yes, in some cases, or rich and bored maybe - again, it's a point - not an argument.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

In fact, I almost argued the point of why not get your buddy to attend the brick-and-mortar classroom for you. As long as anyone in the classroom/program didn't know you from "Adam" it *could* be done... BUT... it has the same problem you addressed about the on-line substitution. Time: IF this tech savvy buddy was that good, why would they sacrifice their own work and get paid time to pose as you. Unemployed? Could be that they aren't as good as you think, don't play well with others, decided they didn't really want to do the work, and/or are hard-up for something to do. (Or, just maybe he's too busy killing braincells on the pot just provided to him to be of any good to anyone else but his supplier.)

edh1215
edh1215

I think so. You're assuming that you have a friend that is willing to sit for HOURS upon HOURS taking your classes for you. What the hell are you talking about? I've attended both B&M and online schools. The work load is just as heavy for an online degree. You are working just as hard and maybe even harder because you don't have a classroom to sit in with an instructor in front of you. No matter what you've heard on your TV, "get your degree in your spare time", blah blah... there is no spare time and they make it sound easy. Online school requires at least 4 hours of dedicated work per class each day (7 days a week). And if you're already in the work force, those 4 hours come after you 8 - 12 hour work day. Think before you speak or at least get some real experience with what you're bashing.

ppomeroy
ppomeroy

With an online exam you may be able to cheat, BUT you are right. It is a times test. If you do not have a clue what the material is about you will not do well. Even open book can be difficult, trying to track down where you had seen that little tidbit of information.