With more than 7 million students taking one or more online college courses in 2013, the growth of online education remains robust, showing few signs of slackening within the foreseeable future.
Babson Survey Research Group’s most recent report on the state of online education found that nearly 75 percent of academic leaders view the learning outcomes for online education as the same or better than face-to-face instruction.
Will I Pass Muster?
While this speaks well of the increasing quality of online education, it doesn’t address the question that most concerns students pursuing online degrees. Simply put, they want to know how well their online diploma will stack up against a traditional degree when they start competing for work in the job market.
In a March 2014 article on USNews.com, education reporter Devon Haynie noted that prospective employers’ views of online degrees have undergone a dramatic change for the better over the last few years.
Haynie cited a 2009 literature review by Cleveland State University, which concluded that most human resource managers, executives, and other gatekeepers viewed online diplomas in a negative light.
These negative perceptions were attributed in part to the large number of “diploma mills” that operated online during the late 1990s and early 2000s. These so-called online schools happily supplied a degree to anyone with the money to pay for it.
Opinions Turn Positive
Today, however, prospective employers very rarely question the quality of an online degree, according to Susan Fontana, a regional vice president of Manpower, an international recruiting company.
In fact, Fontana told Haynie, sometimes having an online degree can work in a job candidate’s favor, because certain employers attach a high value to the grit and determination it takes to earn a degree while juggling multiple commitments.
Other Factors Considered
There seems to be little question that most employers look more favorably at online degrees than was the case only a few years ago. At the same time, it’s clear that hiring managers will still scrutinize the reputation of the degree-granting institution and the curriculum behind the degree in evaluating the job candidate.
In the piece What Do Employers Think of an Online Degree?” author Carole Oldroyd points out that the size of the hiring company may also play a role in whether an applicant with an online degree gets the job.
Oldroyd cites recent statistics showing that the vast majority of smaller companies express no preference for traditional over online degrees. Larger companies — those with 500 or more employees — are more evenly split in their sentiments about the relative value of traditional and online degrees.
Growth of e-Learning
Helping to reshape the public’s perception of online education or e-learning is its growth at virtually all educational levels. Technological advances, such as webcams that are now standard on virtually all PCs and tablets, facilitate face-to-face contact between teacher and student for counseling or special instructional sessions.
More students in elementary and secondary education are learning online — both in and out of the classroom. The growing pervasiveness of online education among pre-college students is helping to pave the way for broader acceptance of such programs as a whole.
Key Points to Consider
Because not all online college degree programs are created equal, students who are considering pursuing an online degree should keep sight of these criteria, which CollegeNetwork.com says will probably be closely checked by prospective employers:
- Ensure that the online degree program you enroll in is operated by a college or university that is regionally accredited.
- Online programs offered by brick-and-mortar institutions generally are viewed more favorably than those that operate exclusively online. Even though you may never take any in-person classes, getting a degree from a college or university that has a physical campus tends to lend added credibility to their online diplomas.
- Getting an online degree from a widely recognized institution also generally carries more weight with hiring managers than a similar degree from a college or university that has no name recognition.
About the Author: Don Amerman is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of business and personal finance topics.
The Long Island Railroad is set to strike on July 20th and, if it happens, commuting will be a nightmare.
When faced with something such as a looming transportation strike, companies that do not offer telecommuting options are now faced with the fact that they will have to, and soon! Are you prepared for a transportation crisis? What is your plan for your employees if you were faced with such a situation? Not sure. Here are some tips to consider.
Every moment counts; we all know that. And when you are talking about your small business, quick service means better customer service, higher productivity rate and more success.
When you look at Small Business High Speed Internet, there are a number of advantages to going this route. Among them:
Customer Experience – When you can respond to your customer’s needs in a quick manner, it increases your relationship. They know they can count on you and that you are responsive. When clients are on a website with a high speed connection, they can maneuver through your applications faster and not encounter the frustration that comes with a slow connection. They will be more apt to stick with you instead of passing up a good thing due to a poorly responsive website or lack of timely communication.
Employee Efficiency – If you and your employees can be more efficient, productivity will increase. The faster they can access information and communicate via email or other means, the faster tasks and projects can be completed. You may be sharing big data between employees and these items need to move quickly to complete projects. If you’re sending vast amounts via slow speed Internet, the time it takes to get there can hold things up, and sometimes may never arrive.
Business Operations – You have work to do with vendors, distributors, and partners. The faster you can communicate and work with them, from sharing documents to chatting and video conferencing to sending quotes and plans, the more your efficiency will flourish. Just as your clients don’t want to wait around to hear from you, neither do the other people you work with.
Transference of Data, Files, Transactions and Other Important Information – Whether you are in retail, creative business, IT or any other small business, it’s important to send and share data and material in a rapid fashion. It only becomes frustrating to wait for files and data to arrive, no matter if it’s as small as a signature request or as big as a multi-million dollar piece of a project. You need reliable, fast connections to be able to count on your information getting where it needs to go, both to and from you.
Without a high speed Internet connection, you can create problems for yourself even if you think you are saving a little money.
You can lose clients; frustrate partners, waste time with employees.
Once a problem arises, more time is spent trying to fix it. Even if it’s as small as waiting for a document to arrive, it wastes more and more time with the more people who are involved, like a never ending cycle. And this can all be solved with a faster internet connection.
Check into your service providers and see what you come up with. You may surprise yourself with a lot more productivity and efficiency with not much more cost.
About the Author: Heather Legg is an Atlanta based writer with a focus on small business, social media, and mindful living.
We’ve all experienced the frustration of needing something desperately and being unable to find it. Somewhere in our homes or workplaces, one tiny item is hidden among thousands of irrelevant ones, just enough out of view to elude us for what seems like an eternity.
It’s bad enough when it’s your car keys. But what if it’s your dream job? Logging on with a massive career search site will provide you with results by the hundreds–and you can spend hours sorting through them only to be met with the disappointment of one or two suitable positions–on the other end of the country. A stricter set of search criteria gets you no results at all. You’re quickly realizing that the specialized science and medical jobs you’re seeking are not easy to find in the nebulous world of mega-sites.
Your potential bosses already know that. When it comes to the workforce, employers won’t cast their listings in with the thousands of entry-level offerings that suit almost any recent graduate looking for work. That means you have to work the system from your side in the same way that they work it from their side.
As you can see, this new paradigm affects both sides of the equation–employers and employees–and all industries, ranging from temp listings for general retail positions to workforce solutions for science industry specializations.
So, if you’re ready to delve into the brave new job market, follow these basic tips for finding specialized work:
Find Specialized Sites
It just makes sense. Employers working within a narrow spectrum of skill sets, experience, and educational backgrounds will gravitate toward sites that tightly meet those strict requirements. They’ll receive more applications that are relevant to the job and get far fewer extraneous responses. If you’ve ever worked in hiring yourself, you know how frustrating it is to get overrun with applications from the utterly unqualified, so sites like these are where job providers go when they want a very specific applicant.
Visit Career Fairs
And while we’re talking about where they go, a variety of career fairs host employers who feel it’s worth their while to go out and solicit applicants face-to-face. The very fact that they are seeking that opportunity proves how far we are from entry-level in this conversation, and it gives you an amazing chance to go straight to the top of the firm with your resume and your elevator speech in an unstructured, casual environment. During those chats with representatives, you can find out more about the work each organization offers, learn their locations, and get a feel for what kind of people work there.
Network, Network, Network
That carries right into the next point. Whether it’s in person or via social networks, making connections is critical to accessing the best job openings for you. But keep in mind that the old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” isn’t quite accurate anymore; instead, it IS what you know, but it’s also who knows that you know it. Your experience, education, and skills mean nothing until someone in a position to help you is aware that you have them. You know the phrase, ‘If a tree crashes in a forest but there’s no one there to hear it…?’ That applies to job applicants too!
Networking is how this happens, because you aren’t just passively waiting for the dream job to pop up. Instead, you are positioning yourself in the minds of decision makers as a person who possesses certain skill, and you’ll cross their mind when the position develops. In a way, you are applying for the job before it even opens, or maybe even before it exists.
Author Rachel is a freelance writer and young professional who most enjoys writing about business best practices.