A Perspective on Online Degree Vs. Face-to-Face in the Academic Field
Lifelong learning is being promoted actively by outreach and initiatives like distance education through world campuses or online course has been used as an effective tool worldwide. The recent efforts of outreach is online and distance learning programs which are gaining increasing importance among working professionals as well as students who want to do multiple courses or work simultaneously.
It is clear that online degree occupies a very important area of education because of the acceleration in communication technology and high demand on such degree by full time employee. However, on-campus degrees are still preferable by the employers for many reasons such as the residency in the school, interaction among students, interactions between students and instructors, in addition
Employers have raised their concerns and objections for online degree.
If that can be done, it may raise the perceived quality of online degree earned by applicants to that of their traditional counterparts.
Therefore, this study was designed to provide insight to “what counts” and to understand which instructional features affect the acceptability of online degrees in order to guide the future development of distance learning systems
But many employers don’t even count online degrees as a part of educational experience. These internal and external conflicts cause many people to think twice before pursuing an online degree. It’s suitable for some as it meets their needs; it’s attractive because of its flexibility component and the balancing idea between family, work, and education , yet many people fear to take it up because of employers not seeing an added value to it.
2. Research Question
Which factors are most important to the acceptability of online degrees in the eyes of hiring decision-makers in the field of academe?
What can be done by the hiring decision makers in the Academe to improve online degrees?
3. Literature Review
online teaching modes. Many reputed school own world campus which caters to the needs of thousands of students across the globe. Some estimations show that online education has expanded at a rate that is more than 10 times the growth of the general postsecondary market (Allen & Seaman, 2005). Thus, there are millions of students who complete online college courses these days.
For example, many colleges and universities have reported that residential students seeking to increase their course load account for a substantial portion of those enrolled in their online sections (Carnevale & Olsen, 2003). The demand for online course has infused competition for new enrollments and thus has led the virtual institutions to expand both the number of degree programs and the number of graduate degrees that they award.
For example, doctoral programs delivered online can be managed by students whose life circumstances prevent them from attending on-campus classes in the traditional way.
However the question arises that when these online doctoral students try finding jobs are their degrees given equal importance as compared to a full time doctoral students of any university . Current Scenario of Doctoral Programs in USA-There has been a steady increase in the doctoral programs in the United States over the years and with lifelong learning becoming the
As these trends continue, the U.S.
To fill this growing need, many institutions are moving to mirror residential coursework with online versions, or to create new degree programs that are offered entirely online. (Carnevale, 2005). In summary, the number of graduate programs that are offered completely online is growing to meet the growing number of students and increasing need for new faculty.
Online Degrees and their Acceptability-
There is no question that online degree programs are a substantial part of today’s higher educational system. Online distance education courses offer a convenient way for millions of degree-seeking students who are otherwise unable to attend classes in a residential setting to continue their studies.
While controversial, research appears to have demonstrated that a degree earned online is in many ways similar to one earned in traditional settings. For example, online course often have higher dropout rates (Carr, 2000; Jensen, 200 1), but successful students tend to indicate that they are “equally or more satisfied” with their courses when compared to those in “traditional” instructional settings (MacFarland, 1999; Sikora, 2003).
A new area of research (which research?, Needs citation), however, has raised the question concerning the acceptability of degrees that have been earned solely or partly online. The purpose of this new area of research has been to investigate whether distance learning and traditional degrees are equal in the eyes of “gatekeepers” in different situations – those who review the credentials of applicants for various kinds of openings.
These studies are not concerned with why students chose to enroll; neither are they concerned with comparing educational outcomes nor with evaluating the educational merits of distance learning . The question that these studies are concerned with has been whether gatekeepers see online degrees as having the same value for their purposes as a degree earned in a traditional residential program.
The results suggest that those who hold online degrees, or whose records include a significant amount of online course work in their curriculum of studies, are not judged as having qualifications that are equal to those of graduates who earn their degrees in a residential program.
the health professions (Adams, DeFleur, & Heald, 2007)4. In each of these studies, gatekeeper- respondents were asked to choose between candidates whose qualifications differed only in terms of whether they earned their credits online or in a traditional residential program.
A more recent national survey of health hiring practices shows a remarkable consistency with the previous studies, with both quantitative and qualitative analyses yielding similar results. Only 6% of health profession employers indicated a willingness to hire an applicant with an online degree and only fifteen percent would accept an applicant with half of his.
Some respondents pointed out that online course are more acceptable for training , certificates , and undergraduate classes, but not for graduate classes. Many comments indicated that interaction with professors and peers as being an essential part of an education and that these skills can only be gained by attending classes in a traditional setting.
This study continues a line of research regarding the acceptability of degrees earned wholly (or partially) online by evaluating the importance of those factors that negatively affect the perceived value of online degree.
A great deal of research has been conducted to compare online and traditional course work but little attention has been devoted to what happens to graduates of online programs when seeking to make use of their credentials. These findings have implications for students enrolled in online distance education degree programs, instructional developers and university administrators who manage continuing education programs.
In summary, then, more research is needed in the area of distance learning and acceptability from the perspective of a potential employer.
Experimentation with innovative technologies appears to be constrained by the institutionalization of content *management* systems and relying on faculty to work with complex digital media tools to develop innovative models for the delivery of instruction.
1. Additional comparison studies to evaluate whether hybrid or blended learning satisfies the perception that classroom experiences, working with professors, and interaction are “missing.” Some research appears to show that.
2. The overwhelming majority of online, distance learning courses is structured around content management systems that employ text as the basis for all communication (Adams, 2006). The notion that some media is more effective than others or that they may enhance some learning activities is important to the acceptability debate.
While these technologies advance quickly, new models of online learning have been slower to appear.
3. Finally, perhaps computer guided instruction may offer new approaches to online distance education .
This line of thinking has been advanced by Cobb (1997), who suggested that a computer is part of the learning process – not simply a means for delivering content (Mietimeli. Nokelaincn, Kurhila, Silander, & Tirri, 2005). For example, computer can be programmed to assist learners by responding to their actions, perhaps by automatically selecting or sequencing content.
When coupled with databases, programmed lessons can adapt and alter lessons by drawing on a network of resources. In this type of instructional system, each lesson is different – shaped by student test scores, their pacing, or by level of difficulty. The result is a knowledge-based tutor that adapts to, and interacts with students.
The study thus reveals that even though online degrees are increasing importance yet they have the following objections attached when finding the right job:- (a) Face-to-face classroom experience,
(b) Reputation of institution for rigor, and
(c) Mentored learning experiences These are the stumbling blocks for online degrees to be perceived as being as acceptable as traditional degrees.
6. Limitations of the Study
Both qualitative and quantitative data is required to back up specific studies in this field of research.
7. Implications and Future Researches
For the purpose of distance online education , in general, and master and doctoral degree in specific to be acceptable by employers in academic and business and industry fields, distance education should provide activities, games and simulations. Moreover, by activating and facilitating the advanced technology in virtual learning, the issue of interaction and communication between the instructor and the learners will be partially overcome.
Areas of research could be to find out whether acceptability issue is only with few disciplines or is consistent for all fields.
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