Where can I find out about whether
or not my online college and my degree will be worth anything?
Ask your employer first. If you are self-employed, ask yourself. If in doubt, ask The Academy.
Will my online degree be considered
less than if I acquired the degree through classroom attendance at a college?
No. Nothing on your degree should have “Online” on it or attached to it, including your transcript. However, check
with the institution you wish to attend to make sure your degree is indistinguishable from that of someone who attends class
on campus. If the school scores your degree as “Online” no matter how well known or respected an institution is,
there are those who will consider it less than credible. Why? We still have too many traditionalists that are in denial and
have no idea what it takes to acquire an online degree.
The Law School I want to
attend is online and offers the opportunity to take the Bar exam. It is not accredited by the ABA. Will I be able to practice
law if I pass the state bar exam?
Yes, you will but you will be
limited in practice to that state that will recognize your degree. Law students usually want to practice in a specific jurisdiction.
It is that jurisdiction that determines if you can use a law degree from a non-accredited law school.
I am attending a med school offshore from the USA and the school is non-accredited by a regional accrediting
agency approved by the US Department of Education. Will I be able to practice in the USA?
You can practice medicine in the USA if you pass the MCAT exam and hop over a few low hurdles from the state and hospital
you wish to affiliate. There are several offshore medical schools that are excellent. St. George’s in Granada comes
to mind, as does Ross University in Dominica. They don’t need to buy into the US “accreditation” mystique because
they are each accredited by the nations in which they are domiciled. They are licensed in their host countries. Some of the
best doctors in the land acquired their degrees from non-US accredited schools. These schools attract students from all over
the world providing a student with a network of potential collegues around the world.
School I am interested in attending is listed on the State of Oregon’s "do not come here" list but I am not
a resident of Oregon. Can I attend even if Oregon doesn’t say it’s a Diploma Mill but has it on its unapproved
list? What should I do?
Fortunately for you, Oregon’s opinion is
only their opinion. Oregon's regulators have overspilled their space and have attempted to muscle other states to fall
in behind them. However, outside of Oregon’s borders, their will has no force or effect other than to besmirch
the reputation of credible schools, many of whom have sued and prevailed against the state's regulators. However, you
want to make sure your school is, at the minimum licensed in whatever jurisdiction it is operating including Oregon’s
if that is where you live. Then, you want to assure that the faculty measures up to your expectations and have the credentials
to teach the subject.
Does “accreditation” guarantee the degree I receive?
No. What you acquire is a degree from an institution that has met the minimal
requirements of the private agency assessing it and/or licensing it, nothing more. The BEST WORST ONLINE DEGREE PROVIDERS,
the annual rating and ranking of online providers of college level curriculum has identified at least 80 'accredited'
institutions that are marginal at best.
What organizations promote negative
and prejudiced information about non-accredited institutions? Can these institutions and their reps be trusted to give a fair
and impartial evaluation?
The bulk of negative commentary about online
institutions comes from so-called online forums that purport to provide information about colleges. The controversial and
misleading opinions about accredited and non US accredited institutions often picked up by Blogs don't do their
due diligence to fairly represent or justify their "shot from the hip" opinions. But, this is understandable in
forums which are little more than gossip columns. However when it comes to state officials and university professors who claim
to know something espousing negative rhetoric without substance it brings into question the credibility of the organizations
they represent. Three of the most prominent of the sponsors of the false phrophets include the University of Illinois,
Urbana, the State of Oregon Office of Degree Authorization and Inside Higher Education, an erstwhile blog that caters
to its sponsors and advertisers whose saving grace is its listing of jobs for faculty. Others exist including a
couple of dozen blogs that possess no experts to speak of but feed off of pundits notorious for feeding off of institutions
and individuals who represent both different and legitimate approaches to higher education. The traditional bias
among them is insisting on 100% American accreditation through US Department of Education approved private agencies.
Considering there are only 2500 American schools versus over 14,000 institutions of higher learning outside of the USA, this
prejudice is a bit hard to swallow. At that, there is even some considerable bias as to those they consider are the best
of the "accrediteds". The best way to approach these so-called pros is analyze their conclusions if it affects
you and go on to determine the trustworthiness of the reporting.
Is online higher
education as good as on ground education?
According to students
who have experienced both, the overwhelming majority, almost 70% consider online education best. Add on the 20% who think
they are equal and you have an overwhelming 90% who consider online education as good as or better than traditional. Those
who do not agree are those who have never experienced it and that is the group the detractors to the idea of online education
having any merit gravitate towards. It is however, inevitable that unless colleges and universities take on online education
with the same enthusiasm as their traditional campuses they will, in a generation, disappear according to the late Peter Drucker,
known as the father of modern management.
is the best Course Management System (CMS)?
This is also referred to as Learner Management System (LMS). There are multiple choices for colleges to pick from and several
are open source - in other words free. Many of thebest are inhouse private systems and not even located in the USA or
used by American schools. The best CMS platforms in the world however finds among them a free system. Many professors,
in fact the overwhelming majority who have experienced several systems prefer one over all others as do the students who have
had the same experience. The best of these is an open source program provider that can be customized to fit comfortably
into any institution with the financial resources and ability to make it their own. It is called MOODLE and was designed by
one of the founders and creators of WEBct, the CMS bought out by Blackboard who considered WEBct their biggest competitor
in the 'pay for it' field. Claiming to be the largest provider of CMS in the USA, they claimed to have invented
the process. That contention was dismissed by the courts. The Best of the Best is an Open Source provider known as MOODLE.
It is the largest private provider in the world, has at least 150,000 adherents including colleges and universities all over
the world. It is at least two years ahead of Blackboard in internal developments primarily becausedevelopers provide the information
free to MOODLE who in turn Beta tests it with subscribers and eventually it works its way into the mainstream. The reason
Blackboard has moved its way into so many schools n American including some of the largest secondary schools virtual worlds
is because those making the decisions don't know any better, have little or no idea how CMS works or what it can do and
accept the sales pitch that this or that school is a user. The name game is the keeper sales point. These supposedly
made intellegent decisions cost a school a minimum $150,000 to start, plus a fee for every student signed into the system
whether they use it or not, a dollar amount that can be staggering if a school has several thousand students. The age old
question is why would you pay for something you can get for free and in addition get a product that can not be surpassed by
any private system? Makes no sense does it? Welcome to technology in the world of higher education.
Can an on-ground professor teach online classes?
Yes and no. Many traditional professors are reluctant to teach online
because they believe it is inferior to the lecture hall. Students as previously noted have a different fix. Those professors
that embrace online education find that students do as well, if not better, in the environment. Studies have shown online
classes provide more one on one with the students and overcome barriers often experienced in the classroom. A good online
instructor produces motivated and dedicated students. It is the same formula that works in the classroom.
Why does it cost as much or more to attend an online version
of an on ground class?
One would think logically
that since you do not take up space in a building on a campus that an online education from a 'trendy' university
would cost less. Unfortunately some schools, not all, treat the delivery of their courses online as a 'cash cow'. They
realize that the value is in the education and take advantage of the fact the online student may never show up on campus,
never need to use the facilities, and therefore provide a cost savings and windfall in tuition under the banner of the name
and reputation of the provider school. Economically it is a rip-off of the students. In actuality, students should pay less
but if an online division of a school did that, the classroom bound student would desert the facilities and the on-ground
experience in a heartbeat, so the argument goes, then what?
Are college professors certified like public school classroom teachers?
No. Their degree is their certification according to them. It is
ironic that college professors teach future teachers who must become certified to teach in a K-12 classroom.
Are online professors tenured?
Rarely. For the most part if they are, it is because they are already
tenured in their on-ground position. Virtually all other full time online professors are not. Most are part time working for
several online universities at the same time and referred to as Adjunct Professors.
Are online professors as good as on-ground professors?
Depends. More and more institutions, in their rush to add online
courses are adding online faculty who have no experience in the classroom. Many view this as a 2nd string effort and a ploy
to stuff programs in order to increase the University’s cash flow. Ideally, a professor who has had considerable on-ground
experience, preferably as a full time faculty member, and who also is capable and competent in teaching online is the Cadillac
of online educators. Most institutions don’t care and this adds fuel to the fire for tenured faculty who absolutely
do not want to teach online and consider all things online bogus. The best bet is to ask. “Does the instructor have
classroom experience and if so, how much?” Doesn’t hurt to ask, now does it?
Do online professors have as much freedom as on ground professors in course design
and selection of textbooks?
No. It is increasingly becoming more rare. Colleges are so intimidated by their regional accrediting agencies and the spin
that somehow online education just doesn’t seem to be good enough, they set down a series of stifling academic milestones
every professor that works in online for them must follow. Rarely does the professor get what an on ground professor gets,
including selection of text, design of the syllabus and course content unless it is the on-ground professor teaching a similar
course online. Academic freedom seems to have taken a holiday when it comes to online teaching.
What is the quality of an online professor?
They are equally good and bad. A professor with both experiences
is a great plus, as previously noted, but not a guarantee.
If I graduate from a non-accredited university and it becomes accredited by one of America’s regional
or national agencies approved by the US Department of Education, will my status change?
Yes. You can now state truthfully the college your obtained your
degree from is accredited.
are those who suggest that if my degree was granted before a non-accredited college became accredited, it is not equal to,
or equivalent to, the degree obtained by a graduate of the university now that it is accredited?
Tell that to all the Harvard grads prior to the 1960’s. There
is stupid and then there is stupid.
would I want to acquire a degree from a non-accredited university?
Only you can answer that question. You will receive no government guaranteed financial aid;
there are those who will criticize you and the institution without mercy even referring to your degree as bogus; you will
not be able to get a teaching job, at least not at an accredited school; and you will never be able to join the faculty or
administration of an accredited college. However, if the non-accredited college offers you a superior education and it promotes
your career, then all those other things don’t mean anything because there are opportunities aplenty that await you.
Can anybody succeed at online education
- I hear that many have open enrollment particularly the non-accredited schools?
No, not everybody can succeed at online education. You have to be motivated, self directed,
and disciplined. It makes no difference if it is open or competitive enrollment.
Is it possible to go from K-12 and on up through college to grad school and beyond
with online education?
With the advent of new K-12 online programs, a step between home schooling and public schools, it is possible. The rest is
already in place.
any sources out there that rate non-accredited schools?
No longer. Everyone has gotten hung up on getting “accredited” degrees. This does not mean one cannot acquire
a certification that the work accomplished by a student at a non-accredited school is equivalent to accredited institutions.
It is widely available.
there other accreditations that colleges can have?
Yes, but in many cases it is not the same as American accreditation that is based on peer review from private agencies. In
the case of foreign accreditation, there is likely no review other than a university’s own assessment and approval by
the Ministry of Education in the University’s home country. Depending on what nation it is will also determine whether
some in the USA consider it “good enough”. Most schools accept transfer students from a UN member country’s
school who have been previously approved by their government’s higher education authorities.
Are there accreditations agencies that are themselves bogus?
Apart from the outright frauds,
it depends on how you define “bogus”. If a group decides to band together and self accredit, is it bogus? The
same goes for an association, or other organization that represents institutions of higher learning. Just because they are
not approved to receive US government guaranteed student loan funds does not, as others would have the public believe make
them “bogus”. It is the students’ perception of the legitimacy that is important. What others think is irrelevant.
There is an organization called
The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) that claims to determine if various types of accreditation and accrediting
agencies are legitimate. What is their purpose?
Their purpose is to promote those schools and accrediting agencies they claim are legitimate. There are those who believe
that in their zeal to allegedly protect the public, they have actually created a greater harm in thwarting the development
and presentation of innovative education, a hallmark of American higher education for 200 years, and long before organizations
of this type came on the scene. They have been described as the grass roots minimalists created to preserve the status quo.
They say anybody with the ability
to create a website can start a university, is this true?
Yes. And, anybody who wants to start an on-ground college can do so as well. One such fellow
comes to mind. He was a dirt farmer with no formal education. He started Leland Stanford, Jr. University on his farm in honor
of his son who had met with an untimely death at a young age. You know the rest of the story and the same will be true of
more than one online university in the 21st century as well.
It seems that all the Blogs on e-education have climbed on the “accreditation” bandwagon and those
of us with degrees from what they describe as “unaccredited” are treated with the scarlet letter “U”.
They don’t know
they don’t know. They think that because the institution has chosen not to play the accreditation game, at least not
their way, they are less than credible. They conclude there is something wrong with them. They toss around the words 'diploma
mill' like candy and take the easy way out. Some have referred to these Blogs as “gutless wonders” for their
refusal to do adequate research. They seem only content to spew derogatory info often provided by others. This makes better
press. Comments titillate the ‘gotcha’ button and like the tabloids, but not nearly as good, appear to be attempts
to break the legs of any struggling online institution. The Blogs are, after all, free expressions of opinions, right or wrong.
What is the best Blog for online
not seem to be one. They are all seemingly biased but highly entertaining with their free-rolling expressions of righteous
indignation and so-called insider scoops. It appears a few Blogs dominate with commenting personalities (the kindest way I
can describe them) being the same responders over and over with different names and IP addresses (yes, the responders clone
themselves) so they cannot be traced or look like they are padding the opinions. For those who know this, it discredits the
education Blogosphere and anything they have to say that may have been of value to the reader.
How do I get respect for my online “unaccredited”
First, never, ever,
refer to it as “unaccredited”. If anything it is “non-accredited” for US Department of Education guaranteed
student loan purposes. It can certainly be accredited elsewhere or, if the institution chooses, not at all. The fact that
your school chose not to be accredited by one of the Education Department's approved private review agencies was their
choice not yours. Own up to the fact you did this willingly. Secondly, keep in touch with your former professors and those
that analyzed and graded your work for you may need to call upon them to verify and yes, validate your study. Create
a portfolio aside from your transcript emphasizing why you chose the school in the first place, illustrate and point out the
benefits, quality, and convenience it possessed. You have to be willing to fight fire with fire. Your critics did not choose
the school, you did. Now, stand up for it.
I hear it is easier to get a degree online than on-ground. Is that true?
First, nothing about college is normal. The varieties and experiences
you may have will differ greatly depending on the school you attend. As far as online schooling is concerned more students
drop out of online institutions than on-ground and never complete their education. An online effort requires discipline. Most
online students are unprepared for the self-motivation required to complete online classes. As far as being easier, this is
a myth propagated by ground-based faculty who think the only way to teach and learn is to play to a live audience. This is
primarily indicative of an American mindset since European professors are used to not seeing their students in the classroom.
Would you recommend a student pursue
an online education?
they are motivated to learn – without hesitation.