These days you can do nearly anything online. You can shop, watch TV, listen to music and manage your investments. You can make phone calls and hold video conferences. You can plan out home improvements and purchase materials. You can even get a college degree! There is a wide range of options for online education, but as with any online pursuit, caution is necessary.
Online education has it’s benefits. It can be cheaper than normal college tuition and fees. Some courses are even free, like those from Stanford. It’s open to anyone, no matter their age, race or geographical location. You can earn nearly any degree you could want online, complete with coursework and documentation. The only thing you can’t get is hands-on experience.
The one thing you absolutely must watch out for when looking into online degrees and courses is the institution presenting them. It’s easy to find websites and online ‘colleges’ that claim to offer a complete education online. Many of them will even print off a diploma and send it to you. The trouble is, what good is a diploma from David’s College of IT and Stuff?
If your online courses are not presented by an accredited university, they don’t offer you much benefit. While they may still offer excellent content and information, they won’t count as a course taken at a real institution. With education, the credibility of the source is of high importance — even more so when it comes to online education. If your online degree wasn’t earned through an accredited university, it’s hardly worth the paper it’s printed on.
Require Verification events
How can you verify that your online college is legitimate and accredited? There are a number of ways. First and foremost, you can check with the United States Department of Education. They keep records of universities that are accredited, and can tell you if the one you select is on the list. The Council for Higher Education is another similar resource. They can tell you if your online institution is legitimate or not. There’s also the Diploma Mill Police. They have reports and track over 300 known diploma scams.
A verified and accredited institution can offer the same valuable education found at many physical universities. They can also work well for an adult looking to branch out to a new career field without leaving their current job to attend classes. That kind of convenience comes at a price. Many people will hear “online education” and grow skeptical. To that end, it’s a good idea to be aware of the subject and know that your institution is accredited.
While an online education has benefits, there’s always the case where hands on experience is preferred. However, as the prevalence of online education grows, online degrees could become just as widely accepted as standard diplomas from traditional institutions. Use caution and your degree could serve you well.
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Featured Student Profile
Learn Anytime, anywhere.
...even on a remote island!
Every year more and more students are turning to the Internet and distance learning in order to further their education and expand their horizons.
Read our exclusive one on one interview and learn how a busy student fits online learning into his schedule while living abroad.