Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated November 2010
Digital technologies have certainly revolutionized all aspects of our daily lives, and the world of academia is no exception. Today, as many students decide to complete a graduate education, they are presented with various education options, specifically course delivery methods. Students can choose from campus-based, distance, and online courses. Potential students are then left to determine which is best for them. Depending on what a particular student is seeking to get out of a graduate program, may determine his or her decision.
Traditional classroom course delivery is an excellent option for those seeking face-to-face peer interaction, through which critical thinking skills are fostered and for those seeking to avoid home distractions while learning. Also, for many students the structured setting and timing of classroom instruction serves to keep the student on task. For some, asynchronous learning may result in a "when I get time to fit it into my schedule" attitude; whereas the classroom instruction timeslot within one's personal schedule has already been reserved. Ultimately, it comes down to personal learning styles. Some individuals enjoy the regularity of the classroom, while others enjoy the convenience and flexibility of distance learning.
Peer interaction and critical thinking skills development are critical issues amongst academia today. However, sophisticated web technologies have enhanced peer-to-peer student communication in distance education. One online education provider continues to address these issues in several ways. It has developed a program, which combines face-to-face interaction with the online convenience of the Internet. In addition, numerous online programs include synchronous and asynchronous discussion boards, where fellow students can interact and become part of an online community.
A crucial concern facing many students contemplating online degrees is 'will my degree be recognized by HR professionals?' Vault.com surveyed 239 HR professionals on their opinions regarding candidates with online degrees. One portion of the surveyed yielded the following results:
When asked which three industries were most likely to embrace online degrees, respondents answered:
- 70% said Internet/New Media
- 46% said Technology
- 44% said High Tech
- 29% said Media and Marketing
- 29% said Telecommunications
- 22% said Consulting
When asked which three industries were least likely to embrace online degrees, respondents answered:
- 68% said Medicine
- 56% said Law
- 52% said Health Care/Bio Tech
- 44% said Academia
- 22% said Government
- 18% said Finance
One college system revealed in a recent Reuters article that online registrations in its recent quarter rose 82 percent to more than 7,300, and analysts said that online enrollment has been surging more than 60 percent at major publicly traded education companies. In addition, one school boasted that 6 of 10 graduates passed the February California bar exam, where the average pass rate was just 37 percent. For many distance education students, the opportunity to meet classmates from all over the country is an enriching college experience.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Students today are aware of numerous 'degree mills', and prudent decision-making is essential when choosing an appropriate graduate program. Students should check out the credibility level of potential graduate programs, and then determine which type of course delivery will best suit their own individual lifestyles.
For more information, read our article on how to Avoid the Dangers of Diploma Mills.
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