Today we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It's Caroline Ross. Caroline is a former educator who writes for accreditedonlineuniversities.com and specializes in distance education platforms and online program accreditation. She is an avid reader and advocate for global education and equality. Please submit any comments or feedback in the section below! Feel free to email her some comments!
(Want to guest blog at The Employer Handbook? Email me.)
Online degrees are becoming more and more common, and students look for ways to earn degrees in a more flexible format. But, that doesn't mean that all employers are changing with the tides. As an employer or HR representative, it's important to understand the differences between the varied types of online degrees and why online graduates should be considered for employment. Having an understanding of the process of an online degree program can give all employers the confidence to make more hires and open their applicant pool to include potentially talented and modern new employees:
- Online degrees pass the same accreditation process as traditional degrees. Many employers think twice about considering applicants with online degrees because they assume the degrees don't hold as much weight as those given by traditional colleges and universities. But, any accredited degree received online is technically equal in content and rigor to a degree earned on campus. In fact, many online degrees are offered in a distance format by traditional universities. All college and universities in the United States must pass an accreditation process in order to legally provide degree programs. Accreditation can be regionally or locally-based, but all accreditation is recognized by the federal government as a valid test of an academic program's quality, and any accredited program, whether on-campus or distance-based, will be recognized as such. If you are unsure about a particular degree program, verify its accreditation at Ope.ed.gov.
- Online students have extreme self-motivation. There is one huge difference between a distance education course and one offered on a college campus: online students have to self-pave their own courses. Students who attend a traditional on-campus class simply need to show up to class and participate in a discussion and lecture. Online students, on the other hand, typically do not have set class times. They have to decide on their own when to look over and listen to lectures, when to finish their assignments and when to do their reading. While they will have set deadlines and test times, they are responsible for attending class on their own time. This means that anyone with an online degree will have had the self-discipline to schedule their own academic progress, and they will surely be able to discipline their work schedules on the job.
- Graduates are web-savvy. Because online students will have completed most of their coursework online, they will be highly adept at navigating the web and online communication. Online courses typically utilize discussion boards and forums as a large part of course participation. Graduates will be familiar with video chats, online messaging, formal email structures, different styles of web communication, accessing and uploading documents online, and various types of learning and workflow platforms. This is a skill that can be instantly utilized in almost any industry.