Online degrees steadily gained momentum and gradually became accepted over the years. A decade ago, people were more likely to scoff at the mention of online education but today renowned universities are offering online programs and supporting distance learning.
There are countless positives of online education. It gives you more flexibility to study at your own pace, allows you to complete a degree on your own terms and provides cost effective solutions for the students. Additionally, it doesn’t limit you by geography and you can study in your favorite university from absolutely anywhere in the world. The convenience and affordability sounds good but before you enroll in an online university, the first question to ask yourself is if it’s right for you.
Finding the Right University
The initial step that determines the credibility of an online degree is accreditation. Before you enroll for an online degree, you need to check the accreditation of the university you opted for. There are several ways to check the validity of an online degree and conducting a thorough research is the best way to go. For starters, the university must be certified by the International Accreditation Organization (IAO) and other globally recognized education boards.
The next thing to consider is the cost of a degree and the financial aid a university offers to its students. Some schools charge more while other charge less. Once you have conducted meticulous research and shortlisted a few accredited universities, the next step should be to compare and analyze the cost of different programs. An accredited university will provide you financial aid services in terms of scholarships, loans and educational grants. This makes learning all the more affordable and feasible for students with financial constraints.
Making the Right Choice
The last step, though certainly not the least, is based on self evaluation. This might seem like an unnecessary step but it is nevertheless an essential one. Unless a student is self-motivated and disciplined, it unlikely that he will be able to perform well. Many students end up blaming the university’s quality of education and overlook their own lack of commitment. While online degree programs offer flexible schedules that can be paced around your busy professional and personal life, don’t let yourself assume that it will be an easy feat to accomplish. You are still required to submit assignments on time and follow strict deadlines for projects. This is why many online universities also take admission tests, so they can determine the caliber of potential students before enrolling them for a degree program. So if you have a hard time studying on your own or lack discipline, you might probably want to reconsider your options.
Online degree programs have gained popularity over the years. The flexibility, affordability and the quality of education is what drives many busy professional and working adults to distance education. These universities not only provide great online learning resources but also have an experienced fleet of international faculty and a global student community that facilitates in developing skills and expertise of the learners. So before you go ahead and assume that an online degree is worthless, conduct a detailed research, find accredited programs and do analyze yourself. Think about your desired career and whether or not you are capable of managing a self-paced study routine. For those who want academic excellence or professional success, an online degree is a worthwhile option and possibly the best choice to make.
The rise in distance learning eventually led to the growth of numerous online universities. Today there are thousands of institutions claiming to provide online learning. With so many educational institutions to choose from, sometimes it becomes hard to differentiate between accredited universities and degree mills.
Fear not! There are ways a student can tell the difference between an accredited online university and degree mills. Let us show you how.
1. Authentic Website
Accredited universities generally have a website where you can find details related to everything they offer. From programs to class schedules, faculty and contact information – everything is available on their website for the whole world to see. A degree mill will not have a credible website.
2. Quality of Syllabus
Authentic universities keep updated syllabus information on their website. Details regarding various online degree programs a university offers and the range of fields it caters to should be available online.
3. Expert Faculty
Accredited educational institutions have a global faculty that is both experienced and expert in their field of learning. Potential students can easily find details regarding the teachers on the school’s website. They will also provide students with the opportunity to interact with the faculty where as degree mills will do no such thing.
4. Online Resources
Before you enroll in an online degree program make sure that you check the kind of learning tools they provide. Accredited universities offer their student community an array of learning tools including online resources, e-libraries, forums and a learning management system. Degree mills are least likely to provide these resources.
5. Financial Aid
Accredited universities are known to provide financial aid to their students. These are generally provided in the form of scholarships and grants. Before enrolling in a distance learning institution students should make sure that the university offers financial aid. Degree mills will not provide you any such aid.
6. Admission Process
Universities offering accredited online degrees generally conduct an entrance exam and interview before admitting any student. Degree mills will conduct no such interview or exam and they will be charging a high tuition fee to their students.
7. Practical Training
Anyone enrolled in an accredited university will tell you that attending online classes regularly is a must. Experienced faculty of these institutions will assist students in learning and provide practical training via forums and online lectures. Degree mills do not require students to attend classes regularly. In fact most of them will provide you with a degree without taking any classes.
Education is your next step to a better career which is why it is essential that you opt for an accredited university. An authentic online degree is recognized by employers worldwide and ensures improved job opportunities. Beware of degree mills and conduct a thorough research before you enroll in an online university.
Anyone planning to pursue an online degree program must be aware of the importance of accreditation. It means that before you enroll for a course in any university; you must verify its authority and credibility, to save yourself from scam. Accreditation ensures quality education as accrediting agencies only provide certification to educational institutes that fall under a certain criteria. In U.S alone there are various regional accreditation boards that evaluate and review the quality of education provided by these online institutions.
What is an Accredited Degree?
An accredited online degree is approved by authorized agencies and is recognized by employers internationally. It not only ensures that you receive the highest quality of online education but also gives you the ability to transfer your credits to another school, if the need arises.
Importance of an Accredited Online Degree
Accredited universities provide the best level of education as compared to other institutes, which is why they generally have a set standard of admission. Receiving an online accredited degree is a major step, therefore you would want to be careful and verify the authority of an institute before enrolling.
How to Verify the Accreditation of a University?
The sudden rise in online degree programs might have made it difficult for students to know which ones are worth choosing, but certainly not impossible. There are a number of ways by which you can verify the accreditation of an online university.
- If the university is U.S based, log on to the U.S Department of Education’s database and verify the institute and its programs.
- Research online to check if the university has a strong presence on the internet.
- Contact the institute’s faculty and alumni.
- Get in touch with their admissions department and speak with a counselor.
- You can also contact the Council for Education Certification to verify the certification of a university’s faculty.
Remember to only opt for online degree programs that are accredited and recognized by education authorities.
Nowadays, the term ‘accreditation’ is doing the rounds amidst discussions related to education, most particularly online education. It is a term that has become synonymous with quality education and which has, for many students as well as teachers, become the foremost criteria when it comes to learning. But what exactly is accreditation? Why is it so important?
The general definition of ‘accreditation’ is to be officially authorized or approved. An educational institution that is accredited is automatically considered to be an institution of high standard that emphasizes on quality and excellence of service. Many colleges and universities seek accreditation from leading accreditation agencies that are recognized by the ministry of education.
These agencies require educational institutions to fulfill certain criteria related to the quality of their curriculum, their faculty and the services they provide to students. Once they have effectively met the standards set by the agencies, these educational institutions are awarded the status of accreditation, which labels them as quality education schools.
There are several ways in which students can find out whether the college or university that they are studying in is internationally accredited. The first source of such information comes from the university’s own website; while reviewing an educational institution’s resources, students should look to see if it lists itself as accredited. If yes, then they should find out the name of the accrediting agency and check with the list of similar agencies that is maintained by their country’s ministry of education. To check the legitimacy of the programs on offer, students can check with licensing boards in order to see if the said program is allowed to issue the types of degrees or diplomas on offer.
Another way to check the credibility of the organization is for students to conduct extensive research on the university’s faculty members, their professional backgrounds as well as their academic qualifications. By hiring highly qualified and talented professionals as faculty members, a university displays its commitment towards delivering a high standard of education. In addition, students can also check to see if credits obtained from the university in question can be transferred to any other four-year state university. The ability to transfer credits is considered a very attractive feature amongst the student community as it enables them to pursue their chosen degree at a different university without having to redo courses previously done.
MUST University is an internationally accredited university that has been awarded accreditation status by the International Accreditation Organization (IAO). The IAO awards accreditation status to educational institutions on the basis of the ‘Points Profile’. This serves as a benchmark against which colleges and universities academic and organizational profiles are assessed in order to determine their eligibility for accreditation. MUST University has been evaluated on the basis of Organizational Management, Academic Management and Institutional Performance and has successfully managed to achieve the status of an educational institution that provides high quality education. For students who wish to attain a high standard of education amidst an encouraging learning environment, MUST University proves as the ultimate choice.
Online education has become more and more popular with each passing day. More students now turn to online mode of education due to the flexibility and convenience it offers.
When we talk about the job market, some of the employers are still skeptical about the quality and credibility of online education. However, if you can satisfy your employer during the interview by pointing out that your online college is accredited and you have acquired valuable learning and skills during your education, it can surely put them at ease. Read the rest of this entry »
The process of accreditation involves a detailed quality review and in-depth assessment of the overall educational program for ensuring the quality of education imparted to students. There are certain independent accreditation bodies that are recognized by the state’s law to give accreditation status to an educational program. These accreditation agencies are responsible for evaluating and ensuring that the university meets the academic standards set by authorized governmental bodies.
The evaluation process of these accreditation agencies typically involves the following activities:
The management of the university runs and internal review where a team of senior professors and members of the management perform a survey to determine if the guidelines provided by the accreditation agencies are closely followed by the university and all the requirements are fulfilled or not.
The accreditation agency assigns a team of peers to visit the university in person and closely inspect their processes and procedures and also assess their educational program to ensure that they meet all the quality standards. The team looks into each department and program of the university and formulates a detailed report based on their assessment.
In case of online education institutes, special accreditation bodies are formed which review the educational system of the virtual university from both technical and qualitative perspective. Currently there are six regional accreditation bodies and one international accreditation body that is authorized to issue accreditation to online schools and universities. They take the online classroom, online faculty, teaching methods, course content and online communication channels in consideration when passing a verdict on the status of a virtual university.
Based on the detailed report presented by the assigned team of accreditation professional, the accreditation agency decides whether the college or university meets the predefined criteria of the quality of education, efficiency of the processes and integrity of the educational institution.
Thanks to the globalization, educational universities and institutions are opting for international accreditation of their educational programs and courses. Acquiring international accreditation for their academic entity ensures that they are committed to maintaining and enhancing their academic standards by employing the global best practices in the field of education. International accreditation not only helps strengthen an institution’s credibility, but it also immensely benefits students and other stakeholders.
Students today prefer to enroll at universities which are internationally accredited and globally recognized. The benefits of international accreditation are as follows:
- International Quality & Best Practices in Education
International accreditation of an institute is an assurance the educational programs and practices of the entity are the best and up to the international standards. It assures that the educational institute, its degrees, faculty, curriculum, administration, financial well-being, and student services are recognized around the world.
- Ease of Credit Transfer
International accreditation is an important factor when an institution or university is deciding whether to accept credit transfer from a student’s previous school. The international accreditation of the institute will help you to get your academic credentials accepted at a number of the world’s elite universities.
- Workplace Success
Global employers prefer to hire job applicants who have been educated at the institutes accredited by the top accreditation bodies. This education also plays a significant role when employers make decisions about business promotions, company advancements, and whether to provide tuition coverage or assistance for employees who wish or need to further their education.
- Professional Memberships
International accreditation also helps students gain professional memberships of different elite institutions and organizations. A lot of countries also require that a college, university, or program be internationally accredited when allowing students to acquire state professional licensure.
- Financial Aid Opportunity
If a student decides to study at an internationally accredited university, he/ she is assured that they won’t be financially burdened by the huge amount of fees that the students have to pay otherwise. International accreditation of an institution entitles them for a number of governmental and private financial aid and grants.
Now that you are well aware of a plethora of benefits international accreditation offers, you should make sure that the university or college you enroll at is recognized and accredited by a world-reputed accreditation agency.
One fine morning you got up and saw every other school was offing technologically advanced online courses. No, that’s not how it all happened. The big bang theory of online education dates back to early 1960’s when the expansion started taking place. This idea has been around for over 50 years now. It only keeps unfolding itself and never seizes to evolve.
This format of education is highly dependent on technology and its shape keep changing as the technology advances. Right now what we are witnessing is the most refined and advanced form online educational technology which involves web-based classrooms, video streaming, podcasting, social media channels, web-chat, so on and so forth.
This is how it all really started:
Two psychology professors from Stanford University conducted an experiment where they tried to teach reading and math to elementary school students using computers.
Universities developed an online system with which students could access their course information from any remote location if they had a computer and internet.
Larger universities started adopting the online course-information-transfer method and used those online channels to provide relevant study material to their students.
Although the online learning methods were in its testing phases, Jones International University launched the first online study program.
MUST University emerged with the concept of an entirely virtual university and was one of the first few online programs that received accreditation from International Accreditation Organization (IAO). Around the same time Phoenix and Kaplan also surfaced and became major competitors in the online education industry.
The number of students taking online courses touched one million.
The figure of total students taking online courses climbed up to 3.7 million.
Local universities and community colleges that were initially not in favor of online education started moving towards a hybrid model where they offered online courses along with on-campus classroom trainings to their students.
By the end of 2012 there were around 4 million students who enrolled in online courses during that year alone.
Finding the right school is never about scholarships, discounts and free laptops; it’s about understanding your career goals and future plans. For a number of students, the idea of choosing the right college is not as easy as it may seem. It requires proper research and the students need to evaluate the courses and facilities offered before finally deciding to enroll.
So how should you start your college search? You begin with figuring out what your future plans and objectives are and end it with picking up the college that best fits your goals.
Here are 4 simple steps you need to follow in your quest to finding the best college for yourself:
Figure out why you want a college degree
There can be different reasons for pursuing a college degree. Some people do it to make their family proud, some do it just for self-fulfillment, some people seek a degree to learn new things, and some opt for higher education to find a way out of their dead-end career. Therefore, before you start looking for schools online, ask yourself what you want to get out of your college degree. This will automatically narrow down your college options and you will be looking into the right places.
List down your criteria
This means you need to find out if the colleges you are considering for enrollment offer the courses that will help you accomplish your goals. Also check the length of the programs offered and if they have a good placement department where they help the students to fine jobs.
Do your homework well
After you make a list of colleges that suit your objectives and needs, dig deeper and find out everything you can about them. A lot of colleges will look very attractive from the outside but what really matters is how they are from the inside. Get in touch with the alumni and read every article you can about that college before spending your thousands of dollars on it.
Weigh your options
Once you are through with all the detective work, list down your options and consider the advantages and drawbacks of each college. Do not let the university representatives influence your decision; they are paid for each student they enroll. Take as much time as you need before finally making up your mind.
A recent survey conducted by MUST University showed that the average tuition fee has continued to outpace the rate of inflation in the country since 2008. The rise in the cost of higher education at such alarming rate is driving away many students. The number of enrollments in the colleges in the US has dropped significantly. If the problem persists, there will be very few students who’ll be able to pursue higher education from a reputable institute.
To counter this growing cost of education, several universities are looking into online alternatives. They are working on building an online platform where they could offer courses to distance learners along with the on-campus students. Previously, these online classes were held by very few traditional schools and colleges for the people who wanted to study just a couple of courses instead of completing the entire degree. But now this model of education is considered by several top level educational institutions as a serious alternative to classroom training. They believe it will help both, students and the schools, by bring the cost of education down.
There are two most important reasons why nearly all educators are favoring the idea of online education:
Setting up a traditional university requires constructing huge buildings and playgrounds, and ask for constant maintenance. The burden of those millions of dollars spent on infrastructure and maintenance usually falls on the students in the form of unreasonably high fees. However, the concept of online educations eliminates the need for a large brick and mortar structure. All it requires is powerful servers and some technology experts to keep the website up and running. And these online educational models raise teaching capacity of the institute exponentially at a very small fraction of the cost.
A traditional university that can hold about 25,000 in its various campuses is considered to be a large university setup. And if it decides to grow further, it will have to spend millions of dollars on building more campuses. On the other hand, e-learning can easily expand its reach to a greater number of students without making any huge investments. This results in lower fee structure and a greater student base.