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Online Degrees-Real or Sham?

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A story is told of a company manager who always asked all the job applicants in his organization one particular question: “Have you ever enrolled for an online course?”  Asked why he always insisted on this particular question, he replied: “It is the only way I can prove that the candidates are computer literate.” Well, he is entitled to his opinion.

Internet ads keep popping on your PC screen whenever you open various sites, persuading you join universities abroad to pursue further education online. For some time now, the idea of getting online degrees has been received with much skepticism especially in the job market in some countries.  A lady I recently met at an academic forum testified that once, the interviewing panel for a position she had applied for dismissed her Masters qualifications on basis that she received it online. This then leads to the question on whether these degrees are real or a mere sham.

In the modern world where it is all about having a cutting edge above all the other candidates, online is the way to go! Another gentleman complained of having been a victim of bogus online universities that offer fake degrees that later become useless in the job market. To me, the challenge here lies in identifying legally certified institutions that offer online education and not the dismissal of online conferred degrees. Online education comes with its sets of benefits.

To begin with is the use of the acquired skills in the immediate work environment. Contrary to the actual learning process for four years where students pursue their degrees; then wait to put into practice what they have learnt in the employment environment, online degrees allow students to implement knowledge gained in the classroom set up almost immediately. It is all about learning it online today and applying it tomorrow at your work place. In my opinion, what better way there is than to pile a heap of knowledge in our minds for years before applying it?

Secondly, taking an online degree helps boost your computer literacy skills. The minimum requirement to succeed in online education is to have access to a computer, internet and be able to receive and reply to mails. Accessing the links on the institution website and perusing through the modules all require computer proficiency and thus an online degree can only make you a ‘wizard’ at this.

The world is constantly on the move and so should be our knowledge of issues-dynamic and up to date. This has made learning a continuous process that has to be juggled with the normal duties of working, raising families and conducting other businesses. With this in mind, the only way out is opting for an online degree because of its flexible schedules. Individuals can then have classes and learn at their own pace in line with personal plans without jeopardizing either side.

Unlike the physical class attendance where only the specific few who are outspoken and free in class answer/ask questions and participate in debates, there is a greater student application and participation through online education. There is the aspect of anonymity and privacy as you can learn from the comfort of your room. This allows for the sharing of ideas and exchanging of experiences and asking questions without any form of intimidation from others. The older students who might feel uncomfortable sharing a class with the youths due to age gaps now have a place to turn to!

There is constant access to classrooms online. This online education is as accessible as the availability of the internet. Getting connected to a local network is all one needs to complete assignments given and conduct the projects; and within the Kenyan context, this saves a lot of time and energy that could be wasted on traffic jams going for a two hour class late in the evening, twice a week for a whole year.

Opportunities to network with faculty and students from across the world are available through online education. The social sites online can be utilized to connect globally. As a student in Kenya, your online professor in film making could be based in Columbia while the other in charge of script writing could be situated in Italy, all teaching in the same university. So will be your colleagues. Isn’t this the beauty of diversity and an enormous experience in sharing of ideas from various backgrounds?

You have heard that the world has become a global village and so has every other business that goes on in it. Those opposed to or refusing to recognize online earned degrees are only narrowing their minds and limiting themselves to the available opportunities.

We should instead shift our focus to measures that will help us identify the accredited institutions that offer such online degrees; to prevent most citizens from being manipulated by quacks, who are out to swindle money from unsuspecting citizens. This in my opinion is the greatest challenge facing the provision of online degrees. Aristotle warns that in judging something, we should refrain from terming it as wholly good or wholly evil as nothing is 100% perfect. Instead, let us focus on the greater percentage of good that comes with online learning to earn our degrees. Thinking of how to further your education amidst your very busy schedule? Think online!

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One thought on “Online Degrees-Real or Sham?

  1. quite a read.I have had the opportunity to enrich this debate but in an entirely different context.I think the challenge in Kenya is that we haven’t developed a directory of academic institutions offering online education.but we will get there soon.Nice read.well done

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