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Four Stupid Myths of Online Education
Fred DiUlus, PhD Fred DiUlus, PhD
Washington, DC
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In an upcoming new book, The Online University that is Best for You, Dr. Fred DiUlus, an online school ratings expert and the CEO and founder of Global Academy Online, Inc. a prime outsource provider to colleges and universities, devotes a chapter to exposing popularly held myths about online higher education. The myths, he says, have been propagated over the years by online teaching critics who he says, "don't appear to know they don't know".

Many detractors he suggests cling to the notion that a traditional ground-based education is superior to all forms of online teaching.  Their fear, he says, is seemingly enhanced by online learning's popularity among students and the growing mass appeal it has in a very weak economy that demands of its workers more education.

DiUlus offers that four of the myths are genuinely stupid deductions promoted widely by those who should know better. "This has been particularly troubling to online educators," he says, "as the myths are utterly nonsensical and an irrational twisting of the truth, believed by many, in order to steer students away from online education." The public, DiUlus says, "is catching on to these false proclamations as top universities in the world, one by one, adopt the methodology and promotion of online higher education."

Myth #1: An online degree is no good and worthless.

Almost 70% of students that have taken both online and on-ground courses actually prefer online classes. The findings are based on the annual research conducted by the Center for Ethics in Free Enterprise, Global Academy Onlne's non profit foundation. The positive percentage continues to grow annually as more students enter online programs.

Myth #2: You need American accreditation to possess a legitimate degree.

Foreign schools offering online courses are licensed in their home nations permitting full articulation with American accredited universities. Diplomatically, they are recognized in the USA without so-called American accreditation. Little known is the fact that the US Federal Government also does not require a college or university anywhere in America to be accredited. Accreditation in the USA is strictly voluntary. US Dept. of Education approved private agency accreditation such as North Central, Middle States, Western, etc., permits their member schools to qualify for receipt of Government sponsored Federal Financial Aid; a process that has been described as an accredited marginal school's Federal license to steal. On the other hand foreign universities, without the same so-called American recognition along with accredited but totally online schools, are painted as less than worthy. Considering this includes schools like the 1000 year old University of Bologna and the almost two hundred year old University of London, one quickly sees the absurdity and disjointed value system of these bizarre claims of superiority of the American standard.

Myth #3: Good jobs are not available to online degree holders.

Employers, public or private, require of employees and applicants flaunting a college degree to first demonstrate its authenticity. In the USA that is now demonstrated by accreditation from a recognized agency authorized by the US Department of Education, if it is an American school. In the case of foreign schools, degrees can be validated by agencies certifying the work is equivalent to US accrediting standards. The notion that a Bachelors degree or a Masters in order to be valid or of value to an employer must come first from an accredited classroom based school is totally preposterous. Today, employers encourage employees and applicants to acquire schooling online as it permits employees to do school and their work uninhibited by time constraints, travel and availability. 

Myth #4: Online colleges are easy to get in and easy to get a degree.

This dual myth's underlying fable supports Myth #1 - #3. Many online schools have open enrollments but also demand that students be non traditional, older and allegedly more mature. As a result the attrition rate can be higher than in a traditional university as enrolled students find matriculation both difficult and well beyond their idea of "easy".  Online degrees earned from universities with programs completely or partially offered online require the same rigor and difficulty as that of their traditional classroom counterparts. US Dept. of Education approved agencies demand it.

DiUlus observes that the majority of online students feel online classes exact a high price in personal commitment. Individuals must sustain a discipline beyond mere study to manage and succeed online, a fact generally unknown to anyone other than online students and their professors. He suggests aspiring online learners should follow a strict protocol in selecting an online school that includes first checking school ratings, followed by personal interviews with students and finally, tracking down and interviewing members of the school's faculty. Prospective students should, he says, demand proof of the school's credibility and worthiness.

DiUlus' Best Worst Online Degree Programs free online school rating service was first released in 2003 and is edited, updated and published annually.


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