The beauty of the internet is that it allows you to access all sorts of media from the comfort of your home. We’ve known the internet as a hub for entertainment, with platforms such as YouTube rising in popularity significantly. However, the internet has also become a prime tool for learning.
Universities around the world have come to understand the power of the internet as a means of education. Recently, many universities started to offer full degrees that can be completed and earned solely through the internet.
Now, the question is whether an online master’s degree is worth it.
COVID-19 & Education
The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm. In just a few short weeks, the pandemic completely changed the entire higher education system in the United States. Campuses have shut down temporarily, as the coronavirus forced students to return to homes that are already struggling to pay for the cost of college and even pay for the cost of necessary expenses.
Students with stable internet connections have been transferred overnight into hastily prepared digital alternatives to the campus experience. The shift is truly abrupt and far-reaching.
Is this unexpected turn of events enough to pressure colleges into providing more online educational alternatives?
Are Traditional Degrees Outdated?
Now that many students have been forced to continue their education online, they may find that it truly is possible and online education is a very viable option. This may push students and parents to find the more expensive traditional degree less appealing.
Foregoing degrees ultimately may not be a good idea. Employers rely on degrees to verify that a specific level of credible learning has taken place. Without a degree, most students will have no way to prove their credibility.
An online approach to certification not only gives students more flexibility in terms of learning but also helps employers meet rapidly evolving labor needs.
Jobs that did not exist ten years ago are projected to be in high demand within the coming years. These jobs make use of technology that is rapidly shaping the workflow in various industries.
Conventional universities are already struggling to keep their curriculum updated and in line with future work trends. Perhaps online degrees can prove to be the solution.
Are Online Degrees Easier?
Online degrees will most likely not be easier than any traditional degree. They will, however, be much more convenient to access.
Online education will allow students to attend programs that were not previously available to them. Of course, the normal stressors of earning a degree exist when taking both on-campus and online courses.
Online degrees will also blur the line between your work and family calendars.
Online courses most certainly offer convenience and flexibility in learning. However, there is still a requirement of time you must commit each week to review course materials, turn-in required assignments, participate in-class activities, and prepare for examinations.
Are Online Degrees Less Expensive?
In most cases, the answer is yes. Online degrees can be offered for much less, but not always. Penn State’s online bachelor’s degree will run you over about $60,000 for an undergraduate degree.
Even universities that specialize in providing online degrees can charge a significant amount. For instance, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) costs new students $320 per credit hour in 2020.
You’ll be able to find very affordable online courses. It largely depends on the degree you wish to take and whether you have a specific university in mind. Still, you’ll most likely be able to find a bargain if you dig a little deeper.
What Do Employers Think of Online Degrees?
Online degrees are practical options for students. Despite this, some students may still be wary regarding how an employee might judge an applicant who holds an online degree. In reality, online degree holders can rest easy knowing the following information:
- Thirty-three percent of employers believe that online education will eventually be better than traditional on-campus learning.
- Fifty-two percent of employers believe that must advanced degrees will be completed online in the future.
- Sixty-one percent of employers believe that online learning is on par with, if not better than, traditional methods.
- Seventy-one percent of employers claim that they hired an applicant with an online degree.
Reputable Educational Platforms
If you’re looking for the right online program for you, note that not all degrees are created equal. Where you receive your online degree is a significant deciding factor that employers look at. Here are a few online learning platforms to consider.
Boston University released the BU Questrom online MBA. It’s a fully online Master of Business Administration that costs just about $24,000. It is the first full MBA to be made available on the edX platform.
The more affordable $24,000 price point aims to reflect BU’s social mission to “expand access to a top-tier business education throughout the world.” Yes, you’ll be able to apply regardless of where you live.
The online MBA market is price elastic. Degrees are offered online for $11,000 on the low end and $132,000 on the high-end. Boston University aims to provide high-quality courses closer to the low-end of the price spectrum.
University of Illinois
The University of Illinois takes pride in its “iMBA” program. The iMBA provides a degree from a premier university, taken entirely online. The total cost of the program is just under an affordable $22,000.
The iMBA is career-focused. The curriculum is arranged in such a way that the materials provided to you are highly relevant to the skills you’ll be needing on the job. Aside from that, the iMBA also features heavy development of leadership skills and vision.
There following are online learning platforms, not exclusively aligned with any specific university. They do, however, offer full courses from various universities from across the country.
- Coursera. Coursera is a global online learning platform founded by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng in 2012. Currently, the platform offers massive open online courses, degrees, and specializations.
- edX. edX is a massive open online course provider created by Harvard in collaboration with MIT. edX hosts a vast amount of university-level courses covering a wide range of disciplines. Like Coursera, the platform is available worldwide.
There are several factors to consider when thinking about whether an online degree is for you. Be sure to weigh all the pros and cons before committing to a decision.
Online degrees are certainly on-par with traditional degrees in terms of quality. If you wish to enjoy a more flexible learning style, an online degree is excellent for you. A traditional degree might suit you if you require a bit more structure and have the budget for it.
In the end, the decision depends on what is best for you. Consider how you wish to balance your professional and personal commitments.
Knerl, L. (2019, February 12). What Employers Really Think about Your Online Degree. Retrieved June 19, 2020, from https://www.northeastern.edu/bachelors-completion/news/are-online-degrees-respected/
McCauley, A. (2020, April 10). How COVID-19 Could Shift The College Business Model: ‘It’s Hard To Go Back.’ Retrieved June 19, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisonmccauley/2020/04/09/how-covid-19-could-shift-the-college-business-model/
Muller, C. (2019, March 12). Is An Online Degree A Good Idea? Retrieved June 19, 2020, from https://www.moneyunder30.com/online-degree-a-good-idea
Writers, S. (2020, January 15). Is an Online Degree Worth It? Retrieved June 19, 2020, from https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/is-an-online-degree-worth-it/