For many of us, the unquestioned path that follows a high school diploma is a full time commitment to further education. While this educational endeavour is undoubtedly a noble one, we must not assume that the only way to achieve these goals is through the attendance every day for four years or more at a physical campus. These days, with the burgeoning of internet technology and availability, there are many other options to be considered. However, this very availability can sometimes call into question the validity of any given website - and rightly so. Education is an important commitment, and we should not register indiscriminately with the first online school we encounter, any more than we would attend any other school without first checking out its credentials. However, the existence of a school in cyber rather than geographical space does not necessarily undermine the quality of the education offered by it.
Attendance at a 'good' school does not necessarily result in a quality education. While any reputable school will screen the teachers it employs, even the best educational institution can harbour intelligent people who simply can't successfully convey information - any college course can be compromised by inadequate teaching skills. Different students too will have different ways of learning and ingesting information - a large classroom environment is not best suited to everyone. Couple this with overwhelmingly large and often impersonal campuses, and a learning situation is created that is simply not suited to many students.
Many people return to education later in life, or need to begin or continue working as they learn. The linear path from high school graduation to university is not possible for many people, and so the availability of other options seems only fair.
Online schools would seem to fill this gap perfectly, but they receive bad press, which compromises their reputations. Such schools have been referred to as 'diploma mills', suggesting that hard earned online qualifications are of lesser value than those obtained in other institutions. And while, as mentioned previously, there are undoubtedly online schools available that do not provide the attention and support that is required in a good education, there are undoubtedly also physical schools in which the same situation arises. The accreditation process is simply not cohesive enough to allow us make assumptions as to the quality of accredited schools. Different organizations accredit different schools, and we cannot assume that their criteria are uniform. The accreditation list is not a definitive compilation of quality establishments.
An element of personal responsibility must be involved; we must examine all kinds of different educational options and decide which is most appropriate for us individually. It seems highly unfair that those without the appropriate financial means or life circumstances should be denied the opportunity of an education. Online schools, such as Almeda, provide a high quality education at a fraction of the cost of most physical universities to people who are willing and able to work hard in their own time. The value of any education is proportionate to the amount of work invested - why should the value of the input of a person who is educated in front of their computer be assumed to be lesser than one obtained by a student who attends a physical campus? The argument of accreditation simply does not hold sway - high quality schools in other countries are not accredited in the States either, should this undermine the significance of an education obtained at Cambridge or Oxford in England? I'm sure graduates of these institutions would beg to differ.
As do the students of many online universities. These graduates are grateful that the opportunity to learn has not been entirely removed from them. If students work hard and gain new knowledge at a reputable online school with high quality teaching staff and excellent support - how can this be any less significant than a qualification that differs only in its requirement for physical attendance
Making the Grade - E-learning meets the challenge of traditional schools. Knowledge, technical know-how or information of any kind, is one of the world's driving forces. It always has been, but in 2005, its influence is global. Read More
Catch 22 - "It has been said that, "Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning." Unfortunately, this sentiment is often reduced to, "only the WEALTHY will learn," and those obstacles? Ever-increasing tuitions and fees." Read More
Personal Responsiblity - "For many of us, the unquestioned path that follows a high school diploma is a full time commitment to further education. While this educational endeavour is undoubtedly a noble one, we must not assume that the only way to achieve these goals is through the attendance every day for four years or more at a physical campus. " Read More
Untraditional Path - " Watching a Steven Spielberg movie, you'd naturally assume that the man behind the camera holds a college degree that helped him realize his visions. You would most likely think the same reading a treatise from famed anthropologist Richard Leakey." Read More
On the Offensive -" In most industries, when businesses start to decline the companies experiencing the drop make changes to improve their bottom lines. They change their prices, improve their quality or start providing better service." Read More
Mediocrity Rules - "Part of the problem with getting hired when you don't have a degree, but have plenty of experience, is that the menial functionary to whom your resume goes in the human resources department has a degree, and is on the inside of the whole structure. Like any bottom-of-the-totem-pole group member, he or she is not interested in opening up their club to a whole group of new blood, so they're more than happy to consign your resume to the bottom of the heap." Read More
Bells and Whistles - It's the usual routine: a young person graduates from college with a four-year degree and goes on a job hunt. When they get hired, the first thing their new employer does is put them through a long training period before they're turned loose on unsuspecting co-workers. Read More