Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kenan-Flagler Business School launches online MBA program

UNC shared Monday its plans to develop an online MBA program, the first to be offered by a top-ranked business school and a major move by the University into the business of online higher education.
The program, MBA@UNC, is a joint one between the Kenan-Flagler Business School and 2tor, a New York-based startup focusing on online education. MBA@UNC Executive Director Susan Cates said it is a chance to “redefine global business education.”
“We’ll offer something that’s better than anything out there,” Cates said.
For-profit online degree programs have long been seen as lesser versions of traditional programs. By collaborating with 2tor, UNC is challenging itself to prove its online courses are just as rigorous as those taught at the McColl Building.
The plan fits with UNC-system goals to make higher education more accessible. And the program can be expected to bring in money for the school at a time when state funding is dwindling due to budget cuts.
Still, the gamble with the Kenan-Flagler name has left many students wary of the impact it will have on the future value of their degree.
“The one answer we can’t get is what defines success for this program?” said Brad Hudson, a second-year MBA student. “Financial gain? Rankings? How do you judge the success of the program?”
Designing an online MBA
Like the executive MBA programs that run on weekends and in the evenings, MBA@UNC is targeted at professionals looking to advance their careers. The full-time MBA is geared toward those looking to change careers.
MBA@UNC’s curriculum isn’t developed yet, but will be modeled after the full-time MBA program, Cates said. Only core classes will be offered initially, and electives will be added as the program expands.
Students in the first class, beginning in July, will go through the same admissions process, will take class with the same Kenan-Flagler professors and will pay what students in the weekend MBA program pay — $89,000.
Coursework will include independent readings as well as live video conferences with professors and classmates. 2tor will advise on online instructional methods, but UNC faculty will create each course.
Whereas a full-time student might be assigned a case-study to read at home and then discuss in class, those in the online program might watch actors re-enact the scenario and then discuss via video chats, Cates said.
And each quarter, students will gather in-person for three-day workshops and instruction.
A unique partnership
2tor jumped into the online education market in 2009 with the launch of a Master of Arts in Teaching program through the University of Southern California.
The program won a best practices award in February from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and USC has since launched a second program with 2tor, this time in social work. Fast Company identified it as one of five education “startups to watch.”
UNC faculty traveled to USC earlier this year to observe their two programs. Their example will help UNC, said Douglas Shackelford, a long-time faculty member and the program’s associate dean.
“We’re at a big advantage,” he said. “We’re not the first.”
The exact relationship between UNC and 2tor is unclear. Shackelford said profits would be split by the two groups but did not know more specific details. Initial costs will be fronted by 2tor, Cates said.
“They’re investing heavily on the front-end of developing this in a way that minimizes the front investment required by the University,” she said.
In an October memo to students, business school dean James Dean said money from the partnership would help supplement state funding and an endowment that lags behind its peers’.
Cates said the contract between the two was protected with a confidentiality agreement. UNC spokesman Mike McFarland said the contract would have to be reviewed first “in case there are any proprietary terms that require redaction.”
Students point to the University’s withholding of the contract as another reason to be wary. N.C. public records law makes most University records public.
UNC began talking about the program earlier this year, Cates said, and discussed it with a variety of stakeholders. “People were not surprised” by Monday’s announcement, said Dillon Twombly, a second-year MBA student.
Students said Monday they hope to be more involved testing out curriculum and giving feedback.
“The faculty and students live with the brand for the rest of their lives,” Hudson said.
“A program like this deserves to be fully vetted.”


Friday, November 12, 2010

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Considering Online Graphic Arts Colleges

Interested in a career in graphic arts? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most graphic design jobs require a bachelor's degree. So if you're already busy with family commitments, a full-time job, or a long commute that makes attending traditional classes impractical, then look through the following questions to figure out whether a graphic arts school online could be right for you.
Five Questions to Ask Yourself About Online Graphic Arts Schools
1. Can you work well independently? Those who are interested in online graphic arts schools should be self-motivated and disciplined. The freedom and flexibility of online graphic arts schools means that there will be no one checking to make sure you completed your homework, listened to the lecture, or are even progressing toward the end of your coursework. If you don't think you'll handle the freedom well, online graphic art schools may not be for you.
2. Do you thrive on community? If you are the type of person who enjoys face-to-face interactions, you might do better in a traditional graphic arts classroom. If you enjoy working with others but are still interested in online graphic arts courses, then look for an online school that offers plenty of opportunities for discussion and feedback, which could include online discussion boards, peer reviews, and plenty of correspondence with the instructor.
3. Do you know where to find scholarships? According to the New York Times, most online schools charge tuition similar to that of traditional schools. So even if you're saving money on commuting gas, room and board, or by working at the same time that you're studying, finding scholarships can save you even more money. Look at the College Board Web site and http://Fastweb.com; these are two free Web sites that can help you get started.
4. Is your online graphic arts school accredited? Buyer beware: there are online schools out there that offer diplomas at a price, but aren't actually accredited. If you want to make sure your degree actually means something, check the accreditation status of your online graphic arts school at the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
5. Does your school's graphic arts program mesh with your career goals? If you're just looking for basic training in graphic design, you may not need to be as picky about what graphic arts school you attend. If, however, you are interested specifically in graphic design with an emphasis in advertising, magazine layout, or art direction, make sure the online graphic arts school you enroll in offers courses, if not an emphasis, in your secondary field.
If you have done the research, know your career goals, and know your learning style, then you are probably ready to attend an online school for graphic arts. Keep working hard and don't let yourself get sidetracked, and you should be well on your way to a career in graphic arts.

By Kelly Smith 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sign Up for Free Nov. 18 Webinar Describing Online MBA, Master of Management Degrees at Southeastern Michigan's Walsh College

TROY, Mich., Nov. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Walsh College, southeast Michigan's only all-business college, will host a free lunchtime webinar on Nov. 18 for professionals interested in earning an online MBA or Master of Management with a specialization in Health Services Administration.
Featured presenter is Sheila Ronis, Ph.D., director of the Walsh MBA and Master of Management Programs and current chair of the Vision Working Group of the Project on National Security Reform in Washington, D.C.
The webinar runs from 12:15 - 1 p.m. EST. Participants can register by visiting www.walshcollege.edu/webinars  until Nov. 18.
The webinar will cover the online MBA and MM degree Health Services Administration specialization, which includes coursework in health economics; health administration finance; health care policy, law and ethical issues; and quality assurance for health services.
The webinar will also cover online MBA and MM course and program content; online course delivery; admissions requirements; registration and the academic calendar; and a Q&A session from participants.
The health services specialization is designed for those who work or aspire to work in the health services field. "As our population continues to age and the health services industry continues to expand, the demand for health services administration expertise will increase," Dr. Ronis said.
Enrollment for the Walsh College winter semester begins on Monday, Nov. 22. Winter semester courses begin on Monday, Jan. 3, 2011.
Founded in 1922, Walsh College is a fully accredited all-business college based in the Detroit suburb of Troy, Mich.  The College offers five graduate and four undergraduate degrees completely online. To learn more, visit www.walshcollege.edu/onlineprograms/. For more information on the Walsh College MBA and MM programs, visit: www.walshcollege.edu/mba or www.walshcollege.edu/mm.
About Dr. Ronis
Sheila R. Ronis, Ph.D., is director of the MBA and Master of Management Programs at Walsh College. She has worked with profit and nonprofit organizations of all sizes, including General Motors Co.; Ford Motor Co.; the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Departments of Energy, State, and Commerce; the U.S. Institute of Peace; the National Academies of Sciences; the National Science Foundation; and the State Council of the People's Republic of China.
Dr. Ronis currently chairs the Vision Working Group of the Project on National Security Reform in Washington, D.C. She has worked directly with the U.S. Department of Defense and the national security community for more than two decades.
Walsh College (www.walshcollege.edu) is a private, independent all-business college in southeast Michigan where application and theory are integrated to prepare graduates for successful careers. The College offers upper-division business and technology degrees at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels.
Walsh College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org), The Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org), and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE, www.iacbe.org).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Popular online degree programs at the University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks is a university town of 50,000 in the Red River of the North. It is a comprehensive research university and the main center of education and training in the state. North Dakota State University also called UND was founded by the Dakota Territorial Assembly in 1883. It is a university with a strong liberal arts base, surrounded by a variety of professional and specialized programs.
University of North Dakota is one of 47 public universities in the nation accredited graduate schools of law and medicine. The university campus is spacious and spread over 549 hectares and has 223 buildings. The University has earned an international reputation for its large number of resources and academic and research programs.
UND enrolls students from around the world for online singles, doctoral and professional degrees. The university offers associate degree courses, degrees and diploma courses. The UND offers distance education and online degree courses, including undergraduate programs, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program, Graduate Certificate and Endorsement Programs and Doctoral Programs.
The study area in North Dakota online degrees include computer science, legal professions, security services and health sciences. Students enrolled at the University of North Dakota may participate in interactive online courses. Students may participate in independent study and receive the education they want, the flexibility they need and the quality you deserve.There are courses in various streams such as Arts, Humanities and Languages, Business, Education, Engineering, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Nursing, Nutrition and Health, Social Sciences and Technology. Benefits of an Engineering degree program distance-

Distance Engineering Degree Program in UND is tailored to adult learners, who are busy working full time. They are not able to participate in traditional courses on campus.Offer distant learning
courses through the Engineering degree program have the same content as courses on campus. Students can access online versions of lectures on campus and participate in the labs on campus that are held in June.
Curriculum Student 's is convenient and flexible. They may take courses during their stay in work and care responsibilities at home. It 's up to the student' s convenience of choosing the time and place to review lectures and complete assignments.

Distance Degree Program at UND helps students improve their skills and apply in their current jobs.
Popular online degree programs at the University of Dakota are:
Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate Autism Spectrum Disorders
Geographic Information Science
Health Administration
Instructional Design

By shahnaz

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Test Drive College Online Partners with New Colleges

In a proactive approach to combat the alarming rise in the college dropout rates facing many higher education institutions, Test Drive College Online offers free online courses to prospective students considering an online undergraduate degree program. The program, which was introduced earlier this year by EducationDynamics, was re-launched this week with additional courses, and partner colleges. Test Drive College Online has added San Diego Christian College, Stevens-Henager College, and St. Leo University as alliance partner schools.
When students successfully complete the college competency exam and the Test Drive College Online course, the earned credit hours are transferable for free to any of the partner schools upon acceptance and enrollment. Students can choose courses from subject areas pertaining to their desired field of study including: Introduction to Psychology, English Composition I, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to Business and Medical Terminology. With the recent addition of new partner schools, and more agreements presently under review, students and partner colleges will continue to benefit from Test Drive College’s unique proactive approach to address student retention before students enroll in a degree program.   
“In the past, students were already enrolled and paying tuition by the time they had their first true online college course experience,” said Richard Capezzali, Executive Vice President of EducationDynamics and creator of Test Drive College Online. “Too often students enroll in a degree program without a clear understanding of the requirements and expectations for their success. This can create complications for both the student and the school. Now with Test Drive College Online, students and schools can be more confident in the relationship they are entering into, before committing time and money, and schools receive clarity on a student’s likelihood to graduate,” Capezzali continued.
About Test Drive College Online
Test Drive College Online addresses the issue of student retention facing higher education institutions in the United States by offering a proven approach for students to experience the realities of online degree program, and choose for themselves if they are adequately prepared for the challenges ahead. Prospective students begin by taking a college competency exam and upon passing, have the opportunity to take an online course at no cost or obligation after a thorough interview. Successful students who complete the online class, and undergo an advisory interview are permitted to transfer the credits to a full-degree program at a partner school. Test Drive College Online was designed to help serious students make informed decisions during their pursuit of an undergraduate degree online. The service provides the benefit of “test driving” the online format before committing to a degree program or paying tuition dollars. Test Drive College Online creates a real-life college experience that closely replicates a typical online degree program, giving students the confidence, motivation, and academic skill to fully commit to higher education. With this program, students can save up to $2,000 in tuition costs by earning credits toward a full degree. To learn more about Test Drive College Online, visit http://www.testdrivecollegeonline.com
About EducationDynamics     
EducationDynamics is higher education’s leading marketing information and technology services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, EducationConnection.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, TestDriveCollegeOnline.com, TestDriveGradSchoolOnline.com and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition, as well as other innovative solutions including LeadWatchLive, its web-based inquiry management solution. Through its Market Research and Advisory Services, the company brings a decade of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence and best practice insights to its clients. For more information, visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.

St. Thomas University Adds New Advanced Degrees in Earth/Space Science, Divinity, and Online Elementary Education

"St. Thomas explored ways to help Florida teachers advance in the state's public and private school systems as well as young adults needing to attend evening classes," says Marivi Prado, Chief Marketing Officer. "A new M.S. in Elementary Education is now offered online to benefit those facing full-time jobs and after-five family pressure. Its curriculum includes the teaching of language arts to provide added insight and specialization to thousands of teachers and teaching assistants who deal with South Florida's diverse populations." In recent years, St. Thomas adapted a doctoral level degree with a minimum timeframe to complete the title, as the Ed D in Educational Leadership, while the M.S., Education with a concentration in Instructional Technology aligns its curriculum to the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers and is competitive with the country's top IT programs.
STU School of Leadership Studies' Master in Art Management has been steadily growing in enrollment as Greater Miami's international art scene has been increasing its presence. Few universities provide a specialization in "Art as a Business". STU designed the program to empower managers and entrepreneurs in art galleries, museum and other cultural or public service institutions through a curriculum concentration in the economy of art, its marketing, legal aspects, production, financing and fund raising.
Also within that School, the online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Executive Management synthesizes within an online 18-month timeframe, cutting-edge concepts and the student's professional experiences, serving the working adult who wish to advance their careers. The degree is geared to employees who hold managerial, executive and other leadership positions in industry, government and non-profit organizations. Meanwhile, STU School of Business recently added a curriculum in Global Entrepreneurship under the expert advice of Dean Tony Villamil. A graduate Open House will be held on campus November 18, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., covering all St. Thomas Schools. There is no need to reserve space and inquiries or applications can be taken via www.stu.edu

SOURCE St. Thomas University.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Distance learning: Obtaining online degrees

It takes people away from the traditional methods of teaching and learning. Degrees, certificates and diplomas are now obtainable through studying with the help of the Internet. Accessible around the world, Internet-based facility has enabled people to juggle work and study.
There are a good number of accredited institutions and universities running online programs in different parts of the world. In Nepal, the British Council and the International Center for Academics – College of Distance Education and Online Studies (ICA), two well known institutions, are such places of learning.

“On behalf of various universities and authorized UK bodies, The British Council administers examinations and organizes all stages of exam administration, from initiating contact with exam boards, registration, conducting exams to forwarding exam papers. It guides the students of the programs available in different universities in the UK,” said Bhawana Syangden, projects officer at British Council, Nepal.
Students are encouraged to attend the counseling classes about distance learning which requires registration beforehand. Some of the institutions the British Council represents are: The Open University, The University of London, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), The Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), The Royal College of Pediatrics & Child Health (MRCPC), and The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCS).

The application process is similar to normal procedures. Students can apply online. However, the deadlines differ according to the courses. There is a variety of subjects to choose from, be it Science, Humanities, or Commerce. The degrees earned are globally accepted. Information on the mode of payment and the required eligibility can be obtained from the official websites of the educational bodies mentioned above.
Although the British Council gives sufficient information on the courses available, it does not hold classes. Students accepted by the international institutions must study on their own.

This is different with the ICA.

Established in 1997, the International Center for Academics – College of Distance Education & Online Studies (ICA), Gyaneshwor, has been providing distance education in Nepal. Approved by the Ministry of Education, Thamel, the college has been a partner institution of the Indira Gandhi Association of Open Universities (IGNOU) since 2002. IGNOU is the largest open university with centers in 33 countries affiliated to it.

As the solo member of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) in Nepal, ICA caters for IGNOU’s Master Degree Programs, Bachelors Degree Programs, Post-Graduate Diploma Programs, Diploma Programs, and Certificate Programs in 41 diverse areas of Management, Humanities and Social Sciences, Tourism, Computer Science, Journalism, Mass Communication, Rural Development, and Health Science.

IGNOU’s degrees are also accepted internationally. In Nepal, they are recognized by Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University, and the University Grants Commission (UGS).

“The course of study is very flexible. Students need to fulfill certain academic requirements to join the classes. The requirements differ according to the courses. Classes are not held on daily basis, and only one counseling session is offered every Saturday,” says Amit Giri, ICA’s assistant coordinator. “99 % of the students are professionals, balancing their work and study,” he added.

ICA has a fully equipped laboratory and a well facilitated library. Self-instructed study materials are provided to the students. All the important information on examinations, admissions, registration, assignments and counseling classes are circulated via SMS.

Raksha Sharma, a teacher at Brihaspati Vidya Sadan, and also an ICA student, said, “I’m a Bachelor’s student here, and the organization is very cooperative and well facilitated. The study is very time-manageable. The counseling classes help us connect, queries are answered. This is very helpful.”

According to ICA brochures, the academic session has been divided into two categories. The January cycle is from January to June, and the July cycle is from July to December. Under the supervision of the Embassy of India in Kathmandu, IGNOU conducts examinations through ICA in Kathmandu and Dharan.

Distance education is very time-effective. Study can be completed at home, and working students don’t need to resign their jobs to study abroad.

Most people join online degrees because they can manage work and study simultaneously. Moreover, and financially too, studying online is convenient and affordable.
But it has its drawbacks, too. Students may lose focus. There are not strict regulations to be followed, and studying is optional.

Report by Paridhi Rana

Monday, November 1, 2010

Best Education Degree Programs Online

Get your online teaching degree from American College of Education. Our distance education degrees provide all the tools necessary to getting your online teaching degree.. Online Education Degrees and Programs Ashford University offers a wide range of programs for students to advance their careers or change fields. . Top education guide is a comprehensive directory of colleges, universities, career schools, trade schools, vocational training and online degree programs. Find a . 
1. Walden University - It is an accredited online learning program having over 36,000 graduates. The university's mission is "serving the higher education necessities of experts whose work impacts others." It offers doctoral, master's and bachelor's programs in education. Undergraduates can earn a bachelor's degree in educational studies, child development as well as instructional design and technology. Also, it provides an education teacher endorsement program. Alumni can take master's degree programs in higher education, education, instructional design as well as technology, and a Ed.D. or Ph.D. in education and education specialist. 2. The University of Phoenix - It provides learning opportunities in online and traditional formats. The accredited college offers both bachelor's and associates degrees online, and a wide diversity of graduate programs. Prospective teachers can get a bachelor science degree in education and elementary education in a university's teacher prep program. Besides, the college offers online courses for the teachers' continuing education that cover such topics as technology in a classroom, bilingual education, teaching and counseling methods. 3. Argosy University - The university provides a wide diversity of online graduate-level courses for those pursuing educational administration and leadership positions. Also, students can earn an Ed.D. in teaching and learning, educational leadership, and community college executive leadership. In addition, they could pursue an education master of arts degree, with a concentration on learning and teaching, adult education & training, and higher or post-secondary education. It is accredited by the important Higher Learning Commission as well. 4. Northcentral University - It offers undergrad and grad programs. Also, it has twelve certificate programs for those teachers searching to add an indorsation to their present teaching certificate. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission as well as the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools. Northcentral's courses offer flexible beginning dates. 5. Capella University - It offers grad programs in K-12 specialization programs. The university's mental health counseling, school counseling, marriage & family therapy programs are accredited by the famous Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
This can be a great program if it's time to make a decision about higher education. Seeking an associate degree may be the best If the best choice is online, the experience .  to help you choose the best online degrees Student in an online degree program? Alumni of an online Find the best online education and accredited degrees to launch or . 1113 online degree programs; Save money and avoid online education scams; Find the best online degree programs for you and get ahead; Online Degrees By College.

Montana State University

Capella Education Company Reports 3Q 2010 Results

Capella Education Company, a provider of exclusively online post-secondary education through its subsidiary Capella University, announced financial results for the three and nine months ended Sept. 30.
"Third quarter 2010 was another quarter of strong results," said Kevin Gilligan, chairman and chief executive officer of Capella Education Company. "Quality post-secondary education remains very attractive due to the opportunity for high life-time return on investment for graduates. Capella has built a leadership position in online learning and a strong reputation for academic quality. Coupled with the breadth of our educational program offerings and focus on learner success, Capella is well-positioned to benefit from the long-term growth drivers in the higher education market."
"In the near-term, the market environment is becoming more challenging as competition increases for high-quality prospective learners and consumers react to the prolonged uncertainty around the economy," said Gilligan. "We are responding to this challenge in a disciplined way and remain confident our brand, advanced marketing analytics, and highly differentiated programs will set Capella apart in an increasingly competitive environment. We remain committed to managing our business for sustained long-term growth by differentiating through high-quality learning and career outcomes."
Total enrollment increased by 25.7 percent from the prior year to 38,634 learners. Graduate program enrollment increased by 19.4 percent year-over-year to slightly over 30,000 learners.
-Revenues increased by 25.7 percent to $105.0 million, compared to $83.6 million for the third quarter in 2009.-Operating income for the quarter was $21.0 million, or 20.0 percent of revenue, compared to $14.5 million, or 17.4 percent of revenue for the same period in 2009.Net income for the third quarter was $13.5 million, or $0.80 per share compared to $9.8 million, or $0.57 per share for the same period in 2009.During the quarter, the company repurchased approximately 300,000 shares for total consideration of $21.1 million. The remaining authorization under the current share repurchase program is $61.2 million as of Sept. 30.
For the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, enrollment is expected to grow 16.0 to 17.0 percent year-over-year with revenue expected to grow 20.0 to 22.0 percent year-over-year. The operating margin is anticipated to be approximately 24.5 to 25.5 percent of total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2010.
Total enrollment growth for fourth quarter 2010 is anticipated to moderate due to tougher comparisons related to significant process improvements implemented in the second half of 2009 and lower new enrollments.
"New enrollment is anticipated to be slightly down from fourth quarter 2009, due to an increasingly challenging external market environment and our continued focus on attracting high-quality learners prepared for Capella's rigorous academic experience," said Steve Polacek, senior vice president and chief financial officer. "We plan to make modest increases in marketing expense while driving productivity and fixed cost leverage to deliver strong operating margin expansion."
Based on reported year-to-date results and expectations for fourth quarter 2010, we anticipate fiscal year 2010 performance to be within the previously provided guidance ranges of 26.5 to 28.5 percent for annual revenue and average quarterly enrollment growth and operating margins of 21.5 to 22.5 percent of revenue.

Capella Education Company is a provider of online education and parent company of Capella University, a regionally accredited online university. Capella University offers online graduate degree programs in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, psychology, public administration, public health, public safety, and social work, and bachelor's degree programs in business, information technology, nursing, psychology, public administration, and public safety.

By Capella Education

Online vs traditional degrees: Which is better?

As tempting as a 100% online business degree is, there are drawbacks. A 'blended' approach is the way forward.As the higher education sector is flooded with graduate degree options, Gulf News asks the experts how online degrees measure up to traditional face-to-face degrees
You’ve seen the advertisements on websites, billboards and newspapers selling top-notch business degrees fully online. The allure of attaining a graduate degree for a fraction of the price of a full time programme while still being able to earn an income is a powerful one for professionals.
Why then would students fork out tens of thousands of dirhams, take precious time off work and possibly lose an income to attend a full time programme?
As the higher education sector is flooded with graduate degree options, Gulf News asks the experts how online degrees measure up to traditional face-to-face degrees.
Blended learning
‘Online’ is an old notion that refers to asynchronous education, where the student signs in, learns content and submits information, and it is a passive conveying of information, said Dr Greg Jones, vice-president and provost for Global Strategy and Pro grammes at Duke University.
“That’s a weak model for anything than just the basic conveying of information. But what I would say is that web-based learning is now often synchronous — you’re interacting with people in real time and that can be quite significant and actually a better optimization of learning,” he said at Duke University’s Dubai campus.
“Web-based learning works best as a supplement to face-to-face, not as an alternative.”
The university takes a blended learning approach with some of its business pro grammes where students based in Dubai attend short, intensive sessions at Duke’s campuses around the world followed by a period of distance learning from home through online classroom sessions and assignments. Many top business schools in Dubai use this model allowing professionals to enjoy the best of what online and face-to-face learning have to offer.
Duke University incorporates online learning in its pro grammes but Jones emphasises the importance of face-to-face contact that students need. “What we do with global executive learning is that there’s face-to-face contact and the development of those relationships really matter.”
Business schools are incorporating online learning but traditional full time programmes are still very popular with students. Dr Arnold Longboy, Director of Executive Education and Recruitment, Europe at The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business said online components could help “but if it’s 70 per cent online I would be opposed to that.”
“A lot of our students choose our programme because it’s more traditional and the number of applications continue to increase – this shows what we offer is still in demand,” he said.

A graduate business degree is more than just the qualification says Dr Roy Batchelor, Director of the Cass Business School’s Executive MBA programme in Dubai. “Apart from picking up skills and current thinking about marketing and so on, part of the MBA experience is working alongside people like yourself from different backgrounds and different sectors.”
Uses of online learning
Professor Alain Senteni, Dean of School of e-Education at Hamdan Bin Mohammad e-University (HBMeU) in Dubai says that online learning helps people prepare for the 21st century society, which will comprise “digital natives”.
Despite the HBMeU being primarily an online institution, it still incorporates the face-to-face component in some of its pro grammes.
“The problem is that our current digital natives are still young — about 15 years old – but people who are decision makers are not digital in nature. There is a need for a change in mindset.”
He says the way to make this happen is the blended approach by using technology to enhance what already exists. “Traditional learning is based on spoon-feeding and this is not what’s needed in the present time.”
Senteni said the university was working on building credibility for online education in the region. “I think credibility and providing evidence that it’s as good as face-to-face is major issue.”
He explained that e-universities use blended learning and they are not allowed to be fully online. Students have a combination of face-to-face classes in the beginning of their pro grammes and then virtual classes which are not physically constrained.
Jones pointed out that very shy people and women students, especially in the region, are less likely to speak in public and are far more likely to ask questions and make comments in a web-based setting.
Online learning also allows for more engaged learning when students are in the classroom. When students can access lectures and other content online as part of their homework they are more likely to engage in more lively discussions than passively listen to a lecturer he said.
“It’s important that we recognize that there are all kinds of ways that technology can enhance learning but we have to move away from viewing it as either online or face-to-face. I don’t think there’s any substitute but at some point we also have to think about what constitutes a class.”
Jones added that it is a myth to think that those students who are based in the same city are interacting with faculty for any more time than in web-based learning. “We now have video conferencing and tele presence. This is an extraordinary way to interact and you can interact in three or four setting simultaneously.”
Longboy said that there are certain topics that lend themselves to online learning such as computer training, finance or accounting.
Commenting on how online degrees and universities are perceived by employers Senteni said employers don’t see a major difference and in fact many traditional universities are trying to move toward online content and support.
“One of the criteria employers look at is to see how technically proficient they are and online learning is a real advantage.”
Perceptions of quality also need to be addressed. “Quality assurance is what they [employers] want and online pro grammes need to be quality assured. We need a systematic and serious quality assurance process to make sure online degrees are meeting the same standards or even better standards than traditional universities. I agree that we want to avoid degree mills,” Senteni said.
Long boy said employers are more open to degree holders from top rated schools. If it was less well known then there is skepticism.
Mohammad Sabunchi is a recent graduate of Cass Business School Dubai’s Executive MBA programme and has noticed that online learning is being offered by several business schools these days.
“I would say I prefer the sit down learning with the online as a support facility. It really works well in executive education,” the managing director for an IT consultancy firm said.
Sabunchi pointed out that online learning has improved significantly in the case of video conferencing where students still have the element of the classroom situation.
“At Cass Business School I was impressed with the structure of the programme which combined an online facility and face to face. It worked perfectly for those at a managerial level and who were busy with life and work.”
Tim Travers, a current Cass Business School EMBA student, also prefers a combination of face to face and online learning. “You couldn’t do these classes without online support — the networking is enhanced by a strong online support coupled with regular workshops and fairly regular social events held by the business school,” he said.

By Amelia Naidoo