Has the Pandemic Shifted Perceptions of Online Degrees?

Alex Azoury hates to say it, but before the COVID-19 outbreak, he didn’t hold online degrees in the same regard as regular degrees. He’s since altered his mind.
Azoury, the founder of Home Grounds, a coffee education website, said, “I am far more likely to take a remote degree seriously now than I was a year ago.” “I now see how wrong I was, and I’m sure a lot of other bosses feel the same way.”

Over the years, fully online degrees have had a terrible name, which has been exacerbated by shady diploma mills and fraudulent for-profit universities. Because distance education does not take place in a classroom, there is a notion that it is inferior to campus-based learning.
However, the widespread adoption of online learning during the pandemic, as well as the steady rise in online degrees and certificates since the mid-2000s, casts doubt on that assumption.

Education was one of the industries that had to react to COVID-19 and offer exclusively online solutions to stop the virus from spreading. Every university virtually became an online university while the pandemic was at its worst.
Meanwhile, most organizations have transitioned to remote work, relying on technology that is comparable to that used in digital learning. Employers suddenly needed staff who could work in a remote environment.

Skeptics who were earlier opposed to hiring individuals who earned their degrees entirely online have altered their thoughts. According to a recent survey, hiring managers are now more willing than before the epidemic to recruit people with online schooling.

Are you more likely to hire applicants with online education since the pandemic?

A study of 1,006 recruiting supervisors was conducted by FutureLearn.
The quick shift in thinking is paralleled by the long-term expansion of online education. The number of students taking solely online courses increased from 2.6 million to 3.4 million between 2013 and 2020.
All of this raises the question of whether the epidemic has leveled the playing field between traditional and online degrees. Since the outbreak, we’ve questioned employers, instructors, and school authorities how they feel about online degrees.

Has the Pandemic Changed Your Perception of Online Degrees?

Phil Ollenberg, assistant registrar, Bow Valley College

“Early in this public health crisis, enrollment leaders observed student, parent, and employer impressions of online learning drop dramatically[er] — in part due to the last-minute adjustments needed to bring in-person teaching online… Quality and caliber have grown dramatically over the last fourteen months, and a lot of reports demonstrate that attitudes of online college and university education have improved along with it.”

Willie Greer, founder, The Product Analyst

Now that everyone is going to school online, I believe it is important for businesses to recognize the value of an online degree. I used to think it wasn’t a good idea to recruit people with online degrees because their education seemed to be unusual, and not all higher education institutions provide online programs, but the pandemic has changed my mind.”

Janelle Owens, human resources director, Test Prep Insight

“As a result of COVID, attitudes about online degrees are clearly evolving. Given the nature and infrastructure of online education, I believe many hiring managers used to doubt the authenticity of online degrees, but COVID has helped to change that perception. People are starting to realize that online education may be just as effective as in-person classes, if not more efficient and streamlined. “I believe the winds around online degrees have moved significantly in the previous year.”

Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer | Mettl

“We’re moving into an era when online degrees are accepted.” Globally, the education sector is undergoing tremendous changes, and the student population is also tech-savvy and digitally native, allowing them to adapt. However, we must recognize that it is a continuous process, and we are gradually heading in that direction. It will take time for a wider and [easier] acceptance of the credibility and authority of online degrees.

Matthew Gilbert, lecturer of marketing, Coastal Carolina University

The extensive move to remote learning in response to COVID-19 has proved the usefulness of online learning, reinforcing its perception among those who recognize its value and establishing its potential among those who previously doubted its competence.
“However, the quality and reputation of the school that offers an online option should be considered. Individuals should look for programs that started out as an on-campus program at a non-profit university and then extended to an online platform, either as a separate project or as a blended learning option.”

John Davis, marketing manager, Passion Plans

“I believe I’ve become more receptive to employing someone with an online degree, but I’ve also made it a point to ask individuals why they chose the degree they did.”

Andrea Ahern, vice president, Mid Florida Material Handling

“Like traditional degrees, the value of online degrees is strongly influenced by the institution that awards them. My opinion hasn’t altered much as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. I prefer a traditional degree to an online degree in general. There are times when I would prefer a top online degree over a lower-tier traditional institution, but you have to weigh the pros and cons.”

Rick Hoskins, founder, Filter King

“I’ve worked in marketing and online for a long time, and I’ve always taken online degrees with a grain of salt. You should double-check and verify anything you find on the internet. In terms of online degrees, my viewpoint remains unchanged.”