Is a degree from an on-line university = to a degree from a brick and mortar university?

Over the years, I’ve seen several threads from people seeking advice on which online university to enroll in. I generally discount one’s degree if it was received from an on-line university. I interview approximately 20 people in any given year for experienced professional business roles within our company. In my 25 years of experience, I can only remember interviewing one person with an online degree. It didn’t work out.

I’ve read many articles discussing the ongoing cheating problems with online degree programs, which includes students hiring other people to take their tests for them, etc. Many of these students are also financing their online degrees with government student loans.

So are online universities just really a scam? Do employers see value in someone with an online degree? Given the level of unemployment, all things being equal, wouldn’t the brick & mortar degree holder have a leg up on the on-line degree holder.

Curious what your thoughts are.

Let me clarify my statement re: financing their degree with student loans. Generally I think student loans are a good thing that makes getting a college degree more available to anyone that has the intellect to go to college or university.

My beef is with using student loans to game the system to pay for online tuition, then turn around and pay someone else to take your tests.

As a person who hires, a degree from a brick and mortar means a lot more than a degree from the University of Phoenix.

There are some pros and cons in the online educational situation, for the validity aspect. I won’t go into them (too early in the morning) but in my experience, any online class I took from a brick and mortar university was at least twice as demanding as the normal classes. My gf took some classes at the U of Phoenix and it was about the same for her. I think the real problem is in the cheating and accreditation aspects-if it’s a ‘legitimate’ school, it will be accredited, or at least working on it.

As a librarian I spend a lot of time helping people with their online “learning”. No way would I hire anybody with one of those “degrees”.

About half of the credits I took when I completed my degree were on line, half were in classroom.

I had some very challenging on line classes, and classroom courses that were jokes.

You have no way of knowing how rigorous the course work was; rejecting applicants based upon the format of the classes they took is nothing more than institutional snobbery. Really no different than automatically rejecting students whose degree was from a regional state school, for example.

I’m attending a brick and mortar and have one on-line class. I agree that it is more demanding in certain aspects but in no way compares to the in class experience. I had never taken an on-line class before so I thought I’d experiment with a subject that has nothing to do with my degree and is relatively easy for me. Thank goodness. At least I now know.

I’d always disparaged on-line universities but felt I shouldn’t judge until I experienced it. My opinion has not changed.

I consider a degree from a reputable school to be a decent degree regardless of whether it was gotten online or in person. In fact, can you even tell? Does an online MBA from Carnegie-Mellon indicate it as such, or does it look the same as an in-person MBA from Carnegie-Mellon?

That said, I don’t consider the University of Phoenix to be a reputable school, nor are the many other for-profit online degrees.

I have a close relative who got her doctorate from University of Phoenix. Everyone is all giddy - a Doctor in the family! I have to bite my tongue whenever they speak of it. The relative is bright and has a good job and all that, and I was super surprised when she opted for such a shady establishment. I’ve tried to talk to her about it, and get a blank stare, and she truly doesn’t seem to get it.

I work at a college with hybrid students.
They can take classes in the school (and most programs don’t even offer online for the core program) but can take some online classes for their GenEd’s (English, math, science, art history, etc.) if they wish. We do offer those GenEd classes on-ground, but not every term.

The online are twice as hard! Same book and same work in half the time! Most students say the online is much, much harder - you have to have a lot of self-discipline to go online often and keep up, or you quickly fall behind. Plus, they don’t mess around online - no BS about your dog ate your homework, etc. - it is either done and submitted on time or you are SOL. Our online uses software that catches even an iota or whiff of plagiarism. Plus, they have a minimum of three assignments per week that are graded very strictly. If you get an “A” in an online course, you can bet you worked your ass off to get it…no “teacher’s pets” or “doing the minimum” there!

We also have a lot of teachers getting their Master’s or even a Doctorate degree online - and every one has said it is a hell of a lot of work. Many have said it was far more difficult than when they went to a brick and mortar school. A couple of them have failed!

So, based off that - I can say that online is no walk in the park. At least in the course structure we have.

Assuming online university = a university which offers courses online only (or primarily), then hell no. Along the lines of Athena’s post, though, my wife got an MBA from the Wharton School online and nobody knows the difference.

Note that “for-profit” does not necessarily mean “online.” Plenty of those schools have physical campuses and classes.

That’s why I mentioned primarily online schools. I don’t care if you went to the University of Phoenix in an actual building.

The OP is not asking about the difficulty of online degrees, programs, and classes, he is asking if there is a preference in hiring someone who attained a degree from an online school versus one with walls. There seems to be several varieties: Brick-and-mortar schools with online classes and programs, and schools that exist only online. It is an interesting question, especially in today’s economy.

Nod to the question about getting a degree online from a brick-and-mortar school - how would any hiring manager know/would they care?

I would never allow an application with a mail-order degree on it past my desk. I would first filter out any school that’s not accredited by one of the regional groups, and then filter out the few for-profit shifty places that got accredited. (Usually by buying up a legitimate but financially struggling place.)

One sad thing that has happened, however, is that HR departments are filling up fast with people who got junk degrees and they are all-too-happy to help similar people get in the door.

The scam nature is very high for virtually all of these places. Their goal is to get people enrolled, have the “students” get loans, send the loan money to the school, and ta-da, profit. Graduation rates are extremely low and most of those end up quite disappointed with their job propects.

The thing that completely baffles me is that there are these public colleges all over the place with better degrees and cheaper tuition. Many have night and on-line programs.

If someone isn’t smart enough to know which of these is the smarter choice, why would anyone hire them?

Are the degrees equivalent? Not in any rational universe.

I’m not seeing anything about an online Wharton MBA program. Got a link?

Never mind. She says she did her MBA at the state university we both went to for undergrad via some program run “in conjunction with Wharton”. So apparently it’s only me that doesn’t know the difference. :o

The answer to the OP is “not yet.”

I teach a course on economics and finance of higher education. Every year, I invite one of my former students, who is a dean at U of Phoenix. Bright guy, brilliant in every respect, and he is a terrific ambassador of UoP. However, where is he getting his degree? At our public flagship university.

For simple credentialing - you need this competency to get promoted, to perform a certain job - UoP and many other institutions, like Penn State, will do the trick. It’s much more about process than signaling - in other words, you prosper because you learned and worked hard, not because people are impressed by your degree. But in the grand scheme of things, schools compete in large part because of the signals the institutions emit. You wouldn’t pay to go to Harvard, or Carnegie Mellon, if you could get the same education elsewhere. There is something about being a graduate of either institution that makes the cost worthwhile.

Blending - having some aspects of the degree performed online - is a likely future direction for institutions, especially public ones. There is very little hope for increased governmental expenditures for higher ed, and consumers (parents/students) will not willingly go into significant debt for degrees. “Efficiency” is the watchword in higher ed today, and the best way to reduce costs is to not pay for faculty and facilities.

You’ll notice that even brick and mortar institutions that offer online degrees differentiate them - because, of course, if the degrees were identical, why would anyone pay for the former? In the future, I suppose there’s a possibility among less selective schools that online will equal b&m. But there are key aspects that aren’t replicable, at least not easily, in the virtual environment. Peer effects, and the ability to note that your classmate is a political leader or business owner is much more difficult when you don’t have the ability to develop those relationships.

The Open University is well-regarded in the UK. It’s not considered as good as Oxbridge, obviously, but it wouldn’t be discounted by employers and it definitely is a real university.

That’s the only one I know of like that though.

In the 25-10 years ago range, online universities were pretty thin on the ground, so I don’t think you can really consider that whole range of experience to be representative.

I would say that it depends on the university in question, but that there are lots of brick and mortar universities that are better than any online university I’ve ever heard of.

Sorry; I was addressing the OP and the thread in general, not your comment. Several others seemed to be making that assumption.