From Oxford to MIT, many of the world’s leading universities are now offering online courses and distance learning is an opportunity being seized upon by more and more people. Online courses have gone from something of a joke, with a reputation for being of a lower quality than a traditional degree, to becoming a viable avenue for high quality and affordable education. With universities facing ever increasing administrative costs and requiring more money to run and maintain than ever before, prospective students are finding this trend reflected in rising tuition fees in addition to a generally increasing cost of living in the United States.
Liberal Western democracies often struggle to take on children from poorer economic backgrounds. For a variety of reasons, the online degree has now earned its credibility and students who would otherwise be unable to attend higher education now have an opportunity to either continue their learning from college or, in some cases, begin the first tier of their higher education. The Open University is a public distance learning and research university in the UK and was the first institution of its kind, operating since 1969. A big part of the reason for its creation was to make high-quality education available to as wide an audience as possible, not just in terms of costs but also of circumstance. As such, The Open University allows students to opt for taking their course over a longer period of time than normal so that learning can be fitted around a student’s individual needs and circumstances. Now, there are many institutions like the Open University and most of the big US universities have online branches that are of the same standard as a dedicated institution, such as Rutgers Online.
Some students are deterred from pursuing a university degree because they fail to get into their preferred higher education establishment and can’t find another university that offers not just the right course but also the right location. Other times, students find that their preferred course isn’t widely available and so their choice of university and therefore living locations are reduced. Distance learning means that as long as the course is offered by an institution then a student can choose to study it from wherever they please. This is also allowing many leading institutions to offer courses that they would previously not have considered and for some highly specialized degrees, this makes a big difference to students and the industries they enter.
Rutgers offer a highly regarded master of information management, which was previously only for those who find New Jersey suits them as a home but now open to anyone owing to Rutgers online master of information program. The online MLIS degree offered by Rutgers carries the same weight with other institutions as a traditional degree.
It was not long ago when an online degree was more of a punchline than a serious academic pursuit, but now online degrees have the same legitimacy as traditional degrees. Online degrees are constantly evolving and improving and soon our society will be able to reap the benefits of a more widely educated population and greater access for all to pursue their academic