Is an online degree worth it? A global move towards online degrees

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Online degree student numbers are growing. In the UK, the latest HESA figures show that 210,005 students in the UK were studying for either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree online last year. In the US, where online learning has really taken off, Babson Research found that over six million higher education students were taking at least one online course in 2010. That number is now at more than 7 million.

Is an online degree worth it? Millions of students around the world think so.

The numbers indicate that students are increasingly being drawn to online study as a means of gaining their degree qualifications and working towards their career goals. And as a result, employers are waking up to the fact that online degree qualifications are now more and more vialble and accessible option for many students wishing to study abroad.

Employer attitudes

Online teaching is now used by mainstream, respected and long-established universities in the UK and around the world, who now offer full degree programs through the internet. Their degree courses are accredited and accepted by employers worldwide. Schools make no distinction between distance or resident degrees and, increasingly, neither do employers.

An online degree sets you apart

Students studying for an online degree face some unique challenges. The level of self-motivation, self-discipline and time management skills required of online students is often demanding. As a result, online graduates develop a greater level of confidence and self-reliance that is attractive to employers.

Better pay and job opportunities

Degree holders have always earned considerably more than non-graduates over a working lifetime, and are also more likely to be in employment. A recent report on The Complete University Guide shows the difference between graduate starting pay and the starting pay of those without university qualifications in the UK last year. This ‘graduate premium’ exists across the board, regardless of how your degree studies were delivered. With an online degree qualification added to your CV, you can expect to earn more, and for a greater range of job opportunities to open up to you too.

Give employers more – qualifications and experience

An online degree course offers flexibility. You can study from home, part-time or full-time. Because courses are delivered 24/7, you can choose when and where to study, meaning it’s perfectly possible to combine work and study at the same time. This really sets online degrees apart from traditional degree courses – and gives graduates of online programmes some significant advantages.

  • Online degree courses that are work-based are completely tailored to student’s existing jobs, and their employers are actively involved in shaping and supporting their studies. This means teaching is 100% relevant to their career goals, and that there’s no need for them to give up their existing career while they study.
  • Students choosing to continue to work while they study have the chance to implement their newfound knowledge in the real world, right away. From day one, skills can be transferred from the online classroom to the workplace – a valuable learning experience that campus-based students won’t have until term time is over.
  • Employers value students who have real world experience to bring to the table as well as the qualifications they’ve earned in the classroom.

Return on investment

Online degree course fees are lower than those charged for on-campus courses. Living costs are lower as students aren’t required to move closer to campus or pay to commute there every day. As a result, graduates from online degree programmes see a return on their course fee investment faster.

Building a global network

Online learning offers many opportunities to create a new global social life. Hanging around online after class to chat to tutors, joining video-chat study groups after hours, developing Facebook and Twitter relationships with classmates, writing for your university’s student blog – there’s a real sense of community within the online student body – and it spans the globe. With students attending from all over the world, your online degree offers you the chance to make professional contacts and friendships with people in countries far and wide – something you may not experience in the same way with an on-campus course.

The University of Lincoln Work-Based Learning top-up degrees will help you achieve your career goals and obtain a qualification with a global focus. Find out more about the Lincoln WBDL programmes.

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