I normally associate anything to do with Gov Rick Perry (TX) as bad. But this challenge of his for under $10k degrees was definitely a step in the correct direction. The concern by learning institutions that “…making sure businesses trust the degree enough to hire graduates” is most likely profit driven, rather than an actual concern. Those doing the hiring mostly look at the person, the interview, quick check for degree present, then on more rare occasions – where the degree came from. But hardly ever would examine what method of with education was delivered to earn that degree. (Unless student was foolish enough to mention on resume degree was from online courses. Or school was in indicating it was online degree on Cert it’s self. :>)
I feel the concern by schools that online degrees may generate a belief by employers that “…the programs will eliminate critical thinking or problem solving from higher education..” is also a non-issue. As employers already have that belief for even degrees the students earn in person. It is not the education delivery method that has generated that reputation (and fact), it is the disconnect between the knowledge delivered to students and the knowledge/skill actually required by employers.
Schools currently have a reputation among employers as ‘filling’ the 4 years with non-value added education, just to be filling the 4 year time slot, and providing very little if any ‘real-world’ skills to the students. The biggest cause of that rightfully earned bad reputation is the core mentality of a ‘Degree’ program having to be a certain amount of hours/years as opposed to a certain amount of knowledge and skills for said degree/occupation. Followed by a close second cause of using outdated hard-copy books and curriculum that are not easily updated as the occupation’s and employer’s needs evolve each year. (By the time the students graduates, they are 4 years behind the times, sometimes even more because their instructor and books are from an industry over 10 years in the past. IE: book publish date 2002<)
With the evolution of online degrees, the educational industry now has the opportunity to reverse the negative reputation with educational material and curriculum updated each year based on employer’s/industry’s needs. Keeping the cost down to under 10k may create us a very different and effective future educational system. I see an employer saying in the future to a new hire …”Your degree is from 10 years ago!, You need to go online and update your degree.” I see a day when a bright individual will be embarrassed driving around with a 1999 degree. :>) And from the school’s profit concerns, think about students not as a one time customer, but a repeat customer, returning every 5 years for their entire life. See, the core mentality of education needs to be challenged and evolved. What worked in the past, wont work in the future.
The $10k< Degree needs to be a national initiative, not just a Texas one!
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