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Should diplomas for online degrees state that courses and degree programs were completed fully online?

Online distance education is here to stay. Many universities have started offering degrees that can be completed fully online. However, the diplomas offered by universities currently do not distinguish between courses and degrees that are completed fully online.
Hence my question for discussion:
Should diplomas for online degrees state that courses and degree programs were completed fully online?
I think diplomas should state which courses were completed fully online and which degree programs were completed fully online.
Employers can decide if they wish to hire those who earned their diplomas entirely online.
I am talking about first degrees that people earn, not advanced degrees that people with experience are awarded after they complete online programs – that is a topic for another conversation.

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    Mar 12 2014: A competency is a competency wether it was achieved f2f or online. Just because a student did not have to park does not mean they did not achieve the competencies of the course or the degree earned. It is far more important to review the rigor of the school itself.

    An MBA is an MBA wether it is online or f2f. But an MBA from Harvard has more weight than an MBA from a for-profit degree mill- either online or f2f.
    • Mar 12 2014: I am concerned that it is easier to cheat in online courses than in f2f courses. There are also many more ways to cheat in online courses than in f2f settings.
      Unless students are proctored during exams, quizzes and tests, I think students can get away by learning less in online courses than in courses that are taught in f2f settings. You can deny this, but I have done some research, and am continuing to do more research on the topic of cheating in online courses.
      Cheating in online courses is something that is happening but no one wants to talk about it. When someone brings up this topic, the usual response is silence or denial or some deflective statements like “Instructors have to create innovative quizzes, tests and exams.” Colleges and universities typically ignore the fact that students are cheating in online courses and programs because these courses and programs generate additional funding for institutions of higher education.
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        Mar 13 2014: Oh I agree. But students cheat just as much in a classroom as they do online. Pen cameras taking photos of exams, entire textbooks in calculators. I could go on at how creative students can be.

        The thing is we have to figure out better ways of assessment other than exams tests and quizzes. How about an apprentice model or some type of mentoring project? Practical application of theory?

        The reality is students cheat, the educational delivery method is irrelevant. We have to become better at assessing competencies than silly educational psychology cognitive assessment would dictate.
        • Mar 13 2014: Students have to understand theory before they can apply it. How do we measure if they understand the theory? By using cognitive assessments that you labeled “silly”?
          Apprenticeships and mentored projects are experiences that can help students learn, but it is difficult to provide experiences when there are large numbers of students enrolled in online courses and programs. Also how do you monitor such experiences? Rich students can always pay someone else to complete such experiences for them.
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        Mar 14 2014: The reality is that students cheat. Period. Just because you are standing in a room with them does not mean they are not cheating. So you have to live in that reality and think outside silly cognitive measurements. Rich kids have ALWAYS been paying other people to do their stuff - write papers, take exams. Nothing new here. You are never assured that students actually have the theory. Get over it.

        You can always expect that all exams are open book, open note and expect students to be on google during exams. So you can leverage timed exams and level the exam to the analysis or synthesis level if you are so stuck on examination as documentation of mastery. And yeah, the rich kids will pay someone else to take it or to sit next to them and give them the answers or radio it into a receiver in their ear - even with video and fingerprinting security online. But those kids are probably getting the answers in their ear in the classroom too.

        You can always level questions. Instead of "Which of the following" to "In an analysis of... the priority would be..." and make it an analysis level question, where they cannot just look up an answer. But I would never use cognitive assessments like that in the online environment. I would probably put that into a discussion or something. Depends on course outcomes.

        So if you have students in a social science class studying social interactions in other cultures, why not have them interview a community member, videotape themselves doing the interview (not the participant) and write a reflective paper that incorporates the theory. The application of the theory demonstrates the mastery. And yes, the rich kid will pay someone to write the paper but they still have to submit the video. The same could work with apprenticeships. We are just stuck teaching the way we were taught and we have to get past it.

        Besides in the greater scheme of life, content mastery fades over time.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRBW8eJGTVs
        • Mar 14 2014: The alternatives that you propose are time consuming and resource intensive and may not be applicable to all content areas.

          Many, not all, students will find ways to pass courses with the minimum effort, and will also find ways to cheat.

          As I said earlier, there are many more ways to cheat in online courses and degree programs than in f2f courses.
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        Mar 15 2014: Actually they are not all that time consuming and resource intensive if you know what you're doing and how to measure several competencies in one assignment.. I still maintain it is not easier to cheat online than f2f. The methods are just different.
        • Mar 24 2014: I still think that the alternatives you proposed are time consuming and resource intensive and may not always be possible to accomplish..

          I know that it is easier to chat in online courses, and students can definitely cheat in many more ways in online courses.
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    Mar 7 2014: Many universities that offer both offline and online degrees are careful to make a distinction in the degree according to whether it is achieved through their online program. It would be fraudulent to misrepresent on an application what the degree was that one achieved.

    An example is Harvard, which offers both a BA and a BSc as culminating degrees for their Harvard College students, but the degree for students who achieve an undergraduate degree through Harvard Extension, which includes both online and offline courses, is called something like an LBA and is awarded on Extension Studies.

    While the student who graduated in Extension by taking Extension courses can say he has a degree from Harvard, a written resume or CV should indicate the actual degree earned, particularly because the courses may be pitched and the students evaluated very differently than those applicable to the Harvard College student.
    • Mar 7 2014: Some universities offer degrees completely online and these degrees are offered by academic units that also offer traditional degrees that have to be earned by completing the necessary coursework in face-to-face classroom settings, and not by offices of continuing education or extension.
      I am not sure if the diplomas state which courses and which degrees were earned the traditional way and which were completed fully online.
      I think it is the responsibility of the university that is awarding a degree to make sure that the diplomas state that courses and completed and degrees were completed fully online.
  • Mar 7 2014: Unnecessary. The institutions can be easily looked up. When a degree has been an issue, I have always had to provide transcripts that identify the institutions in question. They can be looked up.
    • Mar 7 2014: The institution can be looked up. But many well established traditional universities are offering degrees that can be earned fully online.
      Information contained in the diploma or the transcripts may not be sufficient to determine if the degree program was completed fully online or by attending classes the old fashioned way.