Online Degree Acceptance

Published Date
01 - Jan - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jan - 2006
Online Degree Acceptance
Kaizad Pardiwalla, Vice President, OgilvyOne Worldwide

I think the concept of online education is fantastic.  It's a great method to open up education and eliminates the need for people to relocate for their studies and thus brings a whole world of opportunities into the convenience of one's home.

We strongly support and encourage online education in our organisation. A number of employees are currently enrolled in online programmes and we also have many e-learning courses on our intranet.

I think that online degrees would be relevant in fields like management, financial services, and as refresher courses for working executives who would not have the time to go to a traditional institute.
As an employer, I would not differentiate between candidates who hold online degrees and those who attended traditional brick-and-mortar institutes. What would matter to me is the person's attitude, experience and capabilities.
Gul Raj Bhatia, Country Manager, Marketing, Imaging and Printing Group, Hewlett-Packard Sales

Online degrees are catching on fast abroad, but are yet to take off in India. I feel that online courses are excellent for offbeat or niche areas of study where fewer students enrol. In a traditional institute, courses are held provided there's a minimum batch size-there is no such restriction online. It's still time before professional qualifications obtained online find acceptance, but supplementary and post-graduate degrees are gaining ground.

For employers, judging the quality of an online programme would be easier in fields like IT, Math etc. where the stress is on mathematical and analytical abilities. For subjective fields like Management or Arts, it would be difficult to pin it down and one would then need to look at the quality of teaching; and this is where I think that having a traditional degree might be more desirable. All things remaining constant, prospective employers wouldn't have issues with a candidate with an online degree-the potential and promise the candidate shows would take precedence.

Saurabh Kanwar,
National Head, Marketing, Radio City

The basic concept of online education has been around for a long time, in the form of distance education. The former is a more convenient way to deliver the same knowledge. Distance education is suitable only for some degrees. For intsance, it's fine with technical education as opposed to an MBA, which requires a face-to-face interaction and team work as part of the learning process.

Personally, without sounding like a luddite, I'd like to sample the actual knowledge dissemination process for online education, before passing judgement. What a student gains from any education depends very strongly on the quality of the pedagogy, as well as the motivation of the student. That would apply to online education too, and perhaps more so, with the reduced face-to-face interaction and supervision, and the need for a self-driven schedule at times.

As technology and bandwidth progress, we have access to richer and better content on the Web. That will surely have a positive impact on online education in the future.

S C Bhatia, Chief Executive, Datamatics Staffing Services

Big names like Harvard University offer online degree programmes, reaching out to students who seek the backing of the brand, but cannot afford the high cost of relocating and the tuition fees of such elite institutions.

The value of an online degree from a reputed college might not compare much with the traditional programme of the institute, but since these institutions can still be selective about their admissions, the brand value would still hold strong.

A concern for students taking online courses is that they aren't in personal contact with their teachers and peers. Thus, they would miss out on learning in person. Moreover, they must look at the selectivity of an institute for an online programme-if the criteria are lax and a large number of students selected, then the brand value of the course is somewhat diluted.

It is still premature to say how online degree holders will fare when compared with their traditional counterparts, but we should see online degrees gaining massive popularity by around 2010.
Ajay Mallapurkar,
Center Head, Ma Foi Management Consultants

The bitter truth that candidates with MBAs must deal with today is that they fall in one of only two categories-those who are from a top-rung institute and those who are not. The latter category are practically on a level playing field in the job market. A candidate's resume would reflect his qualification and experience-after that, the interviewer may or may not find out whether the course was done online or not depending on the direction the interview takes. If the candidate's profile speaks for him, the topic may not even come up. What matters is the individual's profile and work experience.

We have a good number of candidates in our database who hold online degrees. I have personally interviewed some of them who hold e-MBAs; I feel that for MBA degrees, at least, an online course lacks the academic rigor and depth that a traditional degree programme offers.
When recommending a candidate to a company, I would focus on the candidate's experience rather than worry about whether the qualification was obtained online or not.

Deepank Jain, Staffing Manager, Intel India

In India, online degrees are still picking up momentum. The relevance of an online degree would also depend on the field-skills that are required in the technology industry, for example, would require a lot of hands-on training and lab work and an online programme cannot offer the same.

An online degree would be useful in general, non-technical fields like management. At the ground level, though, I don't think that an online degree is a substitute for a degree obtained at traditional institution. Online degrees would help people build high-level skills in their current professions. Students could enrol for online degree programmes as a source of continuous development to enhance specific skills.

At Intel, we are still evaluating the relevance and applicability of such degrees to job profiles in our company. Currently, we look for skills that are highly technical and are supplemented by practical experience.

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