Evaluating The Quality of Online Education Programs Versus Traditional Universities

The old thinking used to be that college education could only occur on an accredited four-year campus. Then came a proliferation of correspondence schools and alternative universities. Now, an emerging campus for the 21st century is online education.

Taking courses via the Internet has been reality for more than a decade, and the benefits are numerous. There is the time saved without having to commute to a physical campus, which helps busy professionals who work during the day but are interested in taking courses in the evening in hopes of transitioning careers. Online education can also be more convenient and cost effective for parents with young children, since childcare does not have to be arranged for anyone attending online school. Beyond that, there is the simple comfort of being able to attend a class remotely in the comfort of one's own home. One shouldn't have to sit in a classroom to get an education.

That being said, online college presents its own set of challenges, chief among them that there seem to be more options these days for it than ever. In fact, it's easy to get lost in the crush of Web sites, trying to decipher who is legit and who is not. Everyone says that they're the best on the Internet. A lot of the schools aren't cheap either so wrong decisions can be costly and provide essentially useless certificates, degrees if they can even be referred to as such. Having a central point to review schools online can significantly help anyone researching education via the Web. It can be the fundamental difference.

Say someone is looking for radiology technician schools they can attend online (such schools do exist). A prospective student would want to know: which of these schools are up on the latest technologies; which ones actually have doctors or other medical professionals on staff rather than would-be professors who were delivering pizzas a few weeks before; and which of the schools provide a realistic chance at a job in health care or least a reasonable career search when all the classes are done. After all, an education is a career finder, perhaps as much as anything else. Same thing goes for anyone looking for online nursing degrees or training as an X-ray technician, phlebotomist, or medical administrator.

The best online schools are the ones that set their students up for success, rather than simply offering a quick and dirty experience disguised as education. The best online schools aren't just about taking people's money. The best online schools are exactly what they say they are: schools.