Does an Online University Degree Count with Human Resources?

Nick Fishman

EmployeeScreenIQ recently released our annual background screening trends survey: “Threading The Needle: Employment Background Screening in an Age of Increased Litigation and Legislation.” More than 650 HR professionals from across the country, in organizations large and small, shared their thoughtful (and sometimes surprising) insights on everything from falsified resumes to the phenomenon of Facebook in our revealing 20-page report.  Listed below is one of our Top Findings which deals with how HR professionals view online universities.

Division Over Online Universities:

Employers are divided on the legitimacy of online universities. 45% believe that online universities are less credible than brick-and-mortar universities, while 55% do not. For employers who are ambivalent about this issue, the next few years will likely help them clarify their positions, as more and more trusted, brick-and-mortar schools are expected to add online programs.

While some employers embrace the “advantages” that online universities offer attendees (such as lower costs, flexible scheduling and accelerated programs—all of which can be helpful to students who already hold jobs or who cannot afford tuition at traditional universities), other employers remain wary of online options due to the less-than-ideal reputation these programs earned when they first gained recognition.

This negative perception has been slowly but steadily changing, not only in the court of public opinion but among educators themselves. And even well-known traditional universities have begun offering their own online programs. If these trends continue, employers’ perceptions will likely shift accordingly. Additionally, it will be interesting to see whether employers come to prefer or make distinctions between brick-and-mortar institutions that have online courses and those that offer only online course work.

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Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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  • Gregg DesElms

    Every one of those HR professionals — especially the 45% who question distance learning — should have called to their attention the June 2009 study commissioned by the US Department of Education…

    …which study found that distance learners were generally more serious, more self-disciplined, worked harder, and did better than their in-classroom counterparts.

    HR people need to stay on top of their game; keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s going on, else they end-up being no better at sitting in judgement of anyone than a juror who, as the old joke goes, was too stupid to get out of jury duty. People’s very lives are impacted — often adversely — by both.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com