Online college degrees worth anything?

I am serving on active duty in the military. I attend online classes from Columbia College of Missouri. I have a few co-workers who also do online college, but they attend what I perceive to be "bogus" colleges: Strayer University, American Military University, University of Phoenix etc. Talking about how school is going for us often comes up in casual conversation around work, and I just can't help but shake the feeling that the colleges they're going to are *far* easier than the one to which I'm going. One guy says he does 3-4 classes per school term while working full time just like me in the same job. I honestly can only handle at the most 2 classes per school term, and I definitely prefer one per term simply because it's not so stressful on me. He tells me how he just goes online and makes discussion posts about a few sentences in length and he doesn't have proctored exams or anything like that! Am I working so hard for nothing, or do employers out there really see these colleges as I do: a joke. Any perspectives from experienced employers, professionals would be greatly appreciated.

Update:

Thanks for the feedback. Ok. I see that I was quite wrong about AMU. My apologies to you all. I definitely did not do any research on that school. But The guy who talk about barely doing any work is the one who attends Strayer. Any info on that school?

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  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well it just so happens my wife also attends Columbia College online and I attend American Military University, albeit different degree plans. To be honest, I believe Columbia College and AMU are very similar in their online courses requiring initial posts and responses as well as tests and term papers. My wife did attend University of Phoenix a few years ago, and that seemed much easier but it could be because she wasn’t taking upper level courses at the time. I am able to manage two courses at a time while working, but I have to stagger them. For example, I began my current class at the beginning of February and I will begin my next course at the beginning of March. What this does for me is normally I will have a midterm due one week, the next week I’ll start my next course, then I’ll have a midterm and a final due at the same time. I prefer this method so I’m not overwhelmed with trying to learn two new professors, do two midterms, type out my term papers, and do two finals each in the same week.

    Source(s): Current AMU Student & Wife is current Columbia College Student and former University of Phoenix Student
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Alan, I have tried UofPhoenix, amongst a few other online colleges, and honestly, I don't feel the education you get there comes anywhere near what it should, in my honest opinion. The classwork was too easy, I took 2 classes per 8 weeks, 4 classes per semester basically, and students could log on the last day of every week, input some BS stuff and just pass their classes. I am a stay at home mom, I home school our children, I applied to AMU and I love the class options available to me. The classes are very challenging and the school credits are accepted at any accredited school if you choose to transfer. It's wonderful that most of the books are available electronically so I can download them and read them anywhere, highlight, search information, print out what I want to notate and I don't have to pay for a book or a rental that I have to worry about trying to get back in a timely manner or pay way too much money for a book i won't be using again anytime soon, if ever. Your friend is not taking 4 classes at once, He's taking 2 sets of 2, a semester is 16 weeks, the classes are 8 weeks each, so he's taking 4 classes per semester which is about the most anyone can handle and considered full time.

  • 7 years ago

    When I moved from north to south a civil service employment office said my college degree was not approved by their governing board down here. Years later I found they were wrong but they kept me from getting a job that required a degree (which I had). Anyway I didn't know there was any governing body that determines if a school is a good one or not, if the credits are transferable or not. Some for sure take courses if a person is in the military and I know that because I took a few correspondence courses years ago that the military approved of

    If I were you first I'd determine what college or university I was going to attend after I got out of the military and ask them what they will approve and what they won't.

    After working years and years in an office setting I can tell you that some of the schools didn't make the grade. One reason was because when you are in the classroom you get to interact with the teacher and students more than you would thru internet courses. I would not hire someone who had all internet courses. And I know that the tests aren't difficult for online courses and that you really earn your grade when you attend a brick and mortar college. But that's just me. You, however will have yours transferred in eventually to a brick and mortar college so you'll be ok.

    When kids are in high school I usually suggest they take community college courses for the first two years and get their AA in something and work while they school and pay each course as they take it. Then go to a 4-year college, transfer in courses from that AA certificate, and then take their final two years while they earn to pay for that schooling. A community college is easier than a college and a college is easier than a university. So the folks that are taking internet courses to get their degree are pretending they did the work a university requires when they really did not. when they get out on the job and are expected to hit the round running they are unprepared.

    I don't know when your military would be finished but take courses to keep you busy and thinking ahead and maybe even the easier required courses like philosophy, psychology, english, business math, algebra 1, biology and others and then when you get out take the heavier courses. Lots of places hire the former military.

  • 7 years ago

    I can't speak for the other schools you listed, but I can definitely tell you that American Military University is not a bogus college. They are fully accredited and their classes are in no way "easy". I was able to take 2 classes at a time while working full time, but that's because I don't have kids and my husband works at night, so I had a lot of free time after work. Otherwise, I don't think I would have been able to get it done. As another person posted, the coursework is demanding and not in anyway full of "bird" courses. As with all schools, your coursework will depend on your professor, but the professors at AMU were great. Anybody can go to school and do the bare minimum just to get by, it doesn't mean that the school is bad, they obviously just don't care to put in as much effort as others may.

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  • 7 years ago

    I have no experience in what employers think of American Military University (AMU) but I will be finding out for myself in a few months as I get deeper into my job search after completing my BA in Security Management with a concentration in Information Security and an undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity. I have heard from several sources that AMU is highly regarded by most of the government contractors in the D.C. area.

    I can vouch for the fact that the courses at AMU at not easy and require a lot of work to finish the assigned discussion postings, labs, and research papers. I have been taking 2 classes per term since June 2012 with AMU. I have nothing but good things to say about AMU and their courses. I highly recommend AMU to anyone who needs the higher education but does not have the time to go to a brick and mortar institution.

  • 7 years ago

    I, too, am an American Military University graduate. Many factors must be taken into consideration when pursuing your education. I started my college education after retiring from the military as an E-7; therefore, I am the classic "adult learner." The military provided me education, training, and experience over the 23 years that I served; however, I didn't have the time to attend courses within the traditional "brick and mortar" environment. The online platform at AMU allowed me to pursue my academic goals, and validate the training/experience received via the USAF.

    Many announcements for employment state that you must have a degree to apply for the position. It doesn't state that the degree must be from a "branded" university. AMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a member of the North Central Association (NCA). Through accreditation, other colleges should accept course work from AMU. If you decide to transfer, it is up to you to verify what course work a college will, or won't accept.

    I completed my MA in Emergency and Disaster Mgt in 2012, and I have never been questioned about the integrity of AMU. On my personnel file it indicates that I have a bachelor's degree earned in 2006 (from Capella, another online university) and a master's degree in 2012. As a side-note, I used my MGIB Post 9/11 GI Bill to fund my master's degree.

    Both degrees (from online universities) have been instrumental in salary negotiations, and if I didn't have the degrees, I can assure you that my current salary wouldn't be where it is today.

    One of my former Commander's is also an AMU alumnus, and he has it right on his bio. You can click the provided link and see where he identifies his Masters from AMU.

    LInk: http://www.ang.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-13...

  • I can't speak to the other schools, but as an employee of the VA I can state AMU is fully regionally accredited and highly respected in the government. I received my Master of Arts in Management from AMU and I have several of my charges who are currently enrolled. The course work was challenging, the instructors were experts in their field, and I feel I received a great value for my dollar.

    Remember, the world is changing. In 10 years, online education will outnumber the traditional brick and mortar schools easily. Change is never easy for some to understand, but it is unavoidable.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    7 years ago

    I will chime in on this.

    I am also another AMU Alumni and recently graduated with my Masters of Arts in Intelligence Studies. Being active duty, I must have searched high and low for a school that could not only fit my schedule, but my budget (Navy TA + GI Bill top up). I found that AMU was the best fit for me, this was after looking at several other schools such as:

    The University of Oklahoma

    The University of Alabama

    The University of Florida

    Oklahoma State University

    Penn. St. University

    As you can see, the schools listed above are traditional “brick and mortar” schools, yet have online campuses. The only difference between AMU and the respective schools listed above, is that AMU specializes in distance learning. There is top notch programs offered online, you just need to find the program that fits you the best.

    ** On a side note, if you do a quick google search, you’ll quickly learn that traditional brick and mortar schools are branching out and creating online campuses. The term “online” is nothing more than an avenue for learning.

    Before choosing your school, ensure that it is regionally accredited.

    Hope this helps

  • 7 years ago

    I attend American Military University and I did the research before I attended. I can tell you that 1. It is a fully accredited school and 2. It is definitely not easy. I don't know about your coworker's degree plan or school but I can tell you that I can't do more then one class while working full time. I got my BA from them in International Relations and am working on my MA in Intelligence Collection. I also work at BAE Systems and not only do they recognize the school as legitimate but they also have a grant option (I believe if you take 5 classes in the year the 6th one's price is greatly reduced but don't quote me on that because I use my GI Bill. Which is also significant because if the school were that much of a scam I don't think the VA would be willing to pay for it!)

    That being said, I don't know what your coworker is talking about because I am only able to take one class at a time while working full time! Every week I have to post forum posts but they have to be in-depth and significantly longer then a few sentences! (Usually 500-1000 words) and I have to respond in depth to at least two other students forum posts (250-1000 words). I don't have tests to take so I can't speak to that but we have 30 page papers due for every class.

    Overall I would say that no you aren't wasting your time but I wouldn't be so quick to judge online schools. I can't speak highly enough about my school. It's challenging and I can't speak highly enough about my instructors (who work in the fields that they teach in)

  • As an online student yourself, I think you would agree that you get out of a program what you put into it. The classroom format is different from school to school and each student is unique in the number of courses they can take at one time. I'm currently enrolled in American Military University's MBA program and I have actually found some of my courses very difficult. The ones that I have found easier are due to the fact that I had real-life experience with the subjects. The discussion posts for most of our courses have to be at least 250 words in length and cite peer review articles or journals. As for proctored exams, some of our courses do require them and that proctor has to be approved by the instructor.

    AMU has received numerous awards for its quality of education and U.S. News & World Report named our undergraduate programs among the best in overall quality for second consecutive year in 2014 online rankings. As for the reputation among employers, 99% who employ one of our graduates said they would hire another and 84% would recommend the university to their employees. You’re welcome to visit our Facebook page if you have any other questions about the validity of a degree from AMU – our students and alumni are happy to share their experiences with you as you can see in the other responses!

    Thank you for your military service and good luck during the rest of your degree program.

    Madeline

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