The prospects for e-learning just got brighter in The Sunshine State. Rattler Nation, the blog of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) reports in a December 3, 2010 post that "FAMU administrators received the green light to launch the university’s first online degree programs."
This approval was prompted by a desire "to tap into the rapidly growing market of online education," the Rattler Nation story reports, and, for starters, online curricula have been approved for the following FAMU master's programs:
But this modest initial rollout belies the extravagant hopes FAMU administrators have placed on online education's future. FAMU has joined forces with fellow historically black colleges and universities to assemble HBCU Online, a division of the Tom Joyner Online Education company. FAMU's partner institutions include:
The Rattler Online piece quotes CEO Tom Joyner himself, who states that FAMU and its fellow HBCUs intend “'to take our students back from institutions like University of Phoenix which currently enrolls nearly 200,000 black students."
So many institutions competing for online students can only work to the advantage of people for whom traditional residential higher education just isn't an option. And with reputable institutions like FAMU and its sister HBCUs getting into the game, degrees online only stand to gain an added sheen of respectability. George Lenard, keeper of George's Employment Blawg, acknowledges as much in a post dated December 2, 2010. "In the future, it is likely that online degrees will gain more acceptance in business circles," he writes.
Until then, college hopefuls must be aware of the pitfalls associated with choosing the wrong educational institution. Employers would also be wise to educate themselves concerning the different online universities. A solid applicant might be passed over simply because they didn’t attend the “right” college or university. In that case, both the employer and the job candidate would lose out.
Undoubtedly, with time will come familiarity with various online degree programs' reputations. The fact is, as more and more job candidates submit resumés featuring online-program credentials, employers will be forced to take notice. Thus FAMU Rattlers -- indeed, e-learners everywhere -- need not worry that a degree earned online necessarily means snakebit career prospects.