Cost of Education, Domestic, Education Quality, Ethics, For-Profit, Friend, Fraud, or Fishy, Not-for-Profit, Required, Students, University & College - Written by on Monday, November 14, 2011 7:00 - 0 Comments

The Online-College Crapshoot: The Difficulty In Finding Good Information

by Adventure Britain via Flickr under CreativeCommons

Good story in The New York Times by education writer Laura Pappano about the crapshoot of studying online…. and the lack of transparency and good information. She points to Cappella and Kaplan balking at participating in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of online schools. She points to the difficulty for students finding out details of programs when marketing is blurred with information on the programs.

This gets to the heart of why WiredAcademic exists and what we are aiming for: To provide better information and more transparent information to students and other parties. We are not a lead generator like many other sites out there. Here’s what Pappano reports:

John B. Bear, who has written guides on distance learning since 1974 and is working on one about online M.B.A.’s, says e-learning has improved a lot since the days of dial-up but finding a good program is a crapshoot. “I have two words: Be careful,” he says. “The differences among schools are significant, but hard to find.” With all manner of institutions diving in, Dr. Bear says, it’s tough to tell strong, well-supported programs from duds. “In every field, at every degree level, it’s less clear.”

 ….

Despite that, there is scant criteria with which to compare programs in search of that “good fit.” A Google searcher invariably ends up at lead-generating sites that claim to “match” students to the “right” college.

Richard Capezzali, president of Education Connection, says 300,000 unique users visit its site each month and 40,000 sign up for help. Looking for an online bachelor’s program? Some 350 colleges pay Education Connection for a certain number of leads each month; you’ll likely be connected with for-profits, and then hounded by phone calls and e-mails. Once the lead target is reached, the college stops showing up as a possible match, Mr. Capezzali says, “because the school’s marketing budget has hit a cap.”

via The Online-College Crapshoot – NYTimes.com.



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