Domestic, Education Quality, For-Profit, Not-for-Profit, Required, Students, University & College - Written by Wired Academic on Friday, January 6, 2012 16:19 - 0 Comments
U.S. News Releases Online Degree Program Rankings Next Week
The famed progenitor of college rankings - U.S.News & World Report - is launching its very first ranking of the top online education degree programs. They will be available on usnews.com starting Jan. 10, 2012. We think this is an important event and we look forward to the results. Some online colleges (such as Capella) have bucked against the rankings, whining that their true value cannot be ranked. We have argued and still insist that such a viewpoint is horse dung. Online colleges should welcome the flight to quality. If they are resentful of such flights, they should get off the runway (in other words, don’t be a college… don’t compete in a marketplace where you cannot or should not compete). US News is doing more than just ranking the schools. They are also creating databases and lists of programs.
Robert Morse (who runs US News rankings) and Eric Brooks write:
U.S. News has redesigned and expanded its online education section to not only develop top degree program ranking lists, but to also build online degree program profiles and advanced online program search functionality.
The number of students enrolled in online degrees is growing rapidly. Those prospective students—a very large proportion of whom are working adults—lack needed information to help them determine the relative strengths and weaknesses between online degree programs that they are considering attending. U.S. News undertook this project in an effort to begin filling this information gap.
U.S. News determined that strong online programs share many of the same academic standards as reputable traditional programs. These include having institutional or program-level accreditation and significant numbers of Ph.D.’s employed by the institution. These programs do well for distance learners when they pair such inputs with online practices that ensure students are truly engaged in their courses and grant them remote access to key program resources and services found in traditional brick-and-mortar environments.
Morse and Brooks write that they expect the online college rankings will become more advanced over time as online programs improve their reporting methods. But for this year, US News will rank bachelors programs as well as masters programs in business, computer IT, education, engineering and nursing. US News will not rank the programs in numerical fashion. Rather, they will put the top programs on an “honor roll.”
They list the 23 program indicator rankings – including faculty credentials, student services and admissions selectivity - on their blog post.
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