From Maggie's Farm, an article about increasing employer recognition of online degrees.  As MF comments, looks like homeschooling is bad only when conservatives do it.  On either end of the political spectrum, any school can prosper if people are highly motivated to study there, whether for intangible personal fulfillment or to increase earning power in an attractive job.  A company like Udacity doesn't need federal subsidies or student loans to keep its faculty in Priuses.


Grim said...

Credentials are the main thing holding the university together. People worldwide know how to evaluate at a glance the rough value of a bachelor's degree, or a Master's, or a Ph.D. Having taken dozens or hundreds of unrelated courses is much harder for hiring managers to figure out. "Just what can you do?"

Well, anything. That's the message of a hundred courses in everything from history and literature to programming and mastering poker (itself a highly desirable skill for reasons not immediately related to the game and its rewards). Everyone wants specialists, though. Or they think they do.

MikeD said...

My experience demonstrates to me that the greatest value in a degree is informing a potential employer that you can be taught. Nothing more. I was hired for a software support position in which I was their very first hire with a CS degree. Already present in the office were a History major, an Electrical Engineer, a pair of Journalism majors, a Mass Media degree holder, and a couple of others without any degrees at all. My "specialized training" in programming was viewed as a "bonus", but not a prerequisite for the job. And especially in programming, the true value of the education is not teaching you how to program (as the only programming language we were taught was C++), but in teaching you how to think in a logical fashion so that you can learn any particular programming language and program in it (as there is no true "standard" programming language).

As a small business owner friend of mine said "the reason I would hire a servicemember in a heartbeat isn't because of any particular skills their MOS gives them, but because they have already demonstrated that they can get up and report for work on time, that they won't let adversity beat them, and that they can receive orders and then take the initiative to achieve the goal." It is those life skills that a college degree (to some extent) also demonstrates. Not always of course, but it's a better gamble than another kid off the street who only has a high school degree. It's also why most job requirements say something like "college degree or equivalent experience in the field". In most cases, a potential employee with experience in that job field will be preferred over a college graduate without that experience.