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Online Learning: Dealing With The Snobbery of Other People

Updated on June 8, 2010

As an online learner, you may encounter a good deal of snobbery from those who do not see online or distance learning courses as being credible qualifications. This is particularly common amongst graduates of bricks-and-mortar universities, who see online learning as inferior and even worthless. In many cases, they will be rather vocal in their opinions. In addition to friends, family members and general acquaintances, this can also be a common attitude regarding prospective employers. For online learners, this is can be potentially very distressing as it implies that your studies are not worthy of respect or recognition. If you experience this for yourself, how can you counteract this type of snobbery?

Educate them

In many cases, critics of online learning have no experience of using this method of studying and are therefore not really qualified to discuss their opinions on the subject. Use your personal experiences of online and distance learning to stress the fact that a legitimate and credible online degree is not a shortcut to success, and tends to require more self-discipline and self-motivation than conventional university courses as there is no physical tutor to give you a metaphorical 'kick in the behind' to meet deadlines. 

Play up your strengths

If you encounter snobbery regarding online learning during a job interview, you may want to highlight your ability to work independently as a result of completing an online degree. This is often highly valued by employers as it saves them a lot of hassle in the long term. If you successfully juggled online learning with full-time or part-time employment or raising a family, this is another aspect that you can play up to reassure prospective employers that your personal life will not encroach on your job.

Are online courses credible?

If your online course is or was accredited by a traditional university, it will hold more weight with both prospective employers and the general public. Some universities are offering online degree programs that carry much the same weight as their offline counterparts. For example, New York State University does not distinguish between courses that were taken predominantly inside or outside of the classroom, and online learners graduate with the same degree as students who have attended the university in-person. If mixing online and offline learning is not convenient for your situation or location, universities such as the University of Phoenix offer online courses. This enables you to enjoy the convenience of taking an online course which is fully accredited and is therefore highly credible. If your online course is has reputable accreditation, it is much less likely to attract criticism. However, online courses from less established universities or universities that are solely online operations are generally less well received. This is often because they are not familiar with the university and its academic standards, and are not sure whether it is an 'easy option' in comparison to the established conventional universities that offer online courses. 

Many employers are beginning to recognise online learning as a credible means of earning qualifications, and it is worth pointing this out to anyone who questions whether taking an online course will really equip you for the workplace. 


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      There is a lot of help in your hub and also building-up confidence which to me is often more important. The tips you gave are really great and I am sure not emplyers can argue with that. Thank you for a great hub.