Legitimacy and Integrity in Online Education

U.S. News has released its third annual list of the best online college programs. The list includes both undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas ranging from engineering to sustainable tourism. Top offerings in this list include degrees from Arizona State University, Columbia University, Boston University, and Johns Hopkins.

More students than ever before are taking courses online. According to the College Explorer Report, the number of college students taking at least one online course nearly doubled from 23 percent to 45 percent in the last five years with more than 60 percent of U.S. colleges and universities now offering fully online degree programs.

The presence of the big name universities on the U.S. News list is evidence of the viability of online education and its credibility. At the same time, today’s economy sees an increasing number of older adults returning to education. So who is the online student? Well, its people like you. The complexion of the online student is changing. Most online learners are not exclusively young, full-time students. They’re often part-time students with full-time careers, families and are also financing their own educations. With all this life multi-tasking, they don’t have time to go to campus to take a class. And in many cases, furthering education has become an imperative. As the job market becomes more competitive, this demographic is feeling the pressure to earn or maintain the credentials they need to keep their skillsets sharp.

But as online courses become more popular at higher learning institutions across the board, new challenges arise – chiefly: quality and academic integrity. Universities need to ensure that the online degrees being granted have the same standards as traditional degrees. They also need to protect the integrity of their brands by ensuring that students are earning these valuable credentials honestly – and without cheating.

A degree from a prestigious university needs to hold equal legitimacy whether it was obtained on campus or online. For online courses to continue in the right direction and keep parity with their on-campus counterparts, the integrity of online courses must be actively maintained. Student authentication and exam proctoring is a vital element in protecting academic integrity in online courses and is the cornerstone of a credible online education program. As online learning becomes the norm, so must proctoring solutions that ensure academic integrity in any environment. Learn more about how Software Secure is helping institutions that made the 2014 U.S. News List like: Arizona State University, Brandman University, DePaul University, Florida Institute of Technology, University of West Alabama and many others are using Remote Proctor technology to advance the growth of the their online programs – with quality and integrity.

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