THE VALUE OF A by pengxiuhui

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									THE VALUE OF A
 DETC-ACCREDITED DEGREE




     EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION,
        LEADERSHIP IN PRACTICE
             LEARNING WITHOUT LIMITS
             THE CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY INITIATIVE FOR
             A NEW PARADIGM IN HIGHER EDUCATION




                                                           Founded in 1978
                                                                                            Excellence in Education,
                                                                                            Leadership in Practice


THE VALUE OF A DETC-ACCREDITED DEGREE
                                                                                                   By Tom Dellner

                      You might say the Washington,                 THE ENROLLMENT PROCESS:
                      DC-based Distance Education and
                      Training Council (DETC) has a
                                                                    ACCURACY AND TRANPSARENCY
                      healthy obsession with data. Driven           While the news media has been filled with stories of
                      to assess, evaluate, and optimize             a handful of online schools using unethical enrollment or
                      its own performance and that of               recruitment tactics, DETC officials are quick to point out
                      its member institutions, the DETC             that no DETC schools have been named in these articles,
                      (which has been recognized by the             and that its accreditation standards help ensure that these
U.S. Department of Education as a reputable and reliable            practices do not occur at DETC-accredited institutions.
accrediting body since 1959) annually gathers thousands             The survey results bear this out.
of data points—and requires member institutions to do
the same—to assess, among other things, the value of a              Ninety-seven percent of the survey respondents said that
DETC-accredited degree.                                             the information they received before enrolling accurately
                                                                    described the degree program, and the same percentage
One of the most interesting studies the DETC                        (97) indicated that the degree program matched their
(CalSouthern’s accrediting body) conducts is a survey of            expectations. A slightly higher percentage (98) said that
more than 600 recent graduates of DETC institutions—                they received appropriate information about policies,
and of those graduates’ employers. The results are                  procedures, support services, and the program’s cost.
fascinating, shedding light on the effectiveness of                 Three out of four students said that the information they
distance learning, as well as dispelling many myths about           received accurately described the future acceptability
online higher education. We’ll summarize the results                of the degree or credits by other institutions. (While 74
of the most recent survey—“DETC Degree Programs:                    percent is an already-impressive figure, it is actually
Graduates and Employers Evaluate Their Worth,”                      deceptively low, since 17 percent of the respondents
conducted in 2010—below.                                            replied that they were “unsure.”)




The DETC-accredited degree produced some very immediate, tangible results
for these recent graduates. Nearly half—45 percent—received some sort of
compensation increase and another 36 percent enjoyed either a job promotion
or a career change that improved their lives.



                                                   Learning Without Limits
                                                                                                                         Founded in 1978


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                                                                                                   Excellence in Education,
                                                                                                   Leadership in Practice

        KNOWLEDGEABLE AND COMMITTED EDUCATORS DRIVE A
        RIGOROUS LEARNING EXPERIENCE
        The survey results refute the commonly held misconception that online education is easier or somehow
        inferior to face-to-face learning, and otherwise support the efficacy of the distance-learning methodology.

        Eighty-nine percent of the graduates surveyed stated that their DETC-accredited degree program was
        the same difficulty or more difficult than the classroom education they’ve had, and the grads were nearly
        unanimous—98 percent—in indicating that they were challenged by the level of difficulty of the courses.
        Another near-unanimous positive response (99 percent) was in response to, “Did the examinations and
        assigned projects adequately test your understanding of the subject?”

        Faculty received similarly high marks. Ninety-nine percent of the graduates surveyed thought that their
        instructors had an adequate or superior depth of knowledge and teaching competency, and 98 percent said
        the faculty had an adequate familiarity and understanding of the materials used. Eighty-seven percent
                                                                          experienced adequate communication with
                                                                          their instructors (five percent were unsure),
                                                                          while the overall satisfaction level with the
                                                                          faculty was 97 percent.

                                                                                 With regard to access to learning resources
                                                                                 outside the professor (course materials,
                                                                                 library resources, etc.), 97 percent found it
                                                                                 to be adequate or superior.




The Value of a DETC-Accredited Degree:
BY THE NUMBERS
                                                                       45%
                                                                       Received a compensation increase as a result of

99%                                                                    earning a DETC-accredited degree

Recent graduates who rated their overall satisfaction
with their degree program as adequate or superior
                                                                       36%
                                                                       Enjoyed a job promotion or a career change that
                                                                       improved their lives


                                                       Learning Without Limits



                                                                 2
                                                                                                   Excellence in Education,
                                                                                                   Leadership in Practice

       OVERALL SATISFACTION AND                                           THE EMPLOYERS’ PERSPECTIVE
       UTILITY OF DEGREE                                                  In a separate survey of the graduates’ work
                                                                          supervisors, more interesting results emerged. A full 85
       The results pertaining to overall satisfaction were
                                                                          percent of these supervisors noted that the graduate
       perhaps the survey’s most powerful. A full 99
                                                                          performed better on the job as a result of earning the
       percent rated their satisfaction with their degree
                                                                          DETC-accredited degree. Ninety-two percent said they
       program as adequate or superior. Ninety-four percent
                                                                          were favorably inclined toward hiring or supervising
       found the degree earned to be well worth the effort.
                                                                          other employees who earned degrees via distance
       In a true testament to overall satisfaction, 94 percent
                                                                          education, while 94 percent stated that they would
       indicated that they would recommend their degree
                                                                          encourage others—subordinates or colleagues—
       program to a friend.
                                                                          to enroll in accredited distance-education degree
                                                                          programs in order to enhance their competence on
       According to one of the most compelling sections of
                                                                          the job. Another 93 percent of the supervisors found
       the survey, the DETC-accredited degree produced
                                                                          that the DETC-school graduate compared favorably
       some very immediate, tangible results for these recent
       graduates. Nearly half—45 percent—received some                    in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitude with other
                                                                          individuals they know or supervised who have earned
       sort of compensation increase due to earning their
                                                                          comparable degrees from an “on-the-ground” college.
       degree. Another 36 percent enjoyed either a job
       promotion or a career change that improved their lives
       as a result of receiving their diploma.

       One final, but extremely significant result: Of the
       graduates who sought to have their degree accepted
       by other academic institutions, approximately three
       in four were successful in transferring credits,
       dispelling the myth that DETC degrees and credits
       cannot be transferred.


       Of the graduates who sought to have
       their degree accepted by other academic
       institutions, approximately three in four were
       successful in transferring credits, dispelling
       the myth that DETC degrees and credits
       cannot be transferred.




97%                                                                    74%
Percentage of graduates who thought their                              Percentage of students attempting to transfer
instructors had an adequate or superior depth of                       DETC-school credits who were successful in doing so
knowledge and teaching competency
                                                                       94%
85%                                                                    Would recommend the DETC-accredited degree
Percentage of DETC graduates’ supervisors who                          program to a friend
thought the grads performed better on the job as a
result of the degree program
                                                       Learning Without Limits



                                                                 3
                                                                                                   Excellence in Education,
                                                                                                   Leadership in Practice




“In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education issued a
 report stating that students who took all or part of
 their instruction online performed better, on average,
 than those taking the same course through face-to-face
 instruction.”
                      -Michael Lambert, DETC


         A Conversation with the DETC
         Executive Director Michael Lambert
         Reflects on the Survey Results


         CalSouthern: Do you believe that this survey—                CalSouthern: Were you surprised in any way by
         and those like it—are effectively dispelling the             the results?
         myth that online education is somehow ineffective
         or substandard when compared to traditional                  Lambert: Gratified, but not surprised. The
         educational methods?                                         evidence is not limited to this survey. Every time
                                                                      the DETC does an accreditation review of an
         Michael Lambert: There has always been                       institution, we get a random collection of names
         skepticism about online learning as a legitimate             and addresses of students. We survey them and
         and effective way for people to earn a degree or             double-check and cross-check the data that you
         acquire an education. It stems from the falsehood            see in the survey results. And annually, every
         that you can only learn sitting at the feet of a             DETC member institution is required to survey
         “sage on the stage” who dispenses wisdom.                    its students, asking many of the same questions
                                                                      contained in this survey, to make sure that their
         Of course, all the studies and all the research              students are satisfied. Every year, the data seems
         conclusively show this to be a myth. In fact, in             to be getting better. Any way you slice or dice it,
         2009, the U.S. Department of Education issued                we come up with satisfaction ratios in the 90s. You
         a report [“Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices            might justifiably ask if it’s too good to be true, but
         in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review               we now have thousands upon thousands of pieces
         of Online Learning Studies”] stating that students           of data, representing hundreds of thousands of
         who took all or part of their instruction online             students telling us the same thing over and over
         performed better, on average, than those taking              again.
         the same course through face-to-face instruction.
         The old mythology is becoming passé. The                     It’s hard to argue with these numbers. Eventually,
         misconception has been blown up.                             you have to come to the conclusion that this is an
                                                                      amazing way to learn and an effective method. I
         Of course, there are those with closed minds on              no longer apologize for it; it’s a point of honor and
         the topic who may never be persuaded, remaining              something that we will sustain.
         steadfast in their perception that learning can only
         take place in the resident class setting. Maybe a
         percentage will never be convinced. But this survey
         is one more piece of evidence that the method of
         education is powerful and it works.


                                                        Learning Without Limits



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                                                                                               Excellence in Education,
                                                                                               Leadership in Practice




CalSouthern: To what do you attribute the                     Lambert: Personally, I was extremely gratified to
success of your member institutions, in contrast to           see the high level of acceptance and respect that
some of the unethical, underperforming schools                the supervisors have for a DETC-accredited degree.
we’ve all read about in the media?                            It’s something we’ve been tracking for years,
                                                              and the favorable result percentages consistently
Lambert: DETC’s accreditation standards are                   remain in the 90s.
strong, and they are fundamentally designed to be
student-centric. Our policies, training, and member           Another element of the survey that I am
institution visits—everything we do is centered on            particularly pleased with involves the percentage of
these questions: “Does this help students?” “Does             successful transfers of credits; this is a figure that
it ensure quality?” “Will it protect the student as a         has been tracking upward over the past few years,
consumer?” “Will it help the institution deliver on           which is great news. Of course, we’re also quite
its promises?”                                                happy with the high overall satisfaction numbers,
                                                              as well as those relating to the rigor of the
It’s all part of the culture of DETC that goes                academic programs and the depth of knowledge of
back 86 years now—if schools take care of their               the faculty.
students and deliver on their promises, everything
else falls into place. That’s the secret, the model. It       We can’t—and will not—rest on our laurels, and
may seem overly simplistic, but it’s fundamentally            we’re not yet in a position to declare victory, but
sound and it works.                                           our schools are doing a terrific job and these
                                                              results are proof positive.
CalSouthern: From your perspective, what are some
of the more gratifying aspects of the survey results?         Excellence in Education, Leadership in Practice
                                                              is published in conjunction with Learning Without Limits:
                                                              The California Southern University Content Initiative for a
                                                              New Paradigm in Higher Education.




A full 85 percent of the graduates’ supervisors surveyed noted that the graduate
performed better on the job as a result of earning the DETC-accredited degree.


                                                   Learning Without Limits



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