More HR professionals are seeking degrees online as the programs become common and the quality improves. Plus, employers increasingly see online degrees for HR (and other disciplines) as acceptable alternatives.
But be careful when choosing an online program. Select the best program for you by answering these two crucial questions: Does the school have accreditation from a reputable educational accrediting organization? and What is the teaching format?
Some online degree programs lack reputable accreditation or have none at all. There are no accreditation organizations specifically for online universities. However, consider online degree schools with accreditation from agencies approved by both the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Scrutinize the format to determine whether it fits your schedule and learning style. Online schools typically offer “synchronous” or “asynchronous” formats. Most online courses are asynchronous. Some combine styles.
Synchronous programs require instructors and students to be online simultaneously during classes, which are held at specific times. Synchronous classes include Web and video conferencing and chat rooms.
Advantage: Students get a live classroom experience by asking questions and interacting with students. Disadvantage: You must attend classes during scheduled times or miss the lesson.
Asynchronous programs consist of lectures, tests, assignments and other materials that students can access online at any time. Students must often access materials at least once a week.
Asynchronous classes include non-live videos, audio files, virtual libraries, email and discussion boards.
Advantage: You can pace your learning. Disadvantage: You miss out on valuable live feedback.