Online Degree Programs Are More Than Just Business

If you look at the main distance learning college guides, it can seem like there are only business degrees and related disciplines (computers, marketing, etc.) at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Closely followed by educational programs, typically at the graduate level. This is mainly due to the fact that others want to copy what has been successful. While that worked well in 2000, it’s not a recipe for success in 2008. The word “disaster” comes to mind.

However, there is hope for the students. Innovative programs are emerging in other areas. There are schools out there considering this road less traveled. I have long said that there are far too many of certain types of online programs and not enough of others. Would you like to complete a commercial degree? Easy. Would you like to earn a degree in education? Easy. How about an MBA? Piece of cake.

What about one in English? Surprisingly, there are far fewer offers. How about a real computer science degree (as opposed to all related fields)? Not so many. Considering an online Masters of Divinity for prospective pastors? Very, very little choice. In the face of a crowded market, schools owe it to themselves not to look for what already exists but where they can compete successfully. However, there are positive examples of universities doing just that.

Fresno Pacific University recently announced that it is bringing its prestigious library media program online. From May 2008, students can acquire a School Library Media Teacher (“School Librarian”) or the Master of Arts in Education: School Library & Information Technology and 100% online. Earning the credential is the most common way to become a school librarian. It is important that the competition is low. Yes, there are other programs doing similar endeavors, but there is still a lot of room for growth.

I encourage colleges and universities to think carefully about what types of programs they want to bring online. Then go out and buy a copy of the latest Bears’ Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. If there are too many entries under this program, continue. It’s not worth your time and effort.

I predict success for programs like Fresno Pacific University’s online library Media One precisely because it’s still possible to carve out a niche in this space. It borders on insane to attempt another Master of Business Administration when the current offerings can and do fill a book.

As we sometimes tell kids, it really is okay to be different. For real.

#Online #Degree #Programs #Business

Thanks to Thomas Nixon

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