There’s no doubting the fact that the Internet has made life so much easier for all of us – we’re always connected to people in any part of the world, information is accessible at the click of a button, and we’re able to do so much more from the comfort of our homes. One sphere that has really benefited by the Internet is distance education – lessons that were earlier sent through regular mail services and Fed Ex packages are now zipping across with speed through the worldwide network of the Web. There is no wait, no delays, and most important of all, no bulky parcels and books that waste paper.
But, in spite of all these advantages that the Internet offers, there is a seamier side to it that people who have used it for a while and know most of its nooks and corners are aware of. The worst of this aspect is that it provides a cloak of anonymity, one that can be misused by people who are out to scam the gullible. And when it comes to education, there are thousands of conmen who are only looking to make a fast buck, little caring about the people they are stealing from and their dreams of an education that is supposed to further their knowledge and their careers.
The problem with distance education that is mediated through the Internet is that it is hard to verify accreditation, that is, the viability of the course you are paying for. With international boundaries disappearing into thin air on the Internet, you are now able to study in China from the comfort of your home in Little Rock, Arkansas. But, how do you know you can trust the school that’s offering you a degree? You cannot go all the way to China to check it out; you are not sure of the phone numbers and mail id that are provided as references; you don’t know the qualities and credentials of the teachers who are going to be handling your lessons; you don’t know if your lessons and assignments will be sent to you according to a schedule; and most of all, you’re not sure if the degree you earn will be accepted and valid when you’re looking for a job in the USA.
Another kind of accreditation issue relates to the students and how straightforward they are. It’s easy to cheat when your teacher is thousands of miles away and cannot see what you’re up to.
The reason people choose to study through the Internet is that it is often much cheaper than getting enrolled in regular schools. But, when you’re not sure if it’s accredited, and even if it is, if you cannot trust the agency that accredits the school and degree, it’s just a waste of time, effort and money.