Going to school online affords public sector professionals the ability to continue their education in spite of their hectic schedules and family responsibilities. When online course at the college level first started to gain steam, it was dominated by for-profit schools that did not always play by the rules.
Fortunately there has been a dramatic shift in the landscape and perception of online learning in the United States. Let take a look at a few important points in the recent history of online learning.
Past Perception-GAO Report:
In 2010 the Government Accountability Office investigated 15 for profit schools to see if they were conducting themselves properly. This was a major concern due to the fact that these institutions were being funded primarily through federal aid.
The resulting GAO Report concluded that some of the schools did use deceptive tactics which were also illegal. This gave online learning a bit of a black eye at the time.
Transition- Traditional Online Momentum:
Even though public perception had shifted towards online learning, it was not to be permanent. For-profit institutions had caught onto the fact that the way people were going to be learning in the future was shifting towards online, and traditional schools took notice.
So while for profit learning had essentially peaked, traditional schools were ramping up in their efforts to offer programs online. Slowly but surely traditional schools were beginning to offer the quality programs that they had previously only offered on campus.
Current- Perception Solidified:
Just a few short years since the GAO report, the online educational landscape has shifted dramatically. It is no longer dominated by for-profit schools. Traditional schools with recognized rankings and accreditation offering quality programs are now the norm. Many of the most prestigious schools in the world have a significant online presence.
The stigma that was temporarily attached to online learning is gone.
The key is to find the right program and institution that will match not only your goals, but will also line up perfectly with who you are so you can leverage your new education to propel yourself.
Public Sector Edge
So what does all this mean for the public sector? It means those in public service who are working long unpredictable hours can now pursue additional education without worry of its credibility. Now those with ambition and desire to rise to the top of the public sector can get the leverage they need. Degrees such as the Masters of Public Administration are readily available from excellent schools. If this is you, what are you waiting for?