How much is a degree worth? Have you ever asked yourself this question?
The other day I stumbled across an article that talked about a dog (a real canine dog named Chester…not to be confused with Dog) who “earned” an MBA online. The first time I read the article and watched the YouTube video, I didn’t know what to think. The ad exposes Rochville School as a “diploma mill,” (a place that will send you the degree of your choice for the right price) and discusses the importance of checking the accreditations of any online program before enrolling.
I was vaguely amused at the mental image of a dog in a graduation cap and gown. This pug has an MBA and took a class in financing! This is quite impressive to me, since I can’t even get my Labrador puppy to stop eating crickets. Underneath the amusement though, I was annoyed and maybe a little angry.
As ridiculous and humorous as a pug with a Master’s degree may seem, the short commercial from GetEducated.com highlights what I consider to be a growing problem. A good online program must have certain accreditations and meet standards of education. A diploma mill, on the other hand, is a simple exchange of money for a degree. An accredited online program and a degree mill view education as two different things: an accredited online program sees education as being more a verb (it is something you do, something to work towards) while a diploma mill equates education as the sum total of having a paper degree.
Personally, I’ve always thought of education as a process, something continuous. Sure, when we reach certain academic milestones we’re rewarded with diplomas. The graduation ceremony might be nice (although, I always found them boring) and the diplomas look pretty when framed, but the “education” part doesn’t end when Pomp and Circumstance stops playing. From there, we must take our knowledge, apply it and add to it. Diploma mills see education as something that can be bought instead of earned. As someone with a Master’s degree, it bothers me to see people belittling the effort it took to get that degree by making it available to anyone with a credit card.
As a student, what is your view of education? Should we be able to buy degrees like Chester the Pug did? What effects, if any, do you see these diploma mills having on you and your reputation as an online student? Or, are diploma mills a valid way of obtaining a degree? We want to hear what you have to say!