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The University is exploring the possibility to offer Bachelors of Arts degrees in Leadership as well as Media and Technology through exclusively online courses. The B.A. degrees would be equivalent to the rest of the University’s esteemed degrees, but will the traditional University diplomas still be regarded as highly?

Online degrees are an amazing advancement in education. These programs offer post-secondary education that can be taken advantage of by individuals on a limited money or time budget. In the current job market, even many entry-level positions require at least a bachelor’s degree. Online degrees increase accessibility to higher learning and subsequently an increase in accessibility to stable careers. Unfortunately, online degrees do not always provide post-college opportunities equal to those available to graduates of four-year universities. The degrees are not equivalent because realistically, online degrees tend to be less demanding than traditional degrees. Many students attend the University for the renowned rigor of their desired course of study as well as the prestige of any diploma bearing the heading, “Villanova University”. Prestige is solely based on reputation, and by deeming virtual and physical classes congruent, the University is wagering credibility.

Perhaps degrees in leadership or technology and media should be relaxed because these degrees develop skills, but not necessarily direct job opportunities. However, this justification falls apart when the virtual study of leadership is examined. Online classes can be taken in solitude with no interpersonal interaction- the polar opposite of leadership.

Learning leadership online is like learning cooking online. An individual can learn different leadership styles and conflict resolution strategies by studying, and he or she can learn all the different types of knives or memorize recipes by watching YouTube videos. But mastery requires practice. A young adult with a degree in leadership may not be half the leader of high school varsity football team captain. The idea can be laughed at, and if the proposal is implemented, the University could one day be laughed at as well.

Compared to traditional degrees at the University, these equivalent online diplomas require less studying, commitment, and tuition. There are plenty of colleges locally and nationally that require less studying, commitment, and tuition than the University.  To be or not to be, a lesser university, that is the question.

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