This paper aims to explore the employers’ perceptions of graduates with on-line degrees.
The Ajzen and Fishbein’s (1980) theory of attitude formation and change informed the study. This Web-based study used self-administered open-ended questionnaires to collect data. It used purposive sampling to select 15 employers from nine employment sectors in Tanzania and used thematic analysis to analyse the data.
Findings indicate that employers prefer graduates with traditional to those with on-line degrees. However, the increasing number of organisations transforming from analogue to digital operations has opened the door for blended learning graduates to compete in the job market as factors associated with practical skills, relevant post-graduation job experience, reputation of the virtual university, course content and duration can work in their favour. These are factors on-line students need to consider when choosing an on-line degree programme. Similarly, institutions offering on-line degrees should strengthen their programmes by making these features an integral part of their education to boost the acceptability of their graduates in the job market and undermine negative perceptions associated with such degrees.
The research findings have implication to higher education institutions which need to structure their on-line programmes as recommended by employers who emphasised on increasing physical learners–instructor and learner–learner interactions as well as reducing on-line programme cost to increase students’ enrolment.
The research findings have practical implication to prospective on-line students that they should focus on reputable virtual university that integrates its on-line programme with hands-on skills.
To eliminate the negative perceptions and enhance integrity of on-line education, institutions providing on-line education need to be accredited by relevant bodies to offer on-line courses. Consequently, this will improve quality and strengthen students as well as societal satisfaction and confidence on on-line education.
The present study explored employers’ perceptions of graduates with on-line degrees versus those with traditional degrees in Tanzania. This study has yet to be conducted in Tanzania and thus produces a significant contribution to the literature, as it will help to inform prospective on-line programme students on relevant factors looked upon by employers in favour of or against graduates with on-line degrees.
Kisanga, D.H. (2020), "Employers’ perception of graduates with on-line degrees in Tanzania: two-pronged lesson for on-line graduates and course developers", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 11/12, pp. 829-845. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-01-2020-0011Download as .RIS
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