Online Degree Stigma and Stereotypes: A New Instrument and Implications for Diversity in Higher Education

16 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2019

See all articles by René Kizilcec

René Kizilcec

Cornell University

Dan Davis

Delft University of Technology

Elle Wang

Arizona State University (ASU)

Date Written: March 14, 2019

Abstract

Online degree programs can advance diversity and inclusion by meeting growing demand for higher education, lowering costs, and attracting non-traditional populations who could not attend a residential degree program. However, online degrees are frequently considered inferior in the public eye. Negative stereotypes and the experience of stigma related to online degree programs can act as psychological barriers to academic achievement, employability, and career advancement. We develop the first survey instrument to measure online degree stigma, assess the content of stereotypes about online degree programs, and investigate socio-demographic variation in stigma and stereotypes in a sample of 157 US adults. We discuss implications for advancing inclusiveness in higher education and the workforce and how the findings can inform intervention approaches to mitigate stigma and bias.

Keywords: Stigma, Stereotypes, Diversity, Inclusion, Online Education

Suggested Citation

Kizilcec, René and Davis, Dan and Wang, Elle, Online Degree Stigma and Stereotypes: A New Instrument and Implications for Diversity in Higher Education (March 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3339768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3339768

René Kizilcec (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

208 Gates Hall
107 Hoy Rd
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Dan Davis

Delft University of Technology ( email )

Stevinweg 1
Stevinweg 1
Delft, 2628 CN
Netherlands

Elle Wang

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

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