Online Degree Stigma and Stereotypes: A New Instrument and Implications for Diversity in Higher Education
16 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 14, 2019
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: Suggested Citation