Dice's Guest AppearanceBy Lauren Bailey Online education has been around for a while, slowly gaining respectability. In the last year or so, their credibility has gotten something of a push when schools like MIT, Stanford, Harvard and Berkley have begun offering online courses. Although they don’t offer degrees, a number of other colleges and universities do, many of them focused on tech. These include Drexel, Boston University, the University of Southern California, and the University of San Francisco. Still, sometimes you’ll run into hiring managers who don’t buy into the idea of degrees that don’t involve labs, dorms and bad cafeterias. That’s a prejudice you’ll have to overcome before you get to the questions on programming, computer science, math, or whatever the job’s about. The trick is to fit the idea of online education into the context of the workplace. Here’s a couple of arguments to make. It Showed I’m Self-Motivated  You don’t earn a degree online without being self-motivated. While self-motivation’s important in getting for college degree, online programs are more of an individual effort. You got your degree on your own, without having a course schedule to follow or friends to cram with. Though you had the support of professors and other students, it simply wasn’t the same as it is at a traditional brick and mortar school, where life is built around academics, lab work, cramming and such. You were surrounded by your family, the responsibilities of your job and all of those day-to-day things that often derail long-term efforts. It was all up to you, and you did it. Communication Skills In the process of learning online, you wrote a lot of emails. Yes, everyone writes a lot of emails nowadays. The thing here is that you learned how to write effective emails. This is more important than you may think. Technology managers often complain about poor communications in the workplace. Even for positions that require little group work (which rarely exist), managers want you to be able to speak, write and present clearly. In IT today, there’s a better than even chance you’ll have to deal with customers, other company departments and executives, all in addition to communicating with your immediate colleagues. Employers value people who can carefully and clearly explain their ideas in writing. It’s a skill that doesn’t come easily to everyone. Demonstrate that you’ve got it, and where you learned it becomes irrelevant. Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger for She loves writing about education, technology, lifestyle, and health news. As an education writer, she works to provide helpful information on the best online colleges and courses. Lauren welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99