Persuade Me I Need a Degree: How Unaccredited Online Degree Programs Advertise

March 12, 2008 at 11:32 pm 10 comments

The funniest emails caught in my spam filter are the ones that offer me degrees in various enticing ways. Since I am on a “top 10” kick this week, my favorites in my last perusal are the following charmingly ungrammatical ones (#2 reminds me of Porgy and Bess: “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?”) or the ones that cause doubt (such as #1: can a degree ever expire?):

  1. Expired academic qualification
  2. Is your skills about to expired?
  3. Without books and education process call now
  4. MBA the hottest most sought after degree
  5. Receive PhD that you deserve from an Established Prestigious Institution
  6. Receive MBA very fast
  7. Nominated for a Ph.d
  8. Celebrate your life-long achievements
  9. Start earning the salary you deserve by obtaining the approopriate University Degree
  10. Your Degree shipped by Fed-Ex

In Degrees by Mail: Look What You Can Buy for only $499, I wrote about reading these online degree offers “more carefully than other unsolicited emails to find out how much the degree costs, how long it takes to ‘earn’ it, and what the plausible-sounding name of the institution is”. Now I just read the subject lines. But I still worry that these ads make it harder for the high quality online programs to move away from the déclassé correspondence schools that used to be so common. The biggest issues to me are how students find the high quality programs while avoiding the ones advertised above, and how employers know which online degrees are legitimate and from reputable institutions.

Entry filed under: e-learning. Tags: , , , , .

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. metabolic syndrome symptoms  |  September 19, 2013 at 7:15 am

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  • 2. RaiulBaztepo  |  March 29, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
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  • 3. Gaurav Kasera  |  March 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    May be your post will be usefull for students and who’s are searching something new relatedto online degrees and it’s. this post is really nice.

  • 4. Robert  |  January 7, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Today online learning or known as distant learning had already become as one of the leading sources of education. But if you’re searching a good reputation online college or university instead of a traditional college or university I would recommend for . will have a searchable and comprehensive database of schools, degrees, and programs including both online schools and campuses.



  • 5. umar farooq khan durrani  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:07 am

    i need degree

  • 6. The Author  |  May 8, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I touched uppon this topic indirectly in my blog entry. I wonder to what extent the diploma mills, or universities that are not far above the mills, are known to most professionals but not mentioned for fear of a lawsuit. Then again if one issues a statement as an opinion, not fact, it shouldn’t matter should it?

  • 7. Diploma Mill Spams | The Redgate Read On Online Learning  |  April 10, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    […] recently ran across a blog by Lisa Neal, Editor of Elearn Magazine titled, “Persuade Me I Need a Degree: How Unaccredited Online Degree Programs Advertise“, her writing pokes fun at some SPAM emails ’selling’ degrees. Here are the top 10 […]

  • 8. Stephen  |  April 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I must appreciate your work. from last couple of days i was searching for something interesting and this post is really nice.

    Thanks for this nice post.

  • […] to share something she recently wrote on her blog that is applicable to this site. Titled ‘Persuade Me I Need a Degree: How Unaccredited Online Degree Programs Advertise‘, her post pokes fun at some of the funnier SPAM emails ’selling’ degrees. Here […]

  • 10. Nancy Frishberg  |  March 12, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Literary note: That would be Louis Jordan’s't_My_Baby
    You might be thinking of the lyric “Bess, you is my woman now” by Gershwin.

    More to the topic of your post, I was a member of a working team of sign language interpreter educators who were taking steps toward standards (and eventually program accreditation) among academic programs at various levels (AA, BA, MA). We jokingly named our listserv “eileen” after the fictional vocational program we didn’t want to see in business “Mr. Eileen’s School of Hairdressing and Sign Language Interpreting”. Several of the members of that group have gone on to implement effective eLearning programs for interpreters and interpreter educators, you’ll be happy to know.


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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa:


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