Question: How credible is a course?
Nothing can ever guarantee the value of a course 100%, but there are many things that can indicate credibility. Consider the following checklist; courses from institutions that fulfill the following on most counts are likely to be more credible than those that don’t.
- Duration of a course – it stands to reason that you cannot learn as much in a very short course.
- Quality of staff – consider qualifications, quantity and quality of experience. (e.g. http://www.acs.edu.au/info/school/about.aspx )
- Services offered –consider how accessible tutors are, and what additional services have been developed (e.g. http://www.acs.edu.au/info/welcome.swf )
- How well established is the institution – long established institutions are more likely to be sound.
- Visibility – Look for an institution that is known widely within a discipline, and employs staff with international reputations. Also look for institutions that are ranked high on internet searches. This kind of institution will hold greater international credibility than one that is obscure and known little beyond their own town.
- Reputation – accreditation, recognition, partnerships and affiliations are indications of the regard held for an institution by other organisations or institutions. These relationships are an indicator, but their value is in turn only as strong as the credibility of the other organization.
- Graduate success –satisfied and successful graduates are the most certain indicator of a courses value. (e.g. http://www.acsedu.co.uk/Info/About-Us/student-testimonials.aspx )
- Accreditation/Recognition by government bodies, industry bodies, employers, etc… both formal and informal.
Any college that is credible should present its credentials clearly.
What’s more important?
Many people think formal accreditations are more important than other factors; but that is not necessarily so.
Accreditation is not as straight forward as most people think. It is not just a matter of a course being accredited or not accredited and that’s the end of it. Even accredited courses are not accredited everywhere. All accreditation bodies have a limited purpose or scope of operation; they are often costly to deal with, and there are literally thousands of them – which is why there are NO courses or institutions that are recognized and accredited everywhere!
Governments are only concerned with accrediting certain types of courses within their jurisdiction. If the course isn’t being delivered within a particular state, discipline, or is being taught a certain way, it may be impossible to accredit anyway.
This fact often means that the most up to date, innovative and creative colleges have difficulty with accreditation.
Credibility is what counts, and the critical issues must always be:
Are you studying with someone credible? and
Will the course give you a valuable education?