There are hundreds of colleges, universities, and other schools that offer distance-learning programs — but there aren't many institutions that offer continuing-education and degree programs entirely on the Web. Fast Company researched five online schools to find out which ones pass the test.
|School|| Baker College On-line
| City University
| The Open University of the United Kingdom
| University of Phoenix Online Campus
| Walden University |
|Course Catalog||Online courses counting toward an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree, or a master's degree in business.||Criminal justice, organizational and human-systems design, educational technology — and lots more.||Postgraduate certificates, diplomas, and master's degrees in open and distance education.||A range of bachelor's and master's degrees — from business to project management to global management.||Graduate degrees only, including a wide range of PhD programs.|
|Channels||Online students get access to libraries, a campus network, advisers, tutoring, and career guidance.||Courses are offered via videotape, PC software, online conferencing, the Web, and email.||Courses are delivered via print, video, and audio, with support coming via the Web and CD-ROM.||Courses are offered via online conferencing. Students get access to libraries, advisers, and an online bookstore.||Classes are delivered via print, email, and the Web. Students and teachers also gather at various actual locations.|
|Cost||Undergraduate tuition costs $140 per quarter hour. Graduate tuition costs $215 per quarter hour.||Undergraduate tuition costs $157 per credit. Graduate tuition costs $280 per credit.||Basic tuition: $3,700 per year. Certificate tuition: $7,400 per year. Master's tuition: $11,000 total.||Undergraduate tuition costs $365 per credit hour. Graduate tuition costs $460 per credit hour.||Individual credits cost $230 or $300, and PhD programs cost $3,125 per quarter. Noncredit courses cost $75 each.|
|Fail||Baker's choice of software — Convene by Convene International — is compatible with both Macs and PCs but it isn't as rich as other Web tools.||City's university bookstore doesn't support online ordering. Students need to call to order required texts.||Master's students don't learn about teaching and learning online until the second year. So be ready to stick around.||Students can order books and access schedules online, but they can't enroll or apply for loans online.||Fast Company is hard-pressed to give Walden any demerits.|
A version of this article appeared in the May 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.