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Trouble picking an online degree?

New site wants students to blog, post and rate schools to help others find the right online program.
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Written by ZDNet Editors, Contributors on

With the explosion of online distance-learning programs, how does a prospective student choose? A new site, OnlineDegreeReviews.org, claims that by combing blogs, user ratings and forums, it can help students separate the wheat from the chaff, reports eSchool News. ODR launched a beta version of its site in July. It uses internet forums, blogs and a rating system to grade teacher quality, classroom use of educational technology, and overall educational value of a course.

"There are lots of web sites that list online degrees. But none help you decide which colleges are good or worth your time or money," said Steve Rawlinson, the site's creator. "In my own search for an online degree, I was frustrated by the lack of information, so I created this site where people can share their experiences."

For the site to be successful, there has to be a lot of reviews, so Rawlinson is paying $5 apiece for the first 100 reviews posted to the site. Payments for the reviews, limited to three per person, can be donated to a charity or be deposited in a user's PayPal account. Just 15 reviews had been posted to the site, thus far.

130 colleges are featured on the site, and users can add new colleges. It's limited to "colleges that are accredited by a respected organization."

"My goal for the site is to create a place where people can get trustworthy information about online degrees,"said Rawlinson.

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