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The Top 4 Accredited Online Colleges vs. the Top 4 Online Education Platforms

The Top 4 Accredited Online Colleges vs. the Top 4 Online Education Platforms 

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the world toward a digital transformation. Any company that could let employees work remotely did so, allowing them to remain safe while still maintaining the business. 

Many industries felt the shift toward the online world, but one industry was there before others: education. According to the <a re=”nofollow” href=””>online education statistics</a>, online education platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera are among the most popular options in 2020. 

But it isn’t just these platforms offering online certificates. Today, about 75% of colleges in the US offer online courses, and it’s no wonder that the US is the second country in the world regarding online education. 

E-learning reduces the training time for employees, benefits the environment, and offers lower educational costs for college students, making higher education more accessible. But how do colleges offering online courses compare to online education platforms? Which is the better option, and which can provide more in-depth knowledge? 

The Top 4 Accredited Online Colleges

Traditional brick-and-mortar colleges have decided to offer students nearly the same educational experience at home as they can find on campus. Since these colleges are well-known, accredited, and trusted, more and more employers accept online degrees. 

In a 2010 survey, 83% of executives stated that online degrees are as credible as those earned in a traditional college or university setting. The most recent decade only proved this to be true. Let’s take a look at the four best accredited online colleges in 2020. 

University of Florida – Online

The University of Florida (UF) is one of the best online universities. The bachelor’s programs include biology, cell science, and nursing. This university falls under public schools, and the number of online programs includes 22 undergraduate degrees and 79 master’s degrees. Delivery of the courses is 100% online, and the instruction style is asynchronous, meaning that the classes don’t necessarily happen in real-time. 

The school claims to provide an unparalleled education to determined individuals while removing barriers so that students can breakthrough. The University of Florida is also ranked fourth in US News & World Report‘s 2020 best online programs. The school offers financial aid to students, and the graduation rate is 54%. 

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida is an online public university with 100% of its classes online in an asynchronous format. Some of the most popular degrees include a master’s in digital forensics and a bachelor’s in criminal justice, but there are more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees to choose from. The graduation rate is 73%.

UCF has three US News & World Report badges for Best Online Programs: Bachelor’s and Veteran’s Bachelor and Best Colleges. The school tailors digital learning to fit students’ needs, from flexible programs to affordable courses. The degrees meet the need for a growing US workforce:

  • Healthcare
  • Engineering
  • Hospitality
  • Leadership and Management
  • Criminal Justice and Pre-Law

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University (CSU Global) presents itself as online education for modern learners. Its programs are 100% optimized for online learning, having provided virtual but interactive training for longer than a decade. It’s a nonprofit state school that’s fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The programs are developed with students in mind with the use of innovative online learning platforms for each subject. Among the 13 bachelor’s degrees and 13 master’s degrees, CSU–Global offers bachelor’s degrees in accounting and criminal justice and master’s degrees in finance and professional accounting. The graduation rate is 54%.

Northeastern University

Northeastern Online, Boston, is a private school offering over 80 online programs in asynchronous form. The programs are mostly online and cover all levels—certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate—and students who already have an associate’s degree can choose from a variety of programs. Northeastern incorporates real-world experiences into its online degrees.

It offers 4,000 experiential learning opportunities in online graduate programs with more than 1,000 employers. Northeastern also has a growing global network that covers multiple cities and countries. The graduation rate is 88%.

Top 4 Online Education Platforms and Their Courses

With the development of the internet, there was a growing need to allow people of all ages and education levels to explore the things that interest them. At the same time, people were willing to support the experience and knowledge, and most of them are thought leaders, subject matter experts, bestselling authors, and award-winning professors. This sparked the birth of online learning platforms. 


Udemy offers more than 100,000 online courses and a variety of topics to choose from. Top categories include the following: 

  • Design
  • Development
  • Marketing
  • IT and Software 
  • Personal Development
  • Business
  • Photography
  • Music

Udemy believes that the best teachers aren’t always in the classroom. Offering courses in more than 65 languages, Udemy has more than 57,000 instructors, 150,000 sessions, and 5,000 enterprise customers. What’s more, 80% of Fortune 100 companies turn to the platform for employee upskilling, even though the courses are not accredited. 

The courses incorporate videos, reading materials, and more. Udemy usually has a discount for its courses, so most can be purchased at about $10, but there are also free courses to start with. Udemy is perfect for those who like to learn at their own pace. 


Coursera has the power to disrupt higher education. Its courses had 47 million users as of December 2019 and are available in the following languages: English, Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Hebrew, German, and Italian. Unlike Udemy, Coursera works with colleges and universities to offer online courses, specializations, and degrees, all for a very affordable price. 

The courses are mainly free, with paid graded assignments or course certificates. The courses are available either for a subscription or for individual purchase. Coursera has a more traditional format and style of accredited and non-accredited courses.


Skillshare is suitable for people who want to learn from video courses. The courses are not accredited, and they focus on interaction to complete a project. Workshops and live sessions help the students engage. Some of the main courses are creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, technology, and others. Skillshare is available for free, for a premium subscription and teams. 

People who teach are mostly experts and well-known in their industry, ready to share their knowledge and tools with their students. 


Udacity is a private online education provider with no accredited courses or degrees. It does offer job-ready skills since their curriculum is designed for top-tier industry partners and not academics. They offer self-paced learning, and so far, they’ve got more than 100,000 Udacity graduations, 200 industry experts that create the content, and 100 plus enterprise customers globally. 

Udacity has about 200 courses (without certificate) that are entirely free, and in recent years they had to reduce the number of free courses. Nanodegrees are a different thing – they are received when students fully complete a paid course and gain the relevant skills. Still, the Nanodegree is not recognized by universities. 

Things to Know About Online Education

Whether the students turn to online colleges and universities for a longer time or decide to quickly gain skills via any of the online learning platforms and go straight to job search, the success will always be based on the effort and personal investment. 

Online classes may demand better time management than real-life classes. Students who struggle with procrastination or distractions should think twice before enrolling in online studies of any type. 

If the college or university is accredited, the credentialed professor will teach the class. They will have equal knowledge as any other professor on campus. The only difference is that communication with them will happen via online discussion boards and emails. 

Online exams are proctored, meaning that special tools will be used to track the students during tests and maintain academic integrity.

Not all online degrees are equal, and the employer’s opinion is usually based on accreditation, campus, and school brand. Simply put, the higher the school’s standards are, the better they look in the eyes of the employer. 

When it comes to student loans, many online colleges and universities accept the same federal financial aid as on-campus schools. This means that students can be eligible for Free Application for Federal Students Aid. 

There’s always a place for an online course on the CV. While building their CV, students should know that the employee will probably only glance at it for 15 seconds, which means that they should only list the most important skills for the vacancy they’re applying to. 


Colleges that offer online courses are accredited, with credentialed professors, meaning that the students that receive the online degree are treated almost equally as the students that went on campus. Employers are overall okay with their future employees having an online degree.

On the other hand, e-learning platforms are not accredited, and their instructors are people from the industry that are ready to teach and talk about their experience, but they are rarely credentialed. 

It seems that online colleges offer more in-depth knowledge in the forms of various courses, certificates, but also bachelor’s, masters, and doctoral studies, with a focus on the academic population. In contrast, online platforms provide users with real-life skills that can help them get their job easier and boost their careers faster and are great for any individual willing to learn a skill quickly. 

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