"On-Line Degrees" -- High Status or Not?
I cannot speak to the acceptance issue, I would like to think that the bias if it exists will eventually fade. After all, so many other online degrees are being offered by reputable universities, that I cannot imagine that some sort of acceptance and accreditation program won't evolve, assuming that the current accreditation program for "brick and mortar" universities does not already address the issue.
I have in fact been looking online (without much luck) for just such a degree program (Mechanical Engineering, or Materials Science) as I am tired of people looking at my resume and saying "you have lots of experience in this field, and I'd love to hire you but my boss and/or HR group won't let me hire you because you don't have a BS and this job posting requires one....". I also don't have 5 years worth of money saved up to let me quit work and go back to college and start over. I'm sure I'd have to take a bunch of academics over again, It's been too long and I've forgotten too much. Finding Computer Science degrees and Business degrees is easy, but not much engineering stuff out there. If you could direct me to any you found I'd appreciate it.
Your concern about "hands on" classes being missing I think may be over rated. Most of the newly minted BSME's that I've worked with had very little "hands on" experience or knowledge unless they had gained it before going to school. in fact most companies I've worked for don't really trust newly minted BSME's with anything but the most lowly grunt work until the've gained some "seasoning". seems like the university curriculum focuses exclusively on the theoretical, so much so that a new graduate has merely been prepared to learn how to be an engineer, not how to be one already. I've met a couple who were good with the theory but had a hard time translating that to real world problems.
As for Exam proctoring, at least in Texas, even the PE exam is open book, you can bring just about any reference material you like with you I've been told, so why should the curriculum be any different? exams can be written in such a way as to force you to think through the problem, even if the formulae are right there in front of you, you still have to figure out how to apply them. Isn't that how the real world works anyway? nobody memorizes all of it, they just know where to find it when they need it.