For an online program to say that "our quality is as good as on campus" is not very useful if potential students have never heard of the campus. It seem likely, however, that online degree programs could develop distinguishing features that are both useful for improving quality and also useful for attracting students unfamiliar with the program, such as:
1. Inclusive program designs that can engage and educate students with differing career ambitions, backgrounds, strengths, and needs.
2. Hybrid designs that offer compelling environments for practice and coaching.
3. Educationally valuable relationships with respected organizations.
4. Designs enabling an unusual degree of connectedness, bonding and community.
5. Academic teams that include individuals whose potential value as teachers can easily be appreciated.
6. Designs that prepare online students to work in their fields.
Developing each of these features takes considerable time, but once an institution establishes this kind of quality reputation over a period of years, it is equally time-consuming for competitors to get to the same level of quality.