Are the online degrees a waste of time? Themselves pursuing a traditional degree from a prestigious institution.
I think the expectation that a traditional degree most prestigious and significant of an online degree or even a series of distance learning courses rather ubiquitous. Sort of depends what you mean by "online degree" too.
There are some programs where you can get some of the online courses. There are other "degree", where you just order online. The nearest to a more traditional critical evaluation of the set of courses more weight, your degree.
A potential employer can not be in possession of online degree against you, but another candidate with a traditional training is probably a projection.