[nabs-l] On-Line Education
dandrews at visi.com
Thu Mar 24 09:27:14 UTC 2011
Note: The following article is from a free, long-running, online
e-zine called "The Internet Tourbus" written by Bob Rankin and
published online March 22, 2011. He teaches about Internet
technology and subjects in language suitable for non-tech readers.
Here is his article from today's "Ask Bob Rankin":
University of Phoenix Online Degrees
"When I search online for a job, career training, or any related
subject I always find advertisements for the University of Phoenix
and its online degree programs. Is UoP a real college or a diploma
mill? Will an online degree improve my odds of getting hired as much
as a traditional degree earned in a classroom?"
Is University of Phoenix For Real?
University of Phoenix Online Degree
of Phoenix is definitely a "real" college. In fact, its total
enrollment is second only to the State University of New York (SUNY),
at over 412,000 undergraduates and 78,000 graduate students. While
courses are its bread-and-butter, UoP also has physical campuses in
40 of the United States and 200 campuses worldwide.
UoP is accredited regionally by The
Learning Commission (HLC) as a member of the North Central
Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). It also has accreditation
for many of its 100 specialty
programs. But accreditation is not a guarantee that credits earned at
one school are transferable to others, or that a
from an accredited school is as good as any other degree.
Several things may make you wonder how academically rigorous a UoP
degree program is. First, students spend only 20 to 24 hours with an
instructor during each course, compared to 40 hours at a traditional
university. Many colleges and employers are skeptical of UoP's
academic rigor; one professor refers to its
degree as "MBA Lite." Even former UoP instructors complain the
courses are too short to inculcate all the material covered by the curriculum.
Second, UoP is a for-profit
education institution, and they don't have the greatest track record.
While only 9% of college students attend for-profit colleges, they
account for 44% of all student loan defaults.
Third, only 16% of UoP students graduate, compared to a 55% average
nationwide. (UoP claims that the criteria used to calculate the
graduation rate apply to only 7% of its "non-traditional" students
and offers its own 59% graduation rate.)
Fourth, UoP relies on part-time instructors to an extraordinary
degree, raising criticism about instructor quality and experience.
Nationwide, about 47% of instructors are part-timers; at UoP, about 95% are.
Is a University of Phoenix Degree Worth The Price?
The University of Phoenix is owned by The Apollo Group, a publicly
traded corporation. Like any such corporation, its first loyalty is
to shareholders, not students. It is widely argued that UoP
sacrifices academic quality to meet investors' demands for ever-higher profits.
Intel Corp. dropped UoP from its list of schools for which Intel
employees could receive tuition reimbursement, saying the UoP lacked
top-notch accreditation. Before enrolling in any continuing-education
program, it's good idea to check with your employer to see if tuition
reimbursement is available for that particular school and course.
In general, academic experts concur that for-profit colleges such as
the University of Phoenix cost 4-5 times more per credit hour than
subsidized) colleges, deliver less valuable education, and leave
students with twice as much debt.
It's buyer beware, for sure! But then, an education is often what the
student decides to make of it. And if an online degree is your only
path to advancement, it may be worth a look. With eyes wide open, of course.
Have you had experience with UoP or another online college? Post your
comment or question below...
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