[nabs-l] On-Line Education

David Andrews 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

Category: <http://askbobrankin.com/education/>Education

"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

First, the 
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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