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Are Online University Programs Any Good? 12

Landaras asks: "After spending two years at Ohio State studying Management Information Systems, I've decided to take a year off from school. However, after hearing about the University of Phoenix's online Bachelor's program, I thought I would consider completing my four-year Informations Systems undergraduate away from the 'brick and mortar' setting. Does anyone have any experience with completely on-line degree programs, and what are your thoughts of them?"
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Are Online University Programs Any Good?

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  • Having just completed my degree program at UOP [phoenix.edu] (BSB/IS), I feel like I'm in a pretty good place to reply.

    Did I get a good education out of the process? Absolutely. Were there students passed that shouldn't have been? Probably. But what University doesn't do that to some extent?

    UOP certainly targets the "non-traditional" student - and does so much better than traditional Universities. I can't recall anything I had to do that required me to make special arrangements around work to accomplish.

    The reality is that you get out of education what you put into it - some of my fellow students were merely after a piece of paper - others were frightfully serious about the process.

    I would make a strong suggestion to the original questioner - be sure whatever University you choose is accredited by one of the regional accrediting organizations (WASC [wascweb.org], NCA [ncacasi.org], etc.). Many universities may be available online, but without some sort of valid accreditation, some organizations/employers may not honor your degree.

    Hope this helps!

  • Any university (online or otherwise) with the motto "You can do this [phoenix.edu]" is suspect.

    OTOH, I have friends attending UPho (U-Ph-O) and they're serious students. They are also non-traditional students, which is the target market for such places.

  • Sorry. Poor grammar skills. What is the proper abbrev. for 'Brick and Mortar' anyway??
  • I agree. The other thought I had was that you are only young once. College puts in you a unique environment where you are with thousands of your peers. If you live among them, you can develop lifelong bonds (which later in life can help you network), and have lot of fun doing it. I'm not suggesting you go to college to party, but I know I would really regret it if I had even lived at home (e.g. with parents) while completing a degree.

    Through this additional interaction it is easier for you to get involved in extracurricular activies.
  • by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Thursday May 17, 2001 @08:46AM (#216332)
    All other issues aside, be prepared to get raped on the credit transfers. About the only time it's not hell is transfering between state schools in the same state. From there it gets worse. Courses may not have equivalents, only be counted for partial credit, not to mention the potential difficulties going from semester to trimester/quarter system.

    When thinking about what happened to me, I get to thinking that I would have been better off going to community college and getting an AA for my first 2 years rather than having gone to University.
  • by UnrefinedLayman ( 185512 ) on Thursday May 17, 2001 @09:21AM (#216334)
    CSU Chico in northern California has an online education program for distance students. We used to use satellite based tv for students that were in other areas, but we recently switched to using streaming video. The software package we use is called HorizonLive [horizonlive.com], and the actual teaching material is presented through WebCT [webct.com]. The sites themselves, if you want to look, are live.csuchico.edu [csuchico.edu] and online.csuchico.edu [csuchico.edu]. They give a quick and easy way for professors to teach (by streaming video, and the minimum speed requirements are 28.8 kbps w/Real Video), a way to interact (live chat), and that's just during the class. All classes are archived as well so students can watch the classes again and again if necessary. There are also bulletin boards, private messages, calendars, online testing, and more. In a nutshell, it gives people who would otherwise never have a chance at getting a degree a chance.

    Fall of 2000 was our second test semester, and the first semester we dropped satellite testing. We offer over thirty classes now, with more coming next semester. You can go to either URL and test out the system, but hurry, the semester ends on Friday :)

    What do I think of it? I think it's great, and if the classes available at this time were classes that I needed, I would take them. Many students on campus take classes that are both WebCT and in person classes, and professors just use WebCT to give tests and post notices and give students a place to interact. With private email, it also makes it very easy for the professor to email everyone in the class. What I also like about the idea is it gives people flexibility in the classes--if you don't want to go to class this morning, don't. Watch the archive. Sleep in until 3 and check your WebCT mail for information on the test. Use the bulletin board to ask someone what you missed. It not only gives people opportunity to go to college when they might not otherwise be able to, but it gives them the flexibility in doing so that many would desire.
  • by Crewd ( 199804 ) on Thursday May 17, 2001 @10:32AM (#216335)
    My wife attends that university of phoenix in one of their brick and morter campuses. If their online program is anything like their brick and morter I would say stay away! From reviewing her course work, I would label UoP a degree mill. They aren't interested in teaching you anything. Their main focus is building your team working skills. Now, don't get me wrong, team working skills are great and all, but if you are going for an information systems degree, the concentration should be on that. What do I mean by the try and build your team working skills? Every class has a study group with a group project. That is EVERY class. Her college math class had a group project. It consisted of each the team being given a set of math problems and they had to come up with the answers "together."
    It's a complete joke. Also, to keep in mind, the tuition of online courses at UoP is 350 a credit hour. A rip off. You can do better elsewhere.

    Speaking of elsewhere, I would recommend checking out your options. There are lots of them. Check out yahoo's directory at http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Distance_Learning/C olleges_and_Universities/ for starters. There are also several web pages dedicated to this sort of thing, I would recommend checking out the following urls :

    http://www.degree.net/ - pushing a book on the subject, but lots of good info.

    http://www.lifelonglearning.com/ - lets you search for a degree program you are interested in.

    news://alt.education.distance - the newsgroup. once you find a school, check out its rep here.

    Hope this helps...

  • Ohio State has been offering limited courses online. The system they use is video recording actual classes and then making them available on the web (with login/password). Now, so far it's really just been an experiment. More information can be found at:

    http://telr.ohio-state.edu/courses/findcourse.ht ml (Not linked for goatsex safety)

    Now, I've taken a couple of classes that were recorded for web access. My feeling is that you probably need to wait a few more years for this to be worth while. The professors just aren't able to adapt to the new technology fast enough and several lectures I watched via the web were just a blank white board and the professor's voice--he was writing on the chalkboard. Similarly, it was difficult to understand some written equations due to bad handwriting, etc.

    In all, if you really want your bachelor's degree, you'll probably just have to find a way to go back to school. The WWW might eventually be the way everyone learns, but right now everyone's on the front-end of the learning curve. Give it 5 years, and maybe things will be different.

  • You attended OSU, how are you going to get your weekly quota of dumpster fires smoke, tear gas, and knee knockers?

    Anyway, the question you really need to ask is, will my credits transfer.
  • Hi,

    The following usenet groups are a good source of information about
    various on-line or distance leanring programs:


    Also, both the state of New York (http://sln.suny.edu/SLN), and
    the state of Florida (http://www.fsu.edu) are offering on-line
    degrees for most of their traditional programs.

    Good luck!
  • Going to University is all about creating foundations.

    One of those foundations is the human network you hook into - or at least observe - while you're involved in higher education. If you attend an online simulacrum, how will you get exposure to that broadening diversity of opinion, of experience, of variations in culture that you get from the campus environment?

    Online university has its place for those whose lives are so full already (with a full-blown family and a full-time job, for instance) that they really have no chance of fully participating in the university environment, but still need the guidance or kick-in-the-rear motivation that attending a class provides.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous