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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    FWIW several of my colleagues have taught courses at U of P in the past.

    Their orientation consisted of a half-day workshop that wasn't much more than Powerpoint slides telling them what to expect (most of which turned out to be completely untrue, and not in a good way).

    A considerable proportion of their students had such poor language and/or academic skills that there was no way they should have been admitted to any post-secondary institution. However, the instructors were under tremendous pressure to pass them regardless, so that they would stay in the program and keep paying the tuition $$$$.

    There was almost no support for the instructors in terms of problem solving (e.g. what to do if the online system broke down). And it was not uncommon for instructors to get fed up and quit in the middle of a course, in which case another instructor would be assigned to the course on short notice, regardless of whether they had qualifications in the subject or not.

    I don't know if this is still the case, but for an online school U of P had very little instructional resources/support of its own. E.g. for online research the students were usually told to use the online libraries of other local post-secondary institutions, or public libraries. U of P didn't have any reciprocal arrangements with these libraries - they just told the students to use whatever resources were publicly accessible.

    Also, it was a well known secret that the "enrollment advisors" at U of P were not much more than salespeople who had quotas to fill and would tell students anything just to get them to enroll and shell out the $$$.

    None of my colleagues who worked there would ever teach there again.
    This is not my experience with U of Phoenix. I think your info may be outdated.

    I've taught several classes at U of Phoenix in the past four+ years, and I'd taught at other universities prior to Phoenix (and sometimes concurrently.) In order to qualify to teach at Phoenix, I had to first go through training, which took several weeks, and was unpaid. Then I had to teach my first class under a mentor - senior, experienced faculty, who guided me every step of the way. That took seven more weeks. Only then was I able to run my own classes. I'd never had this level of training to teach at any other college. In fact, no other college I've adjuncted at gave me any training at all.

    I feel no pressure whatsoever to pass students, and have, in fact, failed several. I have experienced no repercussions for doing so. I also find that this university is much more supportive than others I've taught at re: supporting me when I report plagiarism, which I find refreshing.

    I find that, compared to other similar level unis/colleges where I've taught, U of Phoenix students have better writing skills, which surprised me. That was not what I expected. There have been the occasional students where I've wondered how they've reached my level of classes, based on their writing skills, but they are the exception, rather than the rule. I do teach more advanced classes, so I'm sure that helps, but compared to similar level classes at other colleges where I've taught, I've found that Phoenix students are better writers.

    The U of Phoenix has a large and comprehensive online library, with actual human librarians available to help both faculty and students. They also offer tutoring and other support in writing and math, which includes the ability to speak, live, to a human being.

    The university offers extensive faculty support - more than I've had when I've taught at places like the SUNYs. There are forums where faculty can discuss issues with other faculty, and also get answers from administration. There are ways to reach IT and senior level faculty to get a quick response on an issue.

    All in all, I've enjoyed teaching at this university. I would not recommend that anyone I know go there, due to its poor reputation with employers and other schools, but I like working with the students there.
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  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    You're wasting your time if you go to a school with a poor reputation, even if you can complete your degree more quickly.
    I won't to go University of Phoenix. I'm looking into real universities that have online programs. And or online schools with better reputations. The one school I mentioned I found because it was called one of the best online deals in terms of education and its a non profit. Plus I'm looking at the degree to help me move up at my current corporation.

    At my corporation what they primarily look at is your performance reviews. Its not like I can afford to quit my job and apply for a top tier MBA program and do that full time. What I have to do is work full time, do a great job there and than pursue the degree on the side. I also don't plan on stopping at MBA but pursuing designations too. However my corporation has numerous companies within the company and I'm not sure I will want to stay in the current group I'm in. So I want to get the MBA first and then I'll have a better idea in terms of "speciality" after the MBA is done.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    Also, it was a well known secret that the "enrollment advisors" at U of P were not much more than salespeople who had quotas to fill and would tell students anything just to get them to enroll and shell out the $$$.
    That's no different from "admissions counselors" at traditional brick-and-mortar schools, especially at the pricy private ones.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Why does the IT department have more work to do? Honest question. I've been doing online classes for about 10 years and I've never even talked to the IT department.

    .
    I have no idea except I do know each department has to give a percentage of their budget to IT for each online class they teach (or at least they do here). This is why the online class tuition is actually higher. I suspect it has something to do with maintaining Blackboard and other stuff, but I don't know precisely why. And, if you take a class that is available state wide (appparently multiple universities can get credit---my faculty did several of these for their masters in adult education), the tuition is even higher. That's why we don't call any of our classes "online" in the college catalog. They are technically a hybrid class with some instruction delivered via Blackboard and some face-to-face contact (usually exams). This circumvents the additional cost to the COHP and to the student.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    For all of my courses, exams were never more than 50% of the final grade.
    Ugh, I wish this had been true for us. Most of my classes (science) had grades based on 2-3 exams only. Most of my writing classes were based on 1-2 papers. At least with the papers it felt like you had some control because you could go and talk to the TA/Professor and hash out your ideas and work out a draft, but if you had a bad day and failed an exam worth 50% of your grade?

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    I find that, compared to other similar level unis/colleges where I've taught, U of Phoenix students have better writing skills, which surprised me. That was not what I expected. There have been the occasional students where I've wondered how they've reached my level of classes, based on their writing skills, but they are the exception, rather than the rule. I do teach more advanced classes, so I'm sure that helps, but compared to similar level classes at other colleges where I've taught, I've found that Phoenix students are better writers
    Hmm, well, I have a student right now who has a U of P degree, and she asked me where she could submit her papers for corrections. I said, "Eh, what?" and she told me that at U of P, she would send her papers to the writing center or whatever they call it, and someone would correct everything and send it back to her. I told her that she could take her paper to our writing center and they would discuss it with her, but tutors there were not allowed to touch a paper or correct anything. She was most upset and couldn't understand why our center didn't just fix everything.

    I have no evidence that what she says is true, although I did hear of a similiar things secondhand.

    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I have no idea except I do know each department has to give a percentage of their budget to IT for each online class they teach (or at least they do here). This is why the online class tuition is actually higher. I suspect it has something to do with maintaining Blackboard and other stuff, but I don't know precisely why.
    Well, that makes no sense to me, but it sounds like your setup is a lot different. We have ANGEL instead of Blackboard, but everyone has ANGEL for every class. Some choose not to use it, but most faculty do to one degree or another. I have as much stuff on my non-online course pages as I do for my online courses, and I know several people who teach trad courses who have even more up than I do. In cases like those, the trad classes burn up just as much bandwidth and server space as the online classes do--sometimes more. And IT has nothing to do with setting up the pages or whatever; we do it all ourselves. We have hybrid classes, too; same situation there. IT has nothing to do with it.

    But if you don't all have and use Blackboard regularly, then I can see why that would be different.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Very true. But I have to say, without exception, the online work I've seen has consistently been inferior to in-class work. I'm sure there are several reasons for that, but it does give me pause about the whole online trend.
    In this instance, what is "inferior"?
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    H is taking a Coursera (on-line) graduate class in mathematical finance, and the projected workload is 12-15 hours a week, so far true. The textbook is similar to those I used in grad school, but the math is definitely more challenging. He's loving it -- nice mixture of the professor lecturing, interviews the professor posts, readings (not from the textbook), material in the textbook, exercises, and a quiz. Seems to be very well thought through.

    The IT demands for on-line classes are substantial and costly.

  9. #69

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    Garr - the branches of U of P that my colleagues worked at have both since closed down, so it's possible that things were on the downward spiral at that point. I'm glad to hear that your experience has been better.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    That's no different from "admissions counselors" at traditional brick-and-mortar schools, especially at the pricy private ones.
    It's very different, and for you to suggest it isn't shows that you either know very little about questionable for-profit schools or about traditional brick and mortar schools. Or possibly you have no reliable knowledge about either.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  11. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by bek View Post
    The one school I mentioned I found because it was called one of the best online deals in terms of education and its a non profit. Plus I'm looking at the degree to help me move up at my current corporation.
    The one school you mentioned is a non-profit, but it's privately owned. And because of the way it awards credit, its degrees may not be recognized as legitimate by every employer.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    The IT demands for on-line classes are substantial and costly.
    Why is that? I'm genuinely curious.

    As I said, I have as much stuff on my trad class pages as I do on the online pages--some of it is copied over. My trad students get their syllabuses and schedules online, get their assignments online, have online assignments to do, and submit their work online. There are some differences--fewer assignments and fewer discussion board postings--but my trads still do quite a bit online. And I know that in our Nursing program, for example, all students are required to log in every single day and do an assignment online. They have a daily PowerPoint review among other things.

    So why would online courses create substantially more demands on IT?
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Really View Post
    In this instance, what is "inferior"?
    Significantly poorer quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Why is that? I'm genuinely curious.

    As I said, I have as much stuff on my trad class pages as I do on the online pages--some of it is copied over. My trad students get their syllabuses and schedules online, get their assignments online, have online assignments to do, and submit their work online. There are some differences--fewer assignments and fewer discussion board postings--but my trads still do quite a bit online. And I know that in our Nursing program, for example, all students are required to log in every single day and do an assignment online. They have a daily PowerPoint review among other things.

    So why would online courses create substantially more demands on IT?
    My Brick and Mortar experiences were very different from what you describe- we submitted assignments in person for example. Yes, I went to school a number of years ago, but I work at a college now, and I often see tests in boxes outside the lecture hall waiting for students to pick up, so I know they are hand written and hand scored. For you- the demands may not be different, but for me- they definitely were. We did almost nothing online unless it was an on-campus online course.

    If blackboard went down, there was huge pressure to get it up ASAP. Our classes were 8 weeks long, with assignments due almost everyday. Having an outage was a major interruption (In the course of the two years for my Master's degree -which is not accelerated for those who say online is quicker, it wasn't) I can only think of 2 interruptions of more than 12 hours. So they did their job, and since the school email went down probably 15 times for more than 12 hours in the same time period, I'm thinking they put a lot of resources into making sure blackboard stayed operational.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Hmm, well, I have a student right now who has a U of P degree, and she asked me where she could submit her papers for corrections. I said, "Eh, what?" and she told me that at U of P, she would send her papers to the writing center or whatever they call it, and someone would correct everything and send it back to her. I told her that she could take her paper to our writing center and they would discuss it with her, but tutors there were not allowed to touch a paper or correct anything. She was most upset and couldn't understand why our center didn't just fix everything.

    I have no evidence that what she says is true, although I did hear of a similiar things secondhand.



    Well, that makes no sense to me, but it sounds like your setup is a lot different. We have ANGEL instead of Blackboard, but everyone has ANGEL for every class. Some choose not to use it, but most faculty do to one degree or another. I have as much stuff on my non-online course pages as I do for my online courses, and I know several people who teach trad courses who have even more up than I do. In cases like those, the trad classes burn up just as much bandwidth and server space as the online classes do--sometimes more. And IT has nothing to do with setting up the pages or whatever; we do it all ourselves. We have hybrid classes, too; same situation there. IT has nothing to do with it.

    But if you don't all have and use Blackboard regularly, then I can see why that would be different.
    Actually, all classes have access to Blackboard and that's where all syllabi are posted along with lots of other things. I really don't know what the deal is with the online course cost and the IT department other than they get some percentage of each department's budget. There was a big issue with this and consequently some departments don't offer pure distant learning courses, but others do. The university even let an instructor move out of state and deliver all her coursework through WIMBA. I was going to do that for a couple of classes when I considered taking a job in Memphis just to help out. Bottom line is every university deals with this a little differently so it's difficult to make a lot of generalizations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    My Brick and Mortar experiences were very different from what you describe- we submitted assignments in person for example. Yes, I went to school a number of years ago, but I work at a college now, and I often see tests in boxes outside the lecture hall waiting for students to pick up, so I know they are hand written and hand scored..
    Oh, we still have plenty of faculty who won't even post their syllabi online, and many people still give printed exams. I don't give exams, but if I did, I wouldn't put them online for several reasons, so that makes sense to me. Papers are another story. School policy is that faculty are supposed to require students to submit papers through TurnItIn for plagiarism checks. Most of us do this; some do not. Most students appreciate this, as it means they don't have to worry about finding printers or paying to print the pages. I also post quizzes and exercises online; some of them are automatically graded, which is nice, and some of them I have to grade manually, but either way, the grade goes directly into the electronic gradebook, complete with comments if I choose to add them, which is available to the students at all times. I also post class notes, videos, assignments to read between classes, articles or other information I find that I think is interesting and relevant but don't have time to cover in class or that isn't actually related to class but is information students can use--all kinds of things.

    Colleges across the board are moving more and more online; if nothing else, it saves tremendously on printing costs. We don't even print the syllabus out any more; if students want hard copies, they have to print out their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    If blackboard went down, there was huge pressure to get it up ASAP. Our classes were 8 weeks long, with assignments due almost everyday. Having an outage was a major interruption (In the course of the two years for my Master's degree -which is not accelerated for those who say online is quicker, it wasn't) I can only think of 2 interruptions of more than 12 hours. So they did their job, and since the school email went down probably 15 times for more than 12 hours in the same time period, I'm thinking they put a lot of resources into making sure blackboard stayed operational.
    If ANGEL goes down, there is also a lot of pressure to get it back up--not because of the online classes in particular, but because we are all dependent on it. I don't think we have ever had an unannounced interruption of more than two hours. Planned interruptions take place during school vacations and the faculty all bitch mightily because IT always takes the system down right before the term starts when we are all uploading course material.

    So I am quite sure that IT does a lot to keep ANGEL running; I just don't see any exceptional need in terms of online classes.

    Schools do vary, of course, but......

    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    Actually, all classes have access to Blackboard and that's where all syllabi are posted along with lots of other things. I really don't know what the deal is with the online course cost and the IT department other than they get some percentage of each department's budget. There was a big issue with this and consequently some departments don't offer pure distant learning courses, but others do. The university even let an instructor move out of state and deliver all her coursework through WIMBA. I was going to do that for a couple of classes when I considered taking a job in Memphis just to help out. Bottom line is every university deals with this a little differently so it's difficult to make a lot of generalizations.
    I subscribe to all kinds of Tech in Higher Ed publications and see stats on the subject all the time. You may not be able to make a lot of generalizations, but if the stats are to be believed, my school falls somewhere in the middle in terms of tech use.

    I have a few students who complain about this because they are completely tech-phobic and often struggle with very basic things, but most of them greatly prefer the classes with faculty take advantage of the online tools to classes where the professors do not.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  17. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Hmm, well, I have a student right now who has a U of P degree, and she asked me where she could submit her papers for corrections. I said, "Eh, what?" and she told me that at U of P, she would send her papers to the writing center or whatever they call it, and someone would correct everything and send it back to her. I told her that she could take her paper to our writing center and they would discuss it with her, but tutors there were not allowed to touch a paper or correct anything. She was most upset and couldn't understand why our center didn't just fix everything.

    I have no evidence that what she says is true, although I did hear of a similiar things secondhand.
    U of Phoenix offers students the use of a piece of software called "Writepoint", which is a grammar, usage, and punctuation checker. But it doesn't rewrite a student's papers for them. It reviews the paper, and offers suggestions for changes if it finds grammar or punctuation errors, with explanations of why it's offering that change. I find it's of mixed effectiveness - I've yet to find a piece of software that does this type of work with real accuracy. But some of what it suggests is correct. So yes, the software can help the students, but it's not perfect, and it does not actually rewrite their papers for them.

    The University does not offer a paper writing service. It does have writing tutors available, but as at any university, the tutors don't rewrite student's papers. Instead, the student can go on line live with a tutor, in a group with other students, and ask specific questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Why does the IT department have more work to do? Honest question. I've been doing online classes for about 10 years and I've never even talked to the IT department.
    What about the students though? Also, someone has to set up the software and maintain it, install upgrades and fix bugs, and that happens whether you call the IT department or not.

    I suspect different Universities charge back differently so who knows why some particular university charges like they do. But if a university has special software for just the online classes, as some do, that costs money and someone has to pay for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    Also, it was a well known secret that the "enrollment advisors" at U of P were not much more than salespeople who had quotas to fill and would tell students anything just to get them to enroll and shell out the $$$.
    I have heard that from several of my friends who worked there as "enrollment advisors" too. At least one quit because doing the job made them feel "unclean."
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    What about the students though?
    What about them?

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Also, someone has to set up the software and maintain it, install upgrades and fix bugs, and that happens whether you call the IT department or not.
    Yes, I'm aware of that. But most schools use Blackboard or one of the other platforms which are used for both online and traditonal classes--as rfisher does, for example--and so all of those things are done anyway. The system, the software, the upgrades, the students--all of that is already functioning and does not require anything different. Unless you are adding a boatload of online classes that requires more server space or IT people, why would there be an extra charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    I suspect different Universities charge back differently so who knows why some particular university charges like they do.
    Well, I asked rfisher specifically because I figured as the person who has to pay the bill, she might know why her school does it. She doesn't. I wouldn't expect anyone else to know.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    What about them?
    Do they bug IT more for online classes than not online ones?
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