Thursday, January 8, 2009

Of Sally Struthers and University of Phoenix Online


I'm curious about a lot of things. Today I'm wondering about the quality of degrees earned over the internet, and I'll share my notes in this blog.

For some background, I got my BS and MS degrees from non-online schools, and I'm working as an electrical engineer. I'm excited about lots of things the internet enables us to do. Of course, it isn't a substitute for physical human interactions (and for me as of today, that includes traditional education), but now we can do all sorts of things online that was never before possible. By compromising some of the pleasures of real world interactions, we can interact with people and ideas from the comfort of our couch and netbook. But I digress.

I'm starting this blog with a sneaking suspicion that a Simpsons episode included a University of Phoenix Online joke, but I can't find a reference. So I'll just pull one up from YouTube:

I'm suspicious that most people that ridicule online degrees, like the guys in the video, haven't really explored what goes into an online degree. I'm just as ignorant: I've never met anyone that's gotten their degree online, and I've never visited an online degree site. So let me share my first impressions.

Off the top of my head, I've seen a bunch of University of Phoenix ads around the internet for online degrees. When I think of online degrees, I begin to recall the Sally Struthers advertisements we all watched through the eighties:

But I throw them into the same bin only because you're learning from home. Does that necessarily mean they offer the same type of degrees? Let's look at a sampling of degrees offered from each school:

ICS Learning System (Sally Struthers):
High School
TV/VCR Repair
Computer Programming
Animal Care Specialist
Auto Mechanic
Legal Assistant

University of Phoenix:
Associate: Associate of Arts in Business, Associate of Arts in Financial Service, Associate of Arts in Hospitality, Travel, and TourismBachelor's: Bachelor of Science in Business/Information Systems, Bachelor of Science in Business/Integrated Supply Chain and Operations Management, Bachelor of Science in Business/Management
Master's:Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing for Nurse PractitionersPhD:Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership/Educational Technology
So it appears that University of Phoenix is a superset of the ICS Learning System. University of Phoenix Online aims to serve a range of students: those with either high school degrees or masters degrees can get their next degree while working. ICS provides degree programs that can be entered with or without a high school degree.

Questionably the impossibility of earning a PhD from home is now possible through the internet. But this says nothing of the quality of education, which we can dig into later!

1 comment:

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