Friday, March 10, 2006

CNN/Money: Earning a degree online just got easier

From CNN/Money: Earning a degree online just got easier

I've got mixed opinions on this one. The short of it is:
Slipped into a $39.5 billion budget package that passed both houses last Tuesday was a provision that repealed what used to be known as "the 50-50 rule," which required colleges and vocational schools to offer at least 50% of their courses in traditional bricks-and-mortar classrooms before their students could qualify for federal loan programs. Now that the 50-50 rule is history, long-distance learning is accessible to many more students.
The particularly good part of it is, the funds will only be available to accredited colleges. Now, it doesn't make mention of who does the accrediting - a question you should always ask - but my assumption is that it's one of the "Big Six" regional accrediting bodies.

Personally and speaking for myself - I wouldn't yet want to attend any online school without a "brick-and-mortar" existence. A large part of this is due to my educational goals - I want to be taught by faculty that do research and other academic field work. My inclination is that, at this juncture, a purely online institution generally won't have much of that to offer. This doesn't take away from the quality of the education provided, but it does somewhat limit the type or nature of education that can be provided.

Then there's still the issue of general acceptance. Though I still believe online education is becoming more and more accepted, I still don't think many people are quite ready to accept a purely online institution. With a "brick-and-mortar" institution, they might know the name, the sports team, their buddy that went there, that they've been around for 100 years - all these things add legitimacy. That's unavailable with a purely online institution.

Note that the above, to me, does not detract from the quality education that can or will probably be able to be obtained there - just don't expect a purely online school to carry the same name-value of a "brick-and-mortar" institution anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the insightful posts about your online MBA @ ASU.

I'm considering applying either there, UMass, of U of Florida in about a year...keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

ASU's program is not getting better, it is progressively getting worse from the inside out. I would recommend going elsewhere.

dforester said...

Anonymous II - Do you have any specific gripes/thoughts on why it's getting worse (I'm assuming you're a current/former student)? I'm all for presenting both sides of the story, here...

Anonymous said...

Not a former student however I knew some students, professors and staff there. I received an MBA from another institution a while back so I am familiar with the material so I am not basing my argument on emotion but more on facts.
Each of the corporations which came to ASU for the online MBA have left, even the one (John Deere) that gave them money to start the program. They all left because of the management of the program and the quality of the education their employees received.
The question I have for people looking at ASU for an MBA is to look at how efficiently the program is run, much like a business. If they are driving customers away and numbers are going down far more than other institutions a red flag should be raised. Another good question to ask concerns the employment rate of MBA graduates within 3 months of graduation, assuming you are not already employed. The percentage may look good on paper but I wonder if ASU will talk about how many of these graduates they hire on which is not a true indicator of the employment success. They inflate their numbers but I am sure many other schools do too but where does ASU stand?
Costs for this program are high and that is partly due to some incredibly back decision making by the management running the online program. These so-called managers would not make it at a low level supervisory post in a major corporation. Any place where there is responsibility for profit/loss this management would be let go after 1 quarter.
So to me it appears as if they are bleeding clients (students and corporations sending students), fudging the numbers, and letting poor management make costly decisions. Just to name three issues of the plethora to choose from. Does this sound like a good place to learn business practices?

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