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December 26, 2010

Totally online university breaks traditional academic model

No tenure? No publish or perish? Focus on actual student learning? Heresy!!!!!

What makes WGU unique? Although the entire school is online, each student has a mentor who works essentially as a college counselor, helping manage the student's course schedule and checking regularly on his or her progress. The course instructors hold webinars and online study sessions, and can be reached to help students having difficulty with their studies.

The mentors and instructors mostly work from their homes, keeping in contact with students online and over the phone.

WGU instructors don't get tenure that guarantees them a job, nor are they encouraged to publish academic papers. Instructors are evaluated based on how well their students do in class and whether their students are satisfied and progressing well in their programs.

Because the school is a nonprofit that's focused on making education accessible, it keeps a tight rein on tuition. Undergraduate students pay $2,800 per semester. That pays for as many or as few units as they can manage to take. The average graduate pays less than $15,000 for a four-year degree.
Obviously, certain cultural aspects of attending traditional universities will suffer under this new model. You'll never get to ummm...steal the light bar off a campus security cruiser by turning bolts 1/4 turn every day for a month. You'll never get to pop a Dean with a water balloon from the 3rd floor bathroom window...and of course you miss out on all that vomit inducing cheap green beer the local bars hawk on St. Patrick's day.

OTOH, you won't be paired with a psycho room mate who resembles a cross between Ted Manson/Charles Dahmer/Jeff Bundy(*), or who tries to convert you to Druidism every waking moment and maintains an extensive collection of his own toenail clippings all carefully sorted and cataloged.

(*) - ROL 1st names, yea this is a geek joke


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posted by Purp at 10:12 AM

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