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My MBA at the University of Phoenix Online, Part 5: The Team Experience

This article was written by in Education. 47 comments.


University of Phoenix LogoLast year, I began sharing the details about my experience with the University of Phoenix‘s online campus. I completed an MBA through this program, and experienced the best and the worst of what the school has to offer. Nowhere is the wide range of possible experienced more clear than in dealing with the university’s “learning teams.”

To freshen up on my experience, please read the decision, admissions, course logistics, and the curriculum, as well an aside about the university’s purchase of naming rights to a professional sports stadium.

The basis for a significant portion of the assignments throughout each course is the “learning team.”

The teams are usually assigned by the facilitator during the first week of each six week course on the basis of similar degree focus or time zone, but some facilitators allow the students to suggest their teammates.

Throughout the remainder of each course, the learning team would be required to meet several times a week. For the online courses, this was accomplished using the chat room feature of whichever instant messaging software the team could agree on. Early on in the degree, it was also required for the teams to submit to the facilitator a chat log of the discussion, but somewhere along the lines, this requirement disappeared.

Each six-week course required, in addition to the papers written individually, three team hypothetical business case papers, business case simulation reflections, and in the case of some courses, problem sets. In order to get everything done, it usually meant you would be spending several hours a day working with your team members or working on the team assignments and submitting them for review by other team members.

This is project management on steroids. It’s a reflection — albeit intensified — of real working conditions in the corporate world. Working closely with three to five other students to complete quality work over the internet is an interesting experience, and there were many obstacles to ensuring that level of quality, especially during the first year.

When working with randomly assigned team members, some of whom have nothing in common, differences in work habits become apparent. Some students wanted to control all aspects of the assignment while others wanted to do as little work as possible. Part of working as a team is adjusting to the strengths and weaknesses of others, all of which is intensified due to the style of communication that was foreign to many people.

In the first few classes through working in teams, I discovered a number of people who should not have been attempting to earn a master’s degree. I’m not trying to be judgmental, but a certain level of familiarity with the English language should be a requirement for earning a bachelor’s degree, a prerequisite for the master’s degree. I am not referring to individuals who have spoken a non-English language their entire life, I’m referring to native English speakers who cannot string two sentences together or create a paragraph with a concrete main idea. I won’t hesitate to mention the creative spelling, punctuation, and grammar I encountered. This made editing and proofreading papers containing contributions from all team members one of the most difficult parts of group assignments.

This issue of “skill level” largely disappeared by the time I was attending the more important management decision making courses later in the program. In fact, in my “Cases in Decision Making” course, my team consisted of some of the most intelligent and experienced individuals I’ve “met” in the world of business.

The “learning team” approach to education is something that is missing from many traditional master’s degrees. You certainly get more from your education by working with your peers than you would if you’re just sitting in the back of a lecture hall and working on all assignments individually. I’m glad the team experience was a part of my education at the University of Phoenix despite its immense frustrations at the beginning.

It certainly gave me a lot of experience working with and getting results from people who don’t want to be there, shouldn’t be there, or have a wide range of personalities and strengths, just like I do now at my day job. It also provided me with exposure to high-level executives of a variety of companies, large and small, from whom I was happy to learn.

This learning team experience is at the same time one of the best and worst aspects of the University of Phoenix MBA program. I’m glad I stuck with the program to the end for the opportunity to learn from intelligent and hard-working businesspeople, and looking back I see the value in learning how to manage a team of people not committed to excellence, but it was a rough experience most of the time.

I don’t miss waiting up at the last minute — 2:00 or 3:00 am Eastern time — for the last team member to submit a portion of the particular assignment so I could finish combining all contributions and turn a mish-mash of style, voice, and interpretive grammar into a cohesive, readable paper.

This is Part 5 of a series about my experiences with the University of Phoenix Online. Here is what has been published so far.

Updated May 22, 2011 and originally published July 25, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Javier

One of the biggest problems with University of Phoenix is that it is virtually impossible to fail out. When anyone can go through the motions to get the degree, what is the value of the degree after all?

I’m going through an MBA program at a private institution right now, and while it isn’t exactly easy to fail, it’s not impossible.

There are a ton of reasons to avoid online MBA programs and seek a competitive business school. For one, the quality of course discussion is much better, and people actually have interesting real world experience to share (no, not diatribes about the graveyard shift at Denny’s).

The other big reason to attend a competitive business school you build a substantial network of other professionals that will serve you the rest of your career. When Jack Welch was last at MIT’s business school, he said the *most* important thing students will take away from the experience at MIT is not what’s learned from the grueling coursework, but rather the network they build.

It’s also worth mentioning that no reputable recruitment manager would place any significant value on a MBA from your Devry’s and UoP.

I’m glad you feel you benefited from the program, but I think it’s worth mentioning some of the down sides of taking the easy way out.

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avatar J

I find it funny that people say going online is the easy way out of going to school. It is my opinion that it is harder than going to a land campus. Discussion of the class is present in both online and campus classes one being verbal the other being typed. Time managment is the key to taking courses online. There is no time to play or even take days off when completing courses. While those who go to traditional colleges have courses spread out with breaks in between, online users work regardless of the time and holiday. As a matter of fact for Thanksgiving I was working on a team project that was due by the weekend, with no breaks in between clasess. The research to get a great paper is not something you can just put together and send out(Trust me I have tried). You do give up the face to face contact with students and teachers, but really were already headed that way in society.

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avatar Jamie

I am so glad you spoke up about the comment ” easy way out’ This school is no free ride.
I work constantly!

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avatar UofP Guy

Easy way out? There is nothing easy about having three kids a full time job and being a full time student that actually wants to learn. I am two classes away from earning my BSB concentrating on Information Systems though U of P.

Were some classes a waste of money, yes but I have had those at other schools as well. Were still other classes some of the hardest material I have ever seen (accounting, stats, etc) YES!

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avatar joe007

Javier,
If I were you, I would check to see if the program you are taking is even professionally accredited, not many private ONLINE institutions have a professionally accredited business programs. However, the MBA that the University of Phoenix offers is actually a professionally accredited program. So despite what you say, the program must meet certain rigors to keep the accreditation. So I am not sure what information that you have that gives you the opinion or ability to dictate the validity of University of Phoenix but I would challenge you to put the institution you are attending and their accreditation up against the MBA accreditation of UOP. That is, if you are not already attending UOP.

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avatar tinyhands

Unlike Javier, I won’t judge the quality and/or merits of the education you’re receiving. But I will say that much of what you describe is not at all different from my experience at a “traditional” university. The part-time program I completed last year had its fair-share of ill-prepared, unmotivated, and under-achieving students.

As you’re probably aware, these are the same types of people you’ll meet and may be forced to work with in “the real world”. Just as your professor may not care to hear your complaints, your boss will expect you to get the job done. You want to learn technical details? Get an MS. Want to learn the broadest possible definition of ‘management’? Get an MBA.

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avatar Lazy Man and Money

I don’t think Flexo took the easy way out – more than the most practical way. As Javier mentioned much of the value of the MBA is in the networking. So why pay a huge amount of money, stop earning your current income, to just build a network. I’m building quite a network by blogging and not only is it free, it makes me money. I’m not saying the two networks are comparable, but just that the cost of the MBA network is very, very high.

To get back to my original point, UoP is not necessarily the easy way out, but the one that allows you continue earning money. If you already make 6 figures as software engineer and want to become a product manager, it’s not exactly a profitable move to go to private institution. This is where UoP and other programs like it can have significant value.

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avatar klauss

Javier,

I guess the Flex had no real world experience and nothing to add to discussions.

Most students I know that decided to get their MBA where right out of their undergrad program. I believ that is less real world experience.

I also would think that the amount of students who complete an accredited online program is on average with other private accredited MBA programs if that is the stat that makes it legit. Not that they fail out, but that they don’t have the determination to complete the program.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,387 (Platinum)

Javier: “When anyone can go through the motions to get the degree, what is the value of the degree after all?”

The UoP curriculum is pretty rigorous, and I’m willing to bet a good portion of traditional MBA students couldn’t handle the personal responsibility and dedication necessary to complete — and take away something substatial — from any online program.

“Failing out” is a concept for undergraduate degrees. I would hope that those mature enough to attempt for a graduate degree (online or traditional) would recognize their own inability to do the work and leave before they “fail out.”

As far as I can tell, no one from my courses failed out, but there were certainly some who dropped out because they couldn’t handle the program for one reason or another.

I take it you have experience with both types of programs, and are therefore comfortable comparing the types of discussions that are held?

Not once will I say that online degrees are right for everyone. Please read the earlier posts in this series for a broader perspective and stay tuned for the remainder.

Lazy Man has a great point. Not only was I still working while earning the degree, but my employer was happy to pay for about 90% of the costs of the degree.

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avatar Dona Pontarelli

I go to UOP, I am in their IT program, the program is very intense, and very time consuming. I would hardly call this program the “lazy man’s way out.” In fact in excess to working full time, I usually put in forty hours plus working on assignments and other homework assigned. I could not go to a regular university because I have small children. For students such as myself with limited time, and a need to support my family without decreasing my income UOP fits.
Dona Pontarelli

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avatar Eric

I’ve been playing “catch-up” on your blog. I’m taking classes at an Regions University for my undergrad. I’m about a year from being done and was thinking of going for my MBA. This has been helpful because UoP is pretty much the standard when it comes to online degrees.
I look forward to the next installment.

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avatar Cliff Neeley

Your arrogance shines in this note. There is nothing easy about the MBA program at UOP. I have heard similar comments from persons who were booted out of UOP program for trying to submit someone else’s work. That is taking the easy way out. UOP has a better program now where they have us meet in a regular classroom for lecture and presentations of final work, that first day and last day of class. The rest is online. I had my first 4 classes at a regular University, and I find the work more challenging and I learned more at UOP then at the University. Yes it was a well accredited university. I suggest in the future you tell us the truth about the fact that you could not cut it with UOP so now you want to spread ill will for revenge. Tell us what really happen to you with UOP. I value my MBA form UOP.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,387 (Platinum)

Cliff: I take it your comments are in response to Javier’s comment above, not the main post… just for clarification.

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avatar krazigirl79

I am currently a UOP MBA / Healthcare Management student and have ONE CLASS TO GO! Although I must say the learning team experience has been extremely frustrating- many of the frustrations having to do with the factors that were mentioned earlier- you have to admit that they are more “realistic” than other formats because we will be dealing with these types of people in our daily lives! Whether at work, at a store or in some other classroom setting- we will always have the achievers and the slackers.

I’m a bit nervous as I finish up my degree- I have been looking to start a new career, and hoping that my experience at UOP will give me an edge over the field of candidates out there- but with the mixed reactions I hear when discussing UOP, it is a bit disheartening- people bash UOP without ever having attended- it is not an easy schedule, although some of the courses are lacking in substance. How do you combat those people who are convinced that UOP is just an over-priced B school? (PS- I attended the brick and mortar school- and it has definitely enhanced my education experience when compared to the online classes I have taken in the past).

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avatar UoPAlumnus

Hello All,

My 2 cents …

I received my Master’s degree (MS-CIS) from UoP-online in 2006 (took me 3 years to complete). I have mixed feelings with the entire experience, both during the degree and after. Since my degree was technical (Computer Information Systems), I thought it mattered less if I chose an ‘online’ university as against the traditional university. However, for an MBA (which I aim to do sometime soon), I plan on attending a brick-and-mortar university classroom nearby. The main reason being that the responses that I got from people (friends, college professors, etc) regarding my UoP degree was far from satisfactory. In fact the MBA director at a local university spoke with disdain about the degree, saying that the degree was not sufficiently ‘accredited’. In fact, if my master’s degree was from a regular school, the GMAT requirement would’ve been waived for my MBA admission, but the MBA director refused to waive the GMAT requirement because the degree was obtained ‘online’.
In any case, I wouldn’t defend the UoP online degree vigorously; I only did it because:
1. My company paid for the full tuition.
2. Work and familial reasons prevented me from attending a regular university.
3. Being a ‘technical’ degree, especially in the I.T. field, I was OK with the ‘online’ format.
However, I wouldn’t ‘trash’ every online class out there; many of the so-called ‘ivy-league’ schools are themselves getting into ‘online education’ in a big way. That simply vindicates the usefulness of an online degree/class in the real world!

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avatar grad07

I finished by MBA at UoP in March of this year (2007). I have to say that during my entire time in the program, I never considered it easy. It’s like everyone says, “You get out of a degree what you put into it.” I spent many late nights putting together papers and doing research alone and with my Learning Team. Though this may surprise some here, I also had some classes that required online testing (statistics, accounting, and finance courses) using the same types of online testing programs that are currently being used at traditional Universities.

I have some experience with brick and mortar universities as well. I earned my economics degree from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, which is a top-rated Virginia University and business school. I place equal value on both my graduate and undergraduate degrees. However, to those who want to bash the UoP experience, I will tell you that during my time at Tech, I had some classes that were taught by disengaged professors with no practical business experience and graduate students who had no teaching experience. I also had some great professors at Virginia Tech who really loved teaching. I worked with individuals in team environments who had no interest in contributing their fair share while others picked up the slack. To my knowledge, they all graduated. I have friends at other well know Virginia Universities who have had the same experiences.

Frankly, I would have gladly gotten my graduate degree from one of these fine Virginia institutions but they did not offer programs that accommodated a working parent’s schedule. I needed something more flexible. Though no brick and mortar offered online classes when I started at UoP, I see they are all scrambling for a share of that market now.

Like others that have responded here, I actually lost many a UoP classmate during the 24 month curriculum to the fact that he or she could not handle a full-time job and the demands of UoP. I guess for some who have responded here, these folks should not have even been offered the opportunity to return to school. The online classroom is more demanding because it requires an incredible amount of self-directed time management. I spent no less than four hours a day answering posts in discussion groups and completing my course work.

UoP was a very rewarding experience. It helped me develop a solid business plan for a company with the potential to generate over $100 million per year in revenue. I had no issues with UoP’s accreditation, which includes the The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). No, the University is not accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and neither are a lot of other fine brick and mortar schools across the nation. If you want some good information and articles on distance learning, feel free to visit AACSB’s website and learn how some other traditional brick and mortar Universities are trying to create for-profit distance learning models.

I could just as easily delve into the credibility of the faculty at many brick and mortar schools but if anyone really wants to know whether their traditional University have had any issues just use Google.

Is UoP perfect? No. However, unlike most state funded brick and mortar schools, if UoP fails to meet the needs of its customers, it will eventually go out of business. However, for whatever reason, state funded schools never seem to die when they are mismanaged. They just get new administrators and more state funding and press on.

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avatar graylebaron

I am currently an online student at UoP and contemplating an MBA. I understand you completed your MBA and eagerly await for your final conclusions. When will you complete your series?

Thanks.

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avatar arpharm

I am thinking about doing an MBA at UOP, however I have a question for those who completed the degree. How difficult was it to get a job or promotion using the MBA? Did it cause any problems that you got your MBA from an online course rather then a brick and mortar place?

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avatar maremojo

grad07, your comments have been very helpful!

I’m thinking about UoP but am not sure what I want do do! Without a plan, it’s foolish to pursue education unless you just have oodles of cash lying around (not I) but your remarks give me confidence that brick-and-mortar folks feel threatened by the UoP nontraditional approach to education. Ironic that these same Big 12 (and Ivy) schools are now implementing and considering online education as well. Saw a billboard the other day that one can now earn an online MBA from my alma mater (UT-Austin).

Hook ‘Em Horns! Class of ’95

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avatar Cliff Neeley

My last comment was to Javier’s comment above, not the main post… just for clarification. Sorry I was not clear on that.

This is to maremojo, above. The decision to use an online format should not be taken lightly. Not because the degree is less then another, but because of the discipline it takes to follow through. I took flex net, format which requires the first night and the last night on campus with a real instructor and you meet your class mates and instructor and determine your teams. This is a much better experience.
Online is not for everyone. However, if you do decide to do online UOP is the best. I tried others, and did an exhaustive search for the right one. UOP won my vote hands down. The support from the academic advisor and financial aid persons is very professional.. They have been doing it longer than anyone, and the website is easy to use, and very professional. Experience matters with anything and UOP has the experience.
The program is not easy. I have only one class left for the MBA program ending June 28. I am graduating in a July commencement. A typical weeks work, includes 2-6 chapters of text book reading. Usually we also have 1-4 different articles and case study to read. Based on the reading you must answer 3 discussion questions online in the classroom forum. You must also discuss the topics in that forum with at least 2 posts each night a minimum of 4 days a week. Then you must re-study to find the answers to very challenging questions in the open classroom forum. You do not want to look like an idiot so you must do the work. Then you have an individual paper of some type due and the end of the week, plus an end of the week summary where you discuss what you took away from the weeks work. This is to be all inclusive of what was covered and you hope learned. You get points off for not including the right stuff and the syllabus is clear. All during the weeks of the course you pick up information to tie that all together for a final paper that encompass the entire course material and experience. This all inclusive course paper and presentation is the final exam. You are required to research your writing and back up your work with solid evidence. Papers are in APA format and your citations must be accurate. They have very professional requirements on writing these papers. I do not know about you but I am not a speed reader so it took me 3-4 days just to get the reading done. There is no way you will not learn this stuff if you follow the program and do what is required.
There is no easy way out. If you insist on using someone else’s ideas or material, you will get caught. They have programs that check your writing for flags that something may not be your original work. During the course you have two papers or projects that are required of the teams. You must work in your team to put this assignment out. Work a lot, learn a lot. The only thing I did not like about this program was the fact that I had to put my life on hold. I had not time to myself. Not everyone will learn as hard as I do, so it may not require as much from you. I must study if I want to learn and get this work done. If you decide to do online I would recommend the best. The best is the most experienced and that is UOP and the flex net.
Good luck in whatever you decide.

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avatar Fernando

Hi everyone, I’m from Argentina and I’m thinking on taking the On Campus MBA at UoP (California) because my parents live there.

The main idea of this program is to get a job at the United States, so what are my probabilities of finding a job at the end of the MBA??

Have in mind that I will enter the country with a F-1 Visa (student Visa) and I will seek for the Working Visa (only if an employer offer it).

Thanks you all,

Fernando.

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avatar baby boomer '63

I don’t think Flexo to the easy way out because there is nothing easy going to school on line. The only ease may be that you can stay up until 2am and get classwork done. I have my undergrad from UOP and now pursuing my graduate degree. I am having difficulties with the team and understanding the method of material. Writing is not easy but with the 350 word or 3000 words due at the end of the six weeks I am getting better. I chose UOP because it’s progressive and I think it can be wave of the future doing everything on line is not a far fetched idea. The library is at your finger tips Imagine not going to the library for research… I miss the interaction of the classmate and sometime the message come across a little harsh and wordy or not too wordy. I would prefer to see UOP as the leader in business schools for the practical. I can’t afford MIT, Princeton,Harvard or Stanford so I see UOP at the same level of state college. The rest is up to me to perform at the interview. Maryland State University in my backyard is going on line so UOP is side by side with them.

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avatar Sawa

I completed my undergrad degree at UoP, which I started at a bricks and mortar college. My personal circumstances (I live in a non-English speaking country) meant that online was the only feasible way I could complete my degree.

All I can say is that people who look down upon an online degree obviously have no personal experience of just how challenging it is. I can honestly say that I was pushed harder during the UoP program than I ever was at a bricks and mortar school. For one, the participation required is very high – there is no way you can just sit at the back of the classroom. Not only do you have to contribute at least 4 days a week, but you are challenged on your comments from your classmates and this forces you to really think about what you say (and you can’t get away with not reading the course work). Secondly, the time management and personal motivation required are very high. I also had classmates drop out because they just couldn’t cope. This is something that you should highlight to prospective employers when they question your online degree. Surely every employer wants to hire someone who has proved that they are responsible, independent thinkers who can work on their own and deliver on deadline.

The online format also allows for much richer interpersonal interaction with your teammates and your instructor. I almost never got a chance to have a private discussion with my professors at the bricks and mortar school, but with UoP, my professors were available to me 24/7. They have to respond to you within a certain time period, or you can complain to the university. That kind of personal time with instructors can be very valuable, if you care enough to avail yourself of it.

I am currently researching institutions where I can do my MBA and I will likely go with another online institution. It probably won’t be UoP – not because I fault the learning experience I had, but because I think my education and prospectives for global employment would be better served by an MBA from a European business school. There are plenty of very good business schools and universities that are now offering an online route, which just goes to show that there is obviously merit in the medium.

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avatar Jacob

Thank you for documenting your experiences Flexo. I look forward to reading your other ones. I am a current student at UoP and I have no problems with the education I am receiving. I have also attended a traditional university and was never challenged in the same way like my UoP experience. UoP bashers are the ones who could not handle the time management required or they are bashing just based on what everyone else is saying. Do your homework and you will see it is not a bad place to attend.

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avatar Dona Pontarelli

Jacob,
I agree, if you think your going to slide through UOP’s program, think again. It is not for the undisciplined. You have to drive yourself to succeed at UOP, or else you will fail.

Dona Pontarelli

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avatar UoPTech

I am a current employee for Apollo Group working in Technical Support, I service both Student, Staff and Faculty members. I see nearly all sides of the school and I see the difficulties most students experience and why and the biggest one is due to lack of discipline as previously stated. I will tell you that like all businesses there are bad apples and just one bad apple can cause the ultimate end-user (our students) a bad first impression or over all experience with UoP. If an Enrollment Counselor did not walk a student through their getting to know the online environment, that student tends to start off very frustrated and overwhelmed. The cleanup crew that Technical Support often is we tend to pick up on other job duties to ensure the customer is satisfied and comfortable with the online format. I will tell you that just about anyone can be enrolled, BUT only those who consistently put the time and effort into studying, participating and doing their work will succeed which really is the ultimate lesson in life for those of us who aren’t handed everything on a silver platter.

Some student’s go through their entire degree without every experiencing issues, some don’t. I get some student’s who have been attending for several years and have their first call to Technical Support. We get all kinds of calls from basic computer use and training to the nitty gritty technical stuff. Some students call nearly once a week.

If you are one with little self-discipline you will be challenged and online school may not be for you unless you actually push yourself to be a good learner and adapt, of which adaptation really is what being a life-long learner is all about. Otherwise you can go to a ground campus. Attending online classes means you need to create your own schedule and follow through with it. Many of these student’s lacking discipline will wait till the last minute to work on their assignments, encounter a technical issue, get all frustrated, they want what can’t be done and expect the school to jump through hula hoops just because their lazy ass won’t get in gear. Then they try to find every excuse they can to justify themselves and bash the institution. Those people are going nowhere fast and online school is not meant for them at least not in their current state mind and lifestyle.

I’ve encountered so many people who are negative about online school when they have very little knowledge or experience if any. People are insecure about what they don’t understand and they feel threatened, especially when it comes to education. Unfortunately those types of people are always going to be around and always going to be a waste of time, effort and valuable resources. I don’t care where you got your degree, that’s what an interview is for.

Everyone is different so of course Online School is not for everyone. But I do know that UoP does a good job of offering a curriculum that applies to many different learning styles, whether be it linguistic, spatial, logical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or interactive, yes that’s right there are plenty of methods to use on the computer that allow you to actually full fill these types of learning styles all at your finger tips not miles away at a library or campus. In fact I personally believe it can offer more than what the physical classroom but that does not necessarily mean that’s what I prefer.

I have personally attended classes with Axia College of UoP, the associate degree only school which is similar to the undergrad and above format but is not nearly as rigorous and demanding. I have also attended Fullerton JC and Westwood College of Technology. All different experiences, with the JC being the most like high school especially being that it was in Orange County; too many distractions, a high student to instructor ratio, very little one-on-one time available, and of course in attending a classroom like that means a lot of wasted time, and that’s why it’s so cheap. Westwood College on the other hand was an excellent experience, small classes, great instructors who worked in their field, and I was delved into some of my core classes immediately which really helped keep me interested and motivated to proceed pretty much what I expect from a good ground campus and that’s probably why i’m still paying my education bill from them. I ended up moving out to Phoenix and started working for Apollo Group and began attending with Axia College. Like Westwood, the online class had a better student teacher ratio and the instructors were currently working in their field. The best part was time management, I didn’t have to waste time getting there, wait for the instructor/students, so I spent more quality time doing work and critical thinking. Being a perfectionist that I am this came to be in my favor. I personally can not be very creative under time constraints. Creativity has to come to me naturally and my work gets better the more time I can spend on it allowing my thoughts to flow and collect It’s great to be able to start something, stop, cool off, let some other thoughts come in, revise, continue in the comfort of your own home. As I continued that process it made critical thinking even easier and come to me much sooner

I believe that both distance learning and in class have their advantages and disadvantages, and you just need to figure out what style learner you are and which one is best for you. If it isn’t good for you there is no reason for you to just go all out bashing, because not everyone is like you, so realize that and shut up. This has been my experience attending the online classes with UoP and working with the student’s directly day to day.

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avatar formerUOPstudent

When I decided to return to school after dropping out my senior year in college, I was excited about attending UOP. I heard all the ads about being able to work and go to school. I applied and was quickly recruited by an enrollment counselor. He was very helpful but persistent. Mind you, I was still clueless on what went on behind the scenes. When I saw the cost of attending UOP, I almost decided not to. But, you really can’t put a price on your education, so I did it. I was being forced to take a “getting acquainted with how the university teaches class” for almost two grand…well that was not cool, but it’ll help me get acclimated to the UOP environment. Time from enrollment to financial aid set up to first day of class, 3 weeks. I was impressed. First day of class, was told about the 5 week class length and then the infamous outside study group (I had heard horror stories about this). Great. I was going to have to depend on schmucks with excuses like, “I have to dye my hair tonight” to “I can’t find a babysitter” to “I don’t do weekends.” (All true excuses). I asked my academic counselor why this type of learning was needed. “To teach you to work with a group and the dynamics of a group to help you in the workplace.” Shit! Come on folks! I have worked for corporate America as a manager for some time now. I know about working together. conflict resolution, time management, etc. I don’t need UOP to teach me that. Fine. Groups it is. 1st week of class. 2 hours on how UOP works and why we made a great decision to return to school. 45 minute break. We leave at 10PM. 1/5th of the class is done. And what did I learn? How UOP operates their class schedule. Oh and how to exchange numbers with complete strangers. Second week, a little discussion, but way too much emphasis on the group. The group. Fine. So….while my class is plugging along, I need to pay for all of this somehow. I’m a working joe who can barely keep $5 in his checking account. Financial aid (Aid for who? Ms. Sallie Mae and her cohorts, that’s who!) visit. I need to apply for a private loan as well (for the extras…like books, maybe a laptop to help with studying, etc.) FA says relax the money is on its way. Of course I panic. What if FA doesn’t deliver? Then it’s coming out my pocket now! I apply for a $10K private loan, used a co-signer, get approved, UOP only “certifies” $1500.WTF! I march to FA, speak to my advisor. She’s telling me I am eligible for the whole amount. Have them send it again, she says. I call Sallie Mae, they say have UOP send the loan request to us. UOP says, Um ok. Well apply again. Damn! OK so I apply. AGAIN. I get a letter from UOP saying “Hello!? We’re only going to use $1500. Forget the other $8500 you were hoping to get.” Apparently because of my less than perfect credit, my private loan can only be used to cover tuition shortfall. God damn UOP! Oh well, sorry laptop! So back to week 3…Still no substantial learning involved, then I go online to really find out what’s going on with UOP. Complaints everywhere. I start to panic. Then I realize.

Why the hell am I going to a University that says it’s suited for adult learners, blah blah blah. The way I see it, everyone that says they received a “Quality” education, guess what folks!? You gave YOURSELF that education! That’s right. UOP’s instructors push everything off on the books and learning groups. So you spend your entire educational career teaching yourself and you have to pay them for that. Messed up if you ask me. When you do the math. 3 hours (because the other 1.5 hours are wasted in mindless chatter) at 5 weeks equals 15 hours of “instruction.” Traditional university. 3 hours a week at SIXTEEN M-Fing WEEKS! equals 48 hours of instruction. So all of you folks happy with your education. You mean to tell me that 15 – 20 hours of instructions even comes close to 48 hours!? No wonder UOP graduates aren’t hired.

Oh yeah I forgot to finish the story. I dropped out after the first class before this place reeled me in. True, it’s not for everyone. If you want to teach yourself, struggle with setting up “group” time, instructors who “work in their field” (what a joke), high costs, administration that really doesn’t know how their own institution works (My FA advisor swears the FA office was wrong), then UOP is for you. By the way, even if you officially withdraw from university (not just your class but from the circus known as UOP), you’ll still get welcome emails and letters from your new academic advisor (its been two years folks! get a clue, i’m not returning) and follow up telephone calls to make sure that your classes are going ok, then knock yourself out. See how many folks respect you when you tell them where you graduated from.

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avatar Wow_Now

So, let me get this straight… Basically you are angry with the school because you, a self proclaimed adult, had to study on your own, and you did not get the extra funds you wanted to buy “goodies” you can’t normally afford. And this is why people should not choose this University? Wow

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avatar Cliff

formerUOPstudent,
And, I bet you never finish a grad degree. People like you who whine about the program do not have what it takes to get the grad degree, online or otherwise.

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avatar formerUOPstudent

I received my B.S., just not from UOP. I did what I should have from the beginning. Saved up some money, quit my full time job and finished my degree and I’m currently working on finishing up my MSEE.

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avatar TonyB

I am sorry, but you clearly do not know anything about schooling at UOP if you think that anyone can get through it. Those not prepared for the program are generally weeded out in the first class. Most of the people I have worked with have been highly tenured professionals in high powered/earning positions whose credentials simply did not match there experience and title. Just in my undergrad I encountered individuals who managed multi million dollar projects as Project managers who were simply trying to get certified through PMBOK guidelines. This was a little intimidating at times, but ultimately the most amount of learning I have ever had in any of the multitude of academic settings I have participated in. I mean, what are you talking about, clearly you have never taken a class at UOP, I mean, clearly. Yes there will always be those who slack, like in any school, but networking??? Why would I want a network of inexperienced, newly graduated students when I can maintain a network of current, tenured, experienced, professionals well established in their fields.

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avatar Asper

Hi,

I’m evaluating various options of doing MBA online including at UoP. A question? Is it very difficult it is to finish the degree say with in 60 weeks(10 courses), considering 6 weeks for each course of 3 credits with a total of 30 credits, as it is now. I’m working fulltime.

Thanks
asper

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,387 (Platinum)

If you’re looking for an “easy” way to get an MBA, it’s not the University of Phoenix. You’ll need more than 30 credits to finish the MBA unless you have undergraduate business courses to exempt you from some of the lower level graduate courses.

Working full time and spending several hours a day with classwork without a break between each class isn’t something I’d consider easy for most people, but if you have the drive, dedication, and time, you might be able to handle that. That’s up to you.

Don’t choose Phoenix if you’re looking for something quick, easy and light on required course work.

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avatar Asper

Hey Flexo,

Thanks. I do have a Masters in Accounting and now wants to do MBA. The curriculum as it is now for online MBA at UoP, is only of 36 credits with 12 courses. I’m hoping to get atleast 2 course exemptions. Is it not doable with in 60+ weeks, considering my background. I know every person is different ,but in general…….. btw, how much does it took for you to complete? and how many credits?

Asper

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,387 (Platinum)

Your background makes it easier, and if you believe you can handle the courseload in addition to your extracurricular responsibilities, I’d say go for it. Just don’t expect it to be easier than some other program, just more convenient.

I finished 50-something credits in two plus years, with one-week breaks between classes and some time off. You can read through the series here on Consumerism Commentary for more of my thoughts on the pros and cons of the program.

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avatar Go Sharks

Back in March (#14 on this list) someone asked about real world acceptance of the UoP MBA vs an on campus degree. I don’t see any specific responses. I’m in the boat of deciding which is the best route to go pursuing an MBA. Can someone chime in about how the business world looks at the UoP degree? Quiting work and going back to school is not an option at all for me. Even some local on campus programs have major hurdles (available class times for those of us who can not attend day time classes). My BS is a very specialized degree within healthcare. After 11 years in the field, I am finding that there are options for lateral movement but very little upward movement unless I further my education. The online degree program offers a certain flexibility that is very valuable in my situation, but I don’t want to find (in a couple years) that the UoP education is not as well respected as a brick and mortar education as I try to evolve professionally.

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avatar KZ

I earned my Master’s degree from The Ohio State University in 2007 in a traditional in class format. I contemplated doing a second Master’s degree at UOP until I saw the curriculum. OSU required 60 credit hours for the completion of my degree, UOP requires a minimum of 36. OSU’s classes are 10 weeks long, UOP are 6. UOP may be regionally accredited but it lacks program specific accredition. For example the gold standard accreditation for an MBA is AACSB International accreditation (which OSU’s program has) not the ACBSP accreditation that UOP’s MBA program has. Also I spoke to countless coworkers and HR people who for the most part unanimously agreed that the degree was not spoken highly of in many employment sectors. As a result I decided not to persue any type of graduate degree at UOP.

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avatar Brenda Lytel

I too am attending the university of phoenix and as so frusterated with these learning teams. I too have sat up waiting for people to send in their part of the paper, in fact that is what I’m doing right now. The utter incompetence that some people have is just insulting to an educational instituation. How these people stay in college or keep a job for that matter is beyond me. I think most people come into these programs thinking that because its online it’s a breeze and they can do it in a hour a day. Yeah right, get real people if you don’t have the time or the brain power don’t waste the governments money on school. (Well at least I hope they aren’t paying out of pocket, that would just be even dumber)

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avatar Steven Schulman

As a for-profit university, the University of Phoenix accepts pretty much everybody. This sounds bad, bit means that everybody is given an opportunity. The fair thing is to compare the level of those who COMPLETE a degree at the University of Phoenix with those who COMPLETE a degree at any other university. On that basis, I think that the University of Phoenix compares very favorably. I do not think that you will find very many unqualified graduates or graduates who obtained their degree effortlessly.

If there are any posters who graduated who think the program was easy, or if you know graduates who you think are not qualified then I would like to hear about it.

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avatar UoP MBA, RN

I absolutely agree. I completed my MBA from UoP and am very satisfied. I worked hard and have not been looked down upon because of it. As a matter of fact, most people admire the accomplishment, having done it working full time and with a family. I am currently working on my Ph.D through another online program and am very appreciative that these programs are available for us hardworking and determined individuals.

UoP Grad, MBA, RN

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avatar JermUK

You’re an idiot.

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avatar Carrie

Thank you so much for posting this!!!! I have been debating for some time about taking the plunge and getting my MBA. I have decided to go with the University of Phoenix due to its online program, which is really the only way I can keep my job and further my education. Your post has helped me to have a better understanding of what to expect. Thanks!

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avatar emrycksmom

I wouldnt got to UoP for a buisness degree just because its not accredidted but i am going to pursue my associates in social work however i still havent heard anybody say anything about finding a job with the degree. It might be hard but if you cant find work then all that work was done withiut fulfilling its purpose right? I hope that once I aquire all this debt Im able to pay it back but from the things Ive read on the internet its a waste of time and money so can someone please reasure that Im not making a huge mistake by going to UoP

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avatar NorthcoteCupGuy

Flexo-

Thanks for the information on the MBA program through Phoenix. I’m just finishing up my MBA at a traditional brick and mortar institution (Augsburg College) and will be enrolling in FIN571/Corporate Finance through Phoenix to fulfill my finance requirement (I had a family emergency and had to withdraw from the Finance class at Augsburg). I’d like to hear your thoughts about this class. What did you like and what did you dislike about this class? I work in sales and don’t have much of business background (I took a semester of Macro in undergrad. I took classes in Quant. Analysis, Accounting & Micro through the MBA program at Augsburg (these 3 classes were each 8 weeks). Any advice you can give me for this class will be greatly appreciated! (This will also be my first on-line class.)

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avatar Brian

Be prepared for huge challenges with the class in finance Fin571/corporate

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avatar UoPMSA2012

I recently graduated with a Master of Science in Accountancy from UoP and completely agree that anyone looking for an easy degree should look elsewhere. For employment reasons I had to take simultaneous classes for my last 18 credits with no breaks and it was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. With that said I would do it again in a second. Since graduating my degree has been warmly received by colleagues and has opened some new doors. My only criticism is of the learning teams and the over-emphasis that is placed on them. Much like the author of the original piece, trying to organize a mash-up of voices in various forms of English well after midnight became a weekly project. I will concede that while the work was at times overwhelming, the grading did seem to be lenient. On more than one occasion I questioned if the facilitator actually read the papers.

I have a question if anyway has joined the Delta Mu Delta honor society and their thoughts?

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avatar SoonToGraduateBSBMUOP

To UoPMSA2012…
I’m scheduled to graduate next July, and have recently been invited to join Delta Mu Delta. My understanding is this is a legitimate, accredited organization. My academic advisor and my current instructor expressed enthusiasm for my having met DMD’s standards of acceptance into their organization.

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