Accreditation decision concerning University of the People

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by tadj, Mar 17, 2023.

  1. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    Will University of the People Endure for the People?

    "This free, nonprofit, online university breaks rules, harnesses bots and seeks to serve the world. But its effort to seek new accreditation raises thorny higher ed innovation questions."

    "the outcome of UoPeople’s bid for accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), whose decision is expected this month."

    Article link:

    In the recent past, I had to deregister soon after signing up with University of the People due to absolutely terrible communications with the staff (bots?). I was flooded with meaningless responses to my e-mails. But I am open to changing my mind. I hope that they make some genuine improvements!
    RoscoeB and Dustin like this.
  2. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I also didn't have a great experience teaching with them but I admire their mission.
    RoscoeB and tadj like this.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I kind of feel like she didn't know what angle she wants to supply on this article, and split the difference between enthusiasm and skepticism.
  4. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    The lack of a clear pro/against stance makes some sense. This university really does have ambitious and socially laudable goals. Full-blown skepticism seems out of place when you’re dealing with enhancing these needy student lives. At the same time, I could easily point to several elements in the education toolkit, which are quite problematic. The peer-grading stuff is especially concerning to me. I have taken many MOOC courses and witnessed how this type of evaluation operates. I would have a hard time being fully enthusiastic about THAT particular experiment, even if I could see myself being on board with the general mission of the university. But the frequent lack of a real human element (especially in an online setting!) in dealing with student needs is likewise a concern for me.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2023
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm not saying that one shouldn't be allowed to ask questions about UoPeople. I share your view about peer grading, for example.

    But the article is written as if the institution hasn't already become accredited through peer review, which it has. And it's interesting to me how so many of the American academics that speak cautiously about the way that University of the People is reaching hundreds of thousands of students in lower income countries have themselves done nothing whatsoever that meaningfully helps that same population.
  6. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    I agree with the sentiment. I even found it funny that there had to be a journalistic correction about this university already having a form of accreditation, just not the "golden standard." ;-) As for the lack of online education alternatives for these low-income populations and having some level of appreciation for those that actually do SOMETHING for them, I think you're right.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  7. SweetSecret

    SweetSecret Active Member

    With as many teachers as have expressed interest in teaching, it seems to me like they could hire just a few people to do the administrative work and have more people teaching classes so that the peer system used was not needed. That would make a world of difference at the school.

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