Actual Work Requirements at CalCoast?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by BLD, May 24, 2002.

  1. EllisZ

    EllisZ New Member

    I'll keep the faith and keep trying.

    Thanks .... I find myself consistently in debt to the folks here ....
  2. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    If you search"Unizul" you will get a list. The one you want is ""Study in South Africa" or something like that. Then flick to the bottom of Study in Africa and punch the address . I just tried it before this post:it works. Then go to "faculties" then to Ed.

    The UZ website was hacked. Prior to this it was fine as far as I know. I regularly email the Theology Dept and Dr Song quicky responds!

    good luck,
  3. infinitesadness

    infinitesadness New Member

    Could you tell me which RA schools use this format? Are you referring to DL or a traditional bricks and mortar?

    thanks is advance.
  4. Seems to have been a busy weekend on degreeinfo! I will try to respond to some of the comments about my previous post in this thread...
    1. I think credit-by-exam as practiced by University of London and Heriot-Watt EBS is acceptable since these are in-depth exams carefully assembled to match the pedagogical goals of the program. I have personal experience of the EBS exams, so I know that these adequately assess the expected outcomes of the EBS courses. On the other hand, I don’t believe that credit should be granted for generic exams such as the GRE Subject Tests. I also have personal experience with these, having taken the Engineering and Computer Science Subject Tests. I took the CS Subject Test at a time when I hadn’t completed so much as 1 credit of Computer Science. And I scored at the 86th percentile, even though I didn’t understand some of the questions at all – they might as well have been written in Russian. As a consequence, I don’t believe that college credit should be awarded for generic multiple-choice tests such as these.

      I think that portfolios can be used to meet prerequisites to allow someone to take an advanced course – though I have found that course prerequisites can easily be circumvented in the U.S. (e.g. through a discussion with the instructor). In South Africa (at least back in the 70’s when I was an undergraduate there) course prerequisites were strictly enforced, and portfolios or challenge exams were one way to skip an introductory course and take a more advanced course in its place. I think this is an acceptable use of portfolios. In my post above, I wrote that “I think a degree from TESC etc. is an acceptable path forward” if one’s goal is to go on to a graduate program. I see this situation in much the same light – i.e. the use of portfolios and external exams to meet prerequisites for more advanced study.
    2. In the U.S. an undergraduate curriculum has a breadth component that’s lacking in the undergraduate curricula of many foreign universities. I think this breadth component is valuable, but since the emphasis is on breadth (rather than ensuring that a student has an understanding of specific issues related to the major) I think this is an area where external exam results and portfolios might be considered for credit. The 30% limit seems reasonable to me – perhaps the limit should be somewhat lower or higher. In any case, I don’t think any of the last 30 or so credits associated with a specific undergraduate major should come from external exams or portfolios.
    3. This is related to the EBS vs. GRE issue discussed in item 1. I think an in-house exam can be carefully tailored to match the course outcome expectations. I suppose a consortium could put together exams used by a number of universities. I took the Oxford and Cambridge “A”-level exams myself (nearly 30 years ago now) so I appreciate that at that level, at least, the use of a central examining body has been successful. I haven’t seen anything comparable for post-secondary education.
    4. Yes it’s strong charge. I doubt it’s accurate, so I apologize. But I do believe that people have figured out how to work the system in such a way as to earn degree-mill-quality degrees from Excelsior, TESC, and COSC. Much of the discussion on degreeinfo (and previously on AED) about these institutions is unfortunately related to this.
    I am a chemical engineer turning to computer science. So I tend to appraise universities from a technologist’s viewpoint. If I were to rewrite my message above, I would contrast degrees from universities in the developing world versus degrees from universities in the developed world. The way I wrote it sounds racist, which wasn’t my intent.

    My father was a professor at what is now the University of Zimbabwe, the flagship of the Zimbabwean educational system. The University was originally a College of the University of London, established in 1955 by Royal Charter as the “University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.” The University of London established entrance requirements for the admission of students, syllabuses, and examination procedures. This relationship was severed in the early 70’s, and academic quality dropped rapidly. (Note that this occurred under the old white regime led by Ian Smith, and so was not related to majority rule.) This was very distressing to my father. I remember that one year he failed all but 2 of the approx. 50 students in his undergrad chemistry class -- and was subsequently forced by the administration to re-grade and pass most of the class, even though he said that the resulting standard was woefully low.

    To move away from personal reminiscence, I took another look at the Warwick postgraduate admission guide. Undergraduate degrees from many of the universities in the developing world are listed as substandard – e.g. equivalent to “A” levels or to something between “A” levels and a UK first degree, and hence not acceptable for graduate admission.

    As far as your proposed studies with Unizul are concerned, I have never commented because I know nothing about graduate studies in theology. Perhaps the best I could do is to refer you again to the story of the Educated Rabbit (linked in my earlier post). The University of Zululand itself has had an interesting (and sadly violent) history. It was established in 1960 as an artifact of the apartheid system. For the first 10 years it operated as a college of Unisa, but then became an independent (though small and underfunded) university. There was significant on-campus violence (including six deaths and hundreds of injuries) during the 80’s.

    When I meet someone in my field with a PhD, I might ask about the topic of his/her dissertation and about his/her advisor. And if I am interested in the person as a job candidate or potential seminar speaker, I will later go to PubMed and look up his/her publications. It’s easy (and routine) to check the quality of a PhD (at least in fields related to science and technology). For example, I would never invite a recent PhD for a job interview without having first spoken at length with the advisor and having looked through all the publications that came out of the PhD research. If I’m unfamiliar with the advisor’s work, I will also look through the advisor’s publications. On the other hand, it’s much more difficult to assess the quality of a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Because of the increasing diversity (with respect to content, format, origin) of degree programs available, it’s become increasingly important to at least try to examine transcripts. But these can be misleading since the name of a course tells you little about the breadth and depth of its content, or about the rigor of assessment.

    So I am more comfortable with an unaccredited research doctorate than with any other unaccredited degree.

    OK, I apologize for the general statement. But I do believe that people know how to work the system to get degree-mill-quality degrees from these institutions. My wife points out that the same is true for traditional colleges – we both know people who figured out all the shortcuts and loopholes, and ended up with degrees without much effort (or much knowledge).
  5. Good luck, Peter. I hope the program goes well for you.
  6. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    re Unizul


    Thanks for responding to me. I am anticipating that the school will require much and I intend to meet those expectations. It seems to me that a doc in theology may be somewhat more subjectively done than say one in science. Perhaps were this true then particulary in DL , thesis only, programs the student assumes even more responsibility to somewhat direct his own efforts and watchdog his product. I believe I could just about do the same program with no supervisor's guidence. There's my pride showing and I hope Dr Pitchers is not a reader of this forum.

    Thanks again,:p
  7. MacWithey

    MacWithey New Member

    I have read a number of posts which indicate that the
    CCU *MBA* coursework consists of multiple choice questions.
    When I was in the program (back in 1996), each course
    consisted of multiple choice questions *and* essays requiring
    the equivalent of 5 or 6 typewritten pages. The thesis
    was mandatory when I enrolled, but became optional soon afterward.
    I recently contacted the school to ask if the essay requirements
    were eliminated, and I was *told* that *some* of the graduate
    level business courses still require essays. All (or virtually all)
    of the undergraduate business coursework is of the short answer variety. :(
    For me, the degree has proven to be of limited utility, though
    I was aware of the limitations (thanks to John Bear et al) when I first enrolled. If I were to enroll in an MBA program today,
    it would be at least RA (or its equivalent).

    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2002
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Sounds reasonable enough, *except*...

    1. Your evaluation process consists of looking for a candidate's published work. When you are unfamiliar with the advisor, you look for the advisor's work as well.

    So, what does the *Ph.D.* itself add to all of this? What if you had applicant A with a non-accredited doctorate and X publications, and applicant B claiming no doctorate at all but with those exact same X publications? Would A be any more qualified than B?

    2. Have you actually seen people with doctorates from non-accredited schools who have strong histories of research and publication? If so, which non-accredited schools did they come from? I'm curious about identifying which of the non-accredited schools have some academic credibility.

    But given that there are hundreds of these non-accredited doctorate granting institutions, I'm struck by how little research comes from them. The dissertations that they produce usually aren't deposited in UMI (or whatever it calls itself now), and you never see these places listed as institutional affiliations in journal articles.

    3. A comment: As I tried (rather incoherently) to say to North, I see the non-accredited schools as being institutes that might serve to host research and scholarship. But I don't really see them as degree-granting institutions.

    Personally, I like the CA-approved sector a lot. But I would approach it as a place to meet others, have conversations at a higher technical level than is possible with the general public, and perhaps to put together some publishable work or its equivalent. But I'm not sure what a Ph.D. without credibility or recognition would add.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2002
  9. A and B would be equivalent. Recent PhD graduates are rarely hired on the basis of a resume that comes in over the transom. The initial contact usually comes from a conference where the person presents his/her work or through a recommendation from the advisor. Both A and B could thus have access to potential positions. Indeed, there are a number of well-known researchers in the pharmaceutical industry who lack PhDs -- typically because the advisor moved on (either to another job or to the beyond) at an inopportune time. If we were to consider A and B for a position, it ultimately would be easier to hire A because we could check the appropriate box when the package went forward for HR and management approval. But if B were the better candidate, we would go ahead and push forward the package for B, recognizing that we’d have to do some additional dancing to get it approved. So I guess the PhD itself doesn’t count for much.

    The situation with other degrees is different. The company I work for receives over 250,000 external resumes per year (I just double checked on that number). Actually, we don’t receive them -- they go to Haystack Systems who build a profile of each candidate, and each hiring manager sees only those candidates whose profiles pass a relevant filter. So we would never see a resume from a candidate without the appropriate degree.
    No, I haven’t. Despite the many unaccredited institutions offering degrees in Computer Science, for example, I have never seen even one article in a recognized journal or conference proceedings. And I keep my eye open -- and have periodically searched explicitly for Century, Kennedy Western and a few others in Current Contents, Science Citation Index, etc. But I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility!
    One possible role, which I haven’t looked at in detail, is to provide mentoring and guidance for students whose degrees will be awarded by a legitimate university such as Unisa. I believe that Unisa allows (or requires?) a PhD candidate to identify an external PhD advisor with whom the student will work closely, with more general oversight by the Unisa advisor. Perhaps this role could be filled by practitioners associated with an unaccredited institute?
  10. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Well, I don't have your experience. So what reason do I have to prefer the Heriot Watt exams over other exams, apart from the fact that they are British or that some individuals on Degreeinfo post anecdotal endorsements? There seems to be an implicit appeal to authority hidden in there.

    I think that you should schedule a meeting with our newsgroup theologians, since what you are describing sounds like a miracle.

    But I agree with you that if it is possible to pass an examination without the appropriate level of knowledge of the subject (however that knowledge was obtained, in class or not), then the exam fails in its purpose and credit should not be awarded for passing it.


    The University of London offers bachelors degrees based entirely on examination. So presumably this 30-unit rule of yours only holds within the United States of America.

    So if TESC bought the University of London exam set and administered the same exams from TESC (making them external), would TESC still be a degree mill? If the exam set were written by another American university instead of the UofL, would that invalidate it? If an American university wrote its own exam set, would that make it a mill? (I note that you dismissed Western Governors University as a degree mill. But I believe that it is creating its own in-house exams.) What if the exams were written by a scholarly or professional organization, or even by a private company?

    The obvious point here is that whether or not the exams are external or internal is irrelevant. All of the stuff in the paragraph above is irrelevant. The issue is whether or not the particular exams are credible.

    a) I think that you are talking about Lawrie. While I think that what he wrote is tremendusly valuable and helpful to those pursuing credit by examination, I think that he has done harm to DL by packaging it as he did. You are living proof of that harm.

    b) Degreeinfo is all about ego. That ego is expressed in some inevitable bragging. So people boast about how they passed X examination without any study at all.

    I don't take it very seriously. Judging from the study guides that I have looked at, I know that I couldn't pass most of these exams cold or even with a few hours cramming. I don't think that I'm *that* much more stupid and ignorant than the rest of you.

    But again, if it IS true, then I think that it is a red flag that things like CLEPs and GREs should no longer be accepted. The point isn't the nationality of the exam, how many credits can be earned by exam, or who originally wrote the exam. The ONLY issue is whether or not the exam accurately measures what it purports to measure, namely a university level understanding of a subject.
  11. A difference between exams such as the GRE Subject Tests and exams from Heriot-Watt and U. London is that the latter are specifically tailored to test in depth the outcomes expected for each course. The GRE Subject Tests are a mish mash of generic questions that test nothing in depth. The Engineering Subject Test (which admittedly I took 20 years ago) was so general as to be useless as an assessment of engineering knowledge or skills.

    At the time I took the Computer Science GRE Subject Test I had considerable hands-on experience as a programmer and software engineer, but no foundational Computer Science education at all. So perhaps I should have been able to earn some kind of vocational training credits, but the idea that I could have earned college credits in this way is rather frightening. In any case, I have subsequently been taking undergraduate Computer Science courses, and have been learning a great deal -- and realizing how spotty my previous knowledge obtained from in-service experience really was (and in many areas still is). I had a very deep understanding and skills in certain narrow areas in which I had experience, but very little understanding or skills in others.

    Perhaps the CLEP, ACT, DANTES, and other such exams discussed here have more depth than the GRE Subject Tests.
    If University of London exams were used by TESC students in an à la carte manner, then I believe that they could form part of a degree-mill-quality program along with GRE Subject Tests and portfolios! On the other hand, if an exam set were assembled by a U.S. university (such as Western Governors) to specifically test desired outcomes for a coherent set of courses, then this might be fine. These exams could potentially be from external sources.
    If the GRE Subject Tests that I wrote are representative, then I can say categorically that they shouldn’t be accepted for college credit. My opinion is of course based on a sample of just 2 exams.

    I don’t believe that the only issue is whether the exams accurately measure what they purport to measure. To my mind another issue is the apparent ability of people to design their own degree-mill-quality program by picking the path of least resistance to graduation.
  12. Frangop

    Frangop New Member

    Re: Joke Work Requirements

    Indeed, not all degrees are the same.

    RA degrees are probably superior to CA-Approved degrees just like a degree from Harvard or Yale is far superior (at least from a brand equity point of view) to 90% of all other run-of-the-mill RA degrees.

    Prestige & the ivory tower-syndrome play a huge role when it comes to comparing degrees.

    Indeed, CCU is not UCLA, but then again, UCLA is not Harvard.

  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Joke Work Requirements

    But a degree from UCLA can get you into Harvard. A degree from CCU will not get you into UCLA. Therein lies a fundamental difference that rationalization will not obscure.
  14. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Joke Work Requirements

    True. However, a CCU Ph.D. will allow one to obtain CA state licensure and practice psychology within that state. Granted, the utility is limited.

    If a CCU Ph.D. lives 10 feet from the Northern California state line, hopefully s/he won't walk 12 feet north (Oregon) and try to use the CCU degree. Amazing how two feet can determine the legitimacy of a degree. :D
  15. Frangop

    Frangop New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Joke Work Requirements

    Sadly all you have now is states contradicting and undermining each other.
    This is beyond prestige and brand equity, it is about legality & illegality dictated by state borders.
    So which state has the better, more modern, more progressive system – California or Oregon? I guess we will never know!
    Maybe the US will seriously have to revisit its higher education policy!

  16. EllisZ

    EllisZ New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joke Work Requirements

    That's kind of a given IMHO. But it probably won't happen.
  17. BobC

    BobC New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Joke Work Requirements


    Russel: this post doesn't really have anything to with your post I just wanted to comment about Oregon.

    I see this Oregon reference alot, I don't think anyone can argue against that CA approved won't take you nearly as far as RA, however to say Oregon is some kind of gold standard of utility and legitimacy or even legality isn't right either. Their list on their website isn't really accurate or complete and they need to if they are going to be a standard, de facto or otherwise if people are going to refer to their state as reference of legal/illegal schools. They have an "illegal first...we'll decide if it's legal later" policy and that doesn't smell right to me either . I think the Oregon list can be A criteria of many criteria if an institution is legit/legal but I don't like it when people say it's on Oregon's list / not on list and say "you're committing a crime if you use that degree in that state, therefore the degree will have limited utility", has this law been challenged? Has it been enforced against a CA approved school or other Regents only approved type of school in another state? ( I don't know the answers to these questions.) Seems to be alot of talk to scare people but I don't see any action. Are there any Oregon District Attorney's watching this thread and would like to comment? Seems to be a waste of Oregon tax payer dollars to go after someone with a CCU degree or SCUPS or other school like that....Columbia State degree might be another story though.

  18. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joke Work Requirements

    QUOTE]Originally posted by BobC


    hI see this Oregon reference alot, I don't think anyone can argue against that CA approved won't take you nearly as far as RA, however to say Oregon is some kind of gold standard of utility and legitimacy or even legality isn't right either. Their list on their website isn't really accurate or complete and they need to if they are going to be a standard, de facto or otherwise if people are going to refer to their state as reference of legal/illegal schools. [/QUOTE]


    I would like it to be known to those schools struggling without accreditation that I live in Oregon and have been on the phone a couple of times with Alan Contreras about his list. Now for a small fee I might be convinced to to harass Alan to add to his list---no guarantees, of course!:D :D :D
  19. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joke Work Requirements

    As an Oregon resident I am proud of the stand the State has taken. I wish other states would follow. I believe Montana, New Mexico and Lousianna would want to clean out the degree mills present in their states. I think the present course Oregon has taken is appropriate. If I understand correctly they assume accredited schools to be legitimate and unaccredited ones are invited to submit info proving their legitimacy. Alan Contreras (sp?) has posted to this forum but likely very limited in what he can say. The State of Hawaii has also taken action against degree mills but may need to do more since there are several that continue to operate from the state.

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