competency-based, self-paced degree programs

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by raeofsunshine, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    After some thought, I may have jumped a bit too quickly on the "bash Patten" train.

    You can make even a poorly structured program work to your advantage if it's cheap and works with your schedule, etc.

    One of the tricks you learn from credit-gathering programs like Excelsior associate/bachelor degree is how to manage self-study situations where you have a minimal syllabus to work from (e.g. DSST or CLEP exams). I can tell you personally this served me well when completing a couple management-related competencies with WGU. You learn to read nearly the whole book that's recommended to you, if not the whole book. If the textbook publisher has chapter quizzes online, you take those for EVERY chapter.

    Here's my guess as to how one could work Patten if being tested on things not mentioned in the coursework:
    1. Download the syllabi for 2-3 similar courses from regular B&M schools. Compare. If you find areas these cover that are not mentioned in your Patten syllabus or other materials, read up on this area.
    How does this cover you? erik mentioned having evaluators who did not have access to the course materials. Well, these "evaluators" had to have familiarity with similar coursework anyway, right? I'm thinking these are probably adjunct instructors from other institutions who've taught or taken these courses elsewhere.
    2. As mentioned above, read the book and use any quizzes/supplementary materials from the textbook vendor. If you're not assigned a textbook, find one for a similar course elsewhere and work from that.
    3. Find a "summary" or "outline" book for a popular text used elsewhere for that course. In some cases, reading it instead of the actual test might give you enough coverage of the material while taking less time.

    Again, this is my guess. YMMV.
  2. erik8944

    erik8944 New Member

    I probably could have looked elsewhere for similar text books and maybe it would have helped. I am trying to go to grad school for occupational therapy and it is very competitive. I could not continue to get C's and expect to get in. I had a 3.9 GPA before enrolling at Patten. I just got really frustrated getting A's on my course projects and getting 62 to 66 on all finals. I would end up getting a C in every class if I would have continued. I will say one other thing about Patten which concerned me. When they evaluated my transcripts they gave me credit for some of the most random classes. The evaluation made no sense what so ever. Something seemed a little too fishy. The staff at Patten is a little too robotic for me also. They all say the same thing to everything you ask them. We have to protect the integrity of the school. I made a few friends in each class and we were all having similar complaints. We'll see if they fix some of their kinks in the future. I just wish I could have made it work for me. I would have been better off at WGU where they don't give letter grades. I'm now stuck wondering if I want to even use these 12 new credits I got at Patten. I'm really frustrated at the whole situation. I am a bit more cautious now. I would like to know a little more about WGU if anybody has anything to share with me.. thanks
  3. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    1. I'd use those 12 shiny "new" credits. As long as Patten has regional accreditation, no one can take those from you.
    2. I can tell you about WGU. I completed my BS-IT with them and I know a little about their master's programs. Ask away.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Does Patten have regional accreditation?
  5. erik8944

    erik8944 New Member

    yes Patten is regionally accredited.
  6. raeofsunshine

    raeofsunshine New Member

    Patten is regionally accredited, but regional accreditation is not all that matters for someone who wants to go into a particular field.
  7. raeofsunshine

    raeofsunshine New Member

    Patten's "kinks"

    @ Erik8944, I completely understand what you’re saying even though my experience at Patten has been the complete opposite. I have been recommending Patten to people because I have had such a good experience. However, when my husband gave it a try, he didn’t like it at all. He said he didn’t feel like he was being taught. And he’s right. I have minimal interaction with the instructors and have never talked to a single classmate. I honestly treat Patten as an inexpensive alternative to testing out since it costs less (free for me, using company tuition assistance) and because I'm not a great test taker. As far as kinks, I haven’t come across any. The system is automated (to the point of being robotic, as you stated) so everything goes smoothly.

    I create a packet for each unit using the quiz questions/correct answers/wrong answers/explanation as a base. I make a table out of the flashcards (term in one column, definition in the other) and add my own terms that I get out of the text. I don’t read everything in the text but saving all the contents of a unit as one .pdf file helps me go review quickly. I study for the final after I submit my project since it takes a couple of days for the project to be evaluated. When there is downtime between classes, I use it to work ahead in the next class so that when I do start the next class, I finish it in a few days. Tough but doable thanks to the online proctoring and access to materials ahead of time.

    If you want to get into OT, you will definitely need top-notch grades. It is possible that self-paced classes don’t work well for you. If WGU doesn’t give letter grades, would that work for you to get into a competitive field. Or maybe Straighterline (which I wasn't crazy about) will be better for you since exams are based on McGraw-Hill textbooks.

    I hope you find a solution that works for you.
  8. erik8944

    erik8944 New Member

    Thanks for the feedback. How are you doing on your exams? I passed all my classes, but the exams brought my grades down to C's. This is why I can't continue with this school. I tried different strategies but nothing seem to help. I would do fine on the prefinals and quizzes. I thought straightliner was the exact same classes. What didn't you like about straightliener? You can email me if you like at [email protected]
  9. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    Yes, but. . . even picky, renowned schools in certain fields are known to accept credits from lesser-known regionally-accredited institutions. Better to ask than spend time and money doing over.
  10. raeofsunshine

    raeofsunshine New Member

    What I'm saying is if Erik wants to get into a competitive field like OT, he needs more than just RA credits. He needs a strong GPA. He can have all the RA credits he wants but if his GPA is 2.0, that's most likely not going to cut it.
  11. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    You've got a point, but ludicrously optimistic me thinks there's one last possible end run even around this--
    Some of the high-end schools might be persuaded to waive requirements rather than transfer credits, thus leaving him with fewer classes to take and a "null" starting GPA. Also, there are a small number of schools (I seem to remember there's an AACSB East Coast state college) that will actually allow master's students to challenge courses under certain conditions.

    I understand the possible need to leave some credits behind, but I would hope all other possible routes could be exhausted before that decision is made.
  12. raeofsunshine

    raeofsunshine New Member

    I hear you :)
  13. cdw

    cdw New Member

    I've recently been accepted into NAU's MA English distance learning. There has been quite a bit of paper shuffling on my part though, and a lot of the process has not been very clear. I have had to make many phone calls to the Grad College and the English Dept. to get questions answered, which I think should have been answered on the website.

    I think the programs are good, but the process is not quite as user-friendly as I like.
  14. erik8944

    erik8944 New Member

    I did 4 classes at Patten. It's not as easy as it sounds. There finals are all proctored and all very very tricky multiple choice questions. I found the finals to be much more about how they can trick you into answering the questions wrong. The material they give you does not match up with the finals. Even if you pass the project (50% of the grade) you still must pass the final (50%). I was told the finals are not written from the material given, but if you know the concepts you should pass the final. I got tired of the bull and transferred. NO REGRETS. Patten talks a good game, but talk is cheap and that's all you'll get once they have your money.
  15. Hille

    Hille Active Member

    Good Morning. I hope this thread expands to grad degrees worldwide. I am looking for a situation even if DETC or NA that would accept grad credits with work based credits. Thanks. Hille
  16. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    I'm still guessing the plan I outlined on the first page of this thread for Patten coursework would serve its purpose. I would have tried it myself, if I had been able to line up financial aid the way I wanted to.

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