Harrison Middleton University

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chasisaac, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Count me in Phillip, I'd love to hear more about the program, if I ever do go for a doctorate, this will be the one, in fact I was this close (-) to signing up but new career demands diverted my attention for now. Even still if nothing else I'll at the very least do their diploma program.
  2. alanp46

    alanp46 Member


    I am currently enrolled in the Harrison Middleton DA program. I have finished the first half of my program and recently (mid-Novemeber) completed the first of two comprehensive examinations. I find the program and the format to be very challenging, interesting and stimulating. I just got off the phone from the first discussion for course #1 of the second half of my program and I'm already looking forward to the next discussion.

    MA, Humanities, CSUDH (1999)
    BS, Psychology, Chris. Newport Univ. (1980)
    AA, Liberal Arts, Gloucester County College (1978)
  3. blackcoffee

    blackcoffee New Member

    Hi Alanp46,

    If you don't mind me asking, how much time per week are devoting to your studies?

    Another member of this board is also working toward the same degree and in a prior post he offered some advice to those considering the D.A. program about pre-readings, etc. What advice would you offer someone, such as myself, who is seriously considering HMU? Tips, things to watch out for, or what you wish you would have known up front that help is appreciated.
  4. alanp46

    alanp46 Member


    blackcoffee - I normally try to spend between 2 - 4 hours per day attending to the work involved in my program. The length of time I devote each day depends mostly on what it is that I am working on. I personally find that I am not able do first readings for more than 2 hours on most days. However, when engaged in second readings or writing portions (questions, passages and final papers), I often find that 3 - 4 hours may have passed before I put it away for the day.
    As for tips, I think the major one would be to ensure that you have the self-discipline to pursue a distance learning program. When I originally became involved in distance learning, I found it difficult to keep myself on schedule. There always seemed to be something else I could do besides school work. At the beginning of my distance MA program at CSUDH, I actually set a "class" schedule for myself and then drove to the library at the local community college to conduct that "class" to alleviate the distractions of home. Luckily I was soon able to condition myself to keep to a class schedule without leaving home. Another tip is to make sure you make notes, highlight or in some way identify key concepts, ideas and thoughts while you read. Some of the authors can be very wordy and trying to find that important idea later is sometimes difficult. The only other tip I would offer someone enrolled in the DA program is to ensure you identify and memorialize the comparisons of authors and ideas as you go through the various sections of your program. When you get to your comprehensive exams, it will be extremely helpful if you have available written, organized notes identifying how the different authors dealt with or thought about the various topics you covered in your program. The comps are all about comparing what the various authors had to say about your topics.
    I have some other tips that might be helpful, but they would probably be more understandable to someone who has completed the Cornerstone Course.
  5. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    alanp46 -- I'm in HMU's master's program/political science. I've already changed focus once (from philosophy/religion) because I found the "syntopical" courses I designed required about 5x the work than was actually recommended. It was way too burdensome and time consuming. Lesson learned the hard way.

    So would you say the DA is different in kind or simply in degree of work? I'd like to see a support group thread here for HMU students. I'm used to working independently but currently feel alone and lost in the wilderness ...... and not just cuz I'm on Whidbey Island!

    Also I can't seem to get through Spinoza right now, even with several excellent resources on various web sites. I'm telling ya, I break into a cold sweat just thinking about it. Any suggestions, from anyone, on how to read and understand Spinoza? To me he's writing gibberish and he makes Aquinas seem easy by comparison.

    Aaaggghhhh, just smite me Lord!
  6. blackcoffee

    blackcoffee New Member

    Hey cutedeedle, I was wondering if you could elaborate a little more on how your original design resulted in excessive reading. Was it the topic you chose, or a combination of topics?
  7. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Sure thing. I'm still interested in the "topic" or "sub-topic" of good and evil, God vs. Satan, the final battle that marks the end times, but it was too much. My subject came under the heading of philosophy/religion. Thus I had to pick and choose the appropriate sub-topics from the Great Books Syntopicon. I designed 7 courses, the first of which was "Good vs. Evil," divided into four parts with four discussions.

    The hook is that even though the Syntopicon lists a few pages (or in the case of the KJV Bible, maybe even an entire "book") from specific Great Books on each sub-topic, according to HMU we should read the entire chapter, book, etc. to understand the context. So instead of reading appx. 500-600 pages for a 4-unit course, I ended up reading thousands of pages (for the context).

    I was really fed up by the end of the reading! I managed to write my course paper, then had a long chat with the graduate dean, who agreed that this type of syntopical course work is often overwhelming and too much for the master's program. Yeah, duh!

    So I revised my program and courses to three main "ideas," with each course based on one author/one book. Now it's Constitution, Democracy and Liberty -- seems much more manageable, other than my tormentor Spinoza.
  8. RickBlaine

    RickBlaine New Member

    I would be grateful to hear from current HMU students. I'm thinking of applying there for a masters or doctorate. Please tell me the good and bad about the school. What does academia think of NA degrees? If I ever move back to the US permanently, I would like to be a humanities adjunct at a university somewhere. My other degrees are old-school.

  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    "Everybody goes to Rick's."

    All the HMU people are probably in this thread. If they don't spot your request then you could send them a person message.
  10. I usually respond to such requests with a link to my previous thread, which provides some details about my own experience at HMU:


    I currently about 2/3 of the way through the program. Hope this helps.
  11. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Hey Rick,

    I can't address what academia thinks of an NA degree from HMU (I'm doing it to challenge myself), nor the question of MA vs. DA as your terminal degree. The other posters have given excellent information on the content of the doctoral programs. I must have it a little easier because I'm in the MA philosophy/religion track (again). I've just finished my fifth course.

    What I can tell you from my experience:

    1. Designing my own program was challenging. I'm not an educator so I didn't have any idea what to do or how to do it. Their guidelines are vague, requiring a lot of back-and-forth dialog, mainly by e-mail. I've changed my program focus twice since the initial design.

    2. Topical and sub-topical studies are appropriate in the doctoral programs, author-ideas studies are best suited for the master's programs. I learned that the hard way.

    3. I've washed out of many master's programs, including U of Oklahoma (liberal studies) and CSUDH (humanities), among others. This is the most demanding program I've experienced, both in content and quantity of reading, plus the way they grade the essays. In the past at other universities I've never had any papers sent back for revision, nor called "first draft." Not so at HMU! Essays are scrutinized in every way by what they call "portfolio evaluators." Man, these folks are brutal. I mean -- down to changing punctuation, specific words they don't approve of, phrases and sentences they don't like the placement, wording -- the list is endless. My most recent essay was returned with 36 corrections required, some of which were "expand or explain." It took me two full days to revise the wretched thing, and I'm a pretty decent writer. The first time this happened I was not only shocked but very irritated with the process. Duh Hubby pointed out the portfolio evaluators need to find something in the essays to justify their salaries. Well, okay then, but still ....... I had a lot of pride-swallowing to do. :grumpy:

    4. If you require a lot of human interaction and exchange in a real classroom to provide excitement and stimulation, this program would not be a good fit for you. The one hour phone discussions with the tutors are fabulous (there are four in each course) -- and I found every tutor, without exception, to be very kind, understanding, expert in the subject matter, and witty. They always make the discussions the highlight of the courses. HMU does have a Facebook presence, and once a quarter they hold some kind of interactive online discussion, with students and tutors, that's not for credit and not graded.

    5. We may or may not get the same tutor for various discussions, nor even for the same course/book. It depends on when you schedule it, who's available, and which academic expert should be assigned to talk with you.

    6. I don't know about the doctoral program but in the master's program, you finish your reading for each section, develop your questions and passages for discussion, send those in to the scheduler with a few dates and times that are at least a week from when you submit your questions so you can be available by phone to talk with a tutor, the scheduler finds the appropriate person for you, lets you know what day and time to call (toll free number), and then you have your discussion. The reason they need a week's notice is because your assigned tutor will read the same material (I'm guessing they skim) that you will be discussing. Those discussions are the best part of each course.

    7. When we write our essays at the end of each course, we can't reference anything other than the book(s) we've read for that course and the Syntopicon. That usually precludes any context unless it's in your reading material. I'm looking forward to the thesis because then I can go berserk with sources!

    That's about all I can think of right now. Bottom line -- yes, I'd recommend HMU to someone who understands what they're undertaking. Yes, I'd do it again, knowing what I do now. Yes, I've enjoyed it and I'm half way there.
  12. RickBlaine

    RickBlaine New Member

    HMU (continued)


    My thanks to you and everyone else for your responses. I am interested in pursuing an HMU degree for personal enrichment but it would be nice to use it someday when DETC degrees are more accepted.

    It sounds as though the grading system is a bit harsh. Are the powers-that-be upfront about the grading system? I don't want to be surprised.

    To "Kizmet": Thanks for the comment about "Rick's." Rick's Cafe in Casablanca is the coolest place I've been to.

  13. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Actually they don't ding us for writing what they call a "rough draft" (but what we think is "our essay"). They're just very particular about grammar, syntax, punctuation, phrasing, and not allowing a sloppy submission. They take substance and form very seriously. My first self-designed course essay was accepted with no changes demanded. I thought I did a good job and they must have too.

    My subsequent essays were written with a lot less enthusiasm so it must have shown. :sorry: I agreed with almost every correction they indicated needed to be done. So far I've only had to re-submit essays once after making the changes, then they give me my A's ... but my writing skills are darn good and I enjoy the process. If you don't like to write or you find it a terrible chore, then maybe re-think such a program -- the writing struggle might be too much.
  14. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Hey RickB, I was just sent a link to the DETC News, Fall 2011. HMU is featured in an article (as is the island where I live -- Whidbey Island). Check it out -- the students were invited to submit their thoughts about HMU and the programs:
    Distance Education and Training Council: DETC News
  15. RickBlaine

    RickBlaine New Member



    Thanks for the article. Very interesting. The extensive writing in HMU courses sounds interesting rather than daunting.

  16. cutedeedle

    cutedeedle I speak Geek. Will translate on request.

    Well, the MA program writing isn't terribly daunting other than their terribly detailed corrections they expect us to make. I'm guessing the DA is much more work!
  17. major56

    major56 Active Member

    I noticed (re DETC News) that the Air University Extension Course Program (Maxwell AFB, AL) voluntarily relinquished its DETC accreditation eff. 03/31/11. I wonder what’s up with this. Perhaps it’ll now fall under the Air University’s SACS accreditation (?). Nonetheless, DETC accreditation is still listed on the Air University-Maxwell AFB website.
    USAF Air University Portal: Accreditation Page
  18. RickBlaine

    RickBlaine New Member

    Thanks a lot for all of your advice! Thanks to everyone else as well. If you want to talk off-line about HMU, my email is [email protected].

  19. Boethius

    Boethius Member

    Great thread! And it's been a while since anyone posted here. Yes, i'm thinking about enrolling in the DA program at HMU. Lots of helpful information here.
  20. Boethius

    Boethius Member

    I know this thread is old and I'm new here. As of a few days ago, HMU told me that they are not seeking RA.

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