Neuhaus's Patten Experiment

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Neuhaus, Jun 4, 2015.

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  1. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    OK, so the recent sale at Patten encouraged me to give it a try. I am curious about the competency based model and how well Patten executes it (particularly given my bad experiences at New Charter University).

    I enrolled in the B.A. Psychology with concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Because I don't actually need the degree, my goal, at present is only to complete (1) four month term.

    Goals:

    1. Bare Minimum - At least one course completed. If I can't get one course completed then something is seriously wrong.

    2. Actual Goal - Three courses (9 credits). I am paying $800 for this term. So, if I complete 9 credits, I am getting those courses for roughly $88.90 per credit. That's a pretty decent discount, considering they are also level 300 and 400 courses.

    3. Stretch Goal - Four courses (12 credits). The reason for the stretch goal is simple. While I am paying $800, the normal tuition is around $1400 for the same term. The 9 credit accomplishment would still be "OK" tuition at full price. But if I knock through 12 credits, you're talking $116 per credit and no textbook expense.

    My Purpose:

    I want to see how the program is structured. I want to evaluate the quality of the program. And I want to see the likelihood of actually having this be financially advantageous over Fort Hays State or similar options.

    My Background and Parameters:

    I have an A.A. from the University of Scranton. I started as a psych major but switched to a general A.A. when I decided to join the Navy. I have about 15 credits in psych/counseling/sociology courses from my time at UofS.

    Upon transfer, I received 78 transfer credits (maximum is 90). All of my GenEd transferred. All of my management courses satisfied their "leadership" courses. My psych courses transferred in to relieve me of the lower level courses (like Intro to Psych etc).

    So the only courses on my degree plan are higher level psych courses and their undergraduate capstone, a total of 15 courses.

    I am going to earnestly try to take the courses. I'm not going to try to jump to the final exam. For starters, my psych learning has gone untouched for nearly 15 years. I wouldn't trust my recollection to pass a final. Second, I really didn't study psych at this level before so the idea that I could test out of a level 400 course with level 100 and 200 learning would presume poor quality in coursework or brilliance on my part (neither are fair assumptions).

    I will post regular updates and I am happy to entertain questions if anyone has any. Wish me luck.
     
  2. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Update 1: Credit Transfer is Complete

    If you provide Patten with an unofficial transcript at the time of application they will give you a preliminary credit transfer analysis. I didn't have a transcript for UofS but I did have one for CTU. They awarded the bulk of my transfer credits from that. Patten also reaches out to the schools to request transcripts for you. I had mine sent along in advance hoping to speed up the process. Still, they were very professional in this process so that's good.

    Patten, like NCU, requires proof of high school graduation. This is an annoying requirement, TBH. I thought it was annoying when I applied to NCU as a graduate student and it is still rather annoying even as an undergraduate student. My high school is closed. And requesting a transcript from there requires an in-person visit or calling someone on the phone and making special arrangements. There isn't a simple form you can download from a website and mail in with payment.

    Fortunately for me when I jumped through this hoop with NCU it put me in "the system." So my high school graduation was already on file with the parent company and they were able to use that (without me asking). So, bonus points for efficiency with a slight deduction for a silly sort of requirement. I realize this is probably an accreditation thing. But CTU accepted my DD-214 (which indicates that I am a high school graduate) as adequate proof.

    I started my first course. The layout is as I remember NCU's. Though the professor seems much more knowledgeable and the course content is pretty error free. Content is well organized. Obvious criticism is that the higher quality content isn't their's. I'm watching a video on Piaget's theory right now that is very well done. However, it's also from Kahn Academy. So, kudos to them for finding a free, high quality resource but I can't give them credit for actually producing it.

    I am taking copious notes in an old-school marble tablet. The fact that I am very interested (and have some background) in psychology is making this go a lot smoother and helping me to maintain my focus. I officially started on Monday. Every day I spend my lunch hour reading the text and watching course videos. I am making progress according to my progress meter.

    Big red flag so far is that the readiness indicator is a bit too casual in telling me I've mastered a subject, IMHO. The two activities that seem to change the meter from gray (unknown readiness) to yellow (partially ready) and eventually to green (ready) are "mastering" flash cards and taking unit quizzes. The way the flash cards work is that you can view them either from definition -> term or vice versa and, when you feel you've "mastered" them you click "master." This increases your readiness. The quizzes seem a better measure of readiness. The problem is that, while you can take them any number of times, a relatively low score seems to push your readiness meter to green and the questions re-sort with each attempt but the questions themselves don't change.

    So, I scored a 67% on this objective quiz and it gave me a little bit of green. I can take the quiz again and again and boost that to 100%. But because it's the same questions I will eventually start getting the right answers even if I don't actually increase my understanding.

    The videos are all very helpful but all from outside sources. So, Patten's success here is in curating a collection of outside resources. That's still an accomplishment but must be considered for what it is.

    There is also an issue with terms appearing in flash cards without appearing elsewhere. The reading assignment for an objective may include pages 12-30. But the flash cards for that objective will include a term from page 33 (the next objective's reading). It doesn't appear to be a pervasive issue, but it's something that is causing me concern as I move toward the pre-final and final.
     
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Mmmm. Sorta like our own reality TV show. Good luck.
     
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The Real Neuhauses of Onondaga County

    I like it.
     
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    OK, but remember, it won't be complete without some sort of tabloid scandal.:surprised::eek1:
     
  6. ladylearner

    ladylearner New Member

    I will be tuning into the experiment.

    I'm a student at Patten, enrolled as a psych major (early childhood concentration).
     
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Next season I'm marrying Caitlyn Jenner.

    Note: Stated with absolute respect and harmless playfulness
     
  8. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Onondaga County, as in the home of that other country, the Onondaga nation? I regularly hang out at Firekeepers (the diner on the reservation) thanks to their big-ass parking lot.
     
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    We have Onondaga First Nation people around here too, across the border. And Mohawk. And Oneida. And Cayuga. And Tuscarora. And Seneca. I'm not too far from Six Nations Reserve.

    J
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2015
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    That would be the one. I live in Syracuse.
     
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Would that make it the Sir Mix-A-Lot Memorial Parking Lot?
     
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Hmmm. Dating an older woman. You'll have to do better than that.
     
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    We're going to adopt Corey Feldman and Snooki.

    Oh, and we're going to dedicate a significant portion of the show to our collective efforts to exonerate Robert Hanssen in between flipping houses.

    Andy Cohen wants to include it in his "I've stopped trying" collection.
     
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    At any rate, you're not going to outscandalize the Duggars.
     
  15. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Ehh...I really wouldn't want to try.
     
  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Silly, silly readiness meter

    I definitely have concerns about the "readiness meter."

    I took a unit quiz and scored 8/10. My meter turned yellow indicating I was "partially ready." I went back and reviewed the materials again. I retook the quiz and responded correctly to the first question (which I answered correctly the first time around). My meter immediately turned green.

    So apparently that one question was enough to push me forward. The problem is that the jump wasn't tied to the question itself. It seems driven simply by the number of correct answers. So answering the exact same question three times seems to trip the meter just as well as answering three separate questions correctly.

    Other than that the course materials are rather helpful. I'm hopefully going to start my project this weekend while reaching the halfway mark. I started the fourth unit (of 8) a few minutes ago. I should be able to finish it by Sunday.

    The final project is a two-parter (one paper and one powerpoint).

    A major plus is that APA formatting is required and included in the rubric. When I was in the MBA program at NCU my instructor responded to my question of the school's preferred format (I wasn't sure if they preferred APA or MLA) "whatever you like."

    So far things are a bit more professional and higher quality. That could be the accreditation difference. Of course, it could also be that UniversityNow improved things from when I took the courses with NCU nearly three years ago.
     
  17. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    You paid $800 and signed up for a 4 month term because you were curious about Patten's program? Now THAT is dedication!
     
  18. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    Neuhaus is the Ralph Nader of Degreeinfo, except he's got money! :)
     
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Hardly. Allow me to give you a bit more background.

    I, like many I suspect here, am addicted to education. I was all prepared to take a literature class this summer at Fort Hays State. I didn't because the Patten sale opened up the possibility of taking a large number of courses for about $300 more than FHSU.

    But if it wasn't Patten and it wasn't Fort Hays it would have been somewhere else. Sometimes my learning is related to work. Sometimes not. I satisfy my educational itch with a lot of SHRM programs (paid for by work). But every so often I want to branch out on my own. I have certificates from PennFoster in topics that fascinate me on a personal level (and are unlikely to ever be included on a resume).

    Patten has been on my list of places I might like to try out "just for a taste." i am intrigued by competency based learning and I wanted to give it a good, earnest try with a subject that actually interests me (business, despite my occupation, is more of a chore than a joy). NAU was $2,500 for a six month term. Tempting, but the sale at Patten tipped the scale in their favor.

    That said, my educational experimentation is somewhat limited. I am specifically avoiding for-profit schools which accept Title IV funds. Not because I think they are bad or low quality, mind you. I just don't want to contribute to screwing up their completion rates when I go in for a few classes without really intending to complete a degree.

    Education addiction aside, I'm also a credit collector. I enjoy MOOCs and I enjoy non-credit courses, podcasts, books, eBooks and audio books. I love learning. But I also kind of like having credits under my belt. Since graduating from CTU I believe I've amassed something like 90 credits, mostly in subjects that I thought would be cool to experience. It's occurred to me that I could probably flip them over to Excelsior for a second Bachelors but the cost associated with shipping all of those transcripts makes me a bit queasy.

    So, dedication? I think compulsion might be a better word. Then again, some people spend all of their money on hobbies like snow mobiling. I spend my hobby money (and time) on learning stuff. Is that good or is it mental illness? I'll let you know after I knock through a few of these psych courses.
     
  20. Simurgh

    Simurgh New Member

    I will definitely be following this. I have considered getting a third bachlors or a second masters in the past and if it can be completed quickly and cheaply all the better. Your experience seems very relevant, since continuous learning and education will be so important in the future.

    I am happy to see that many other members are willing to explore and check out different fields as well. Please keep us updated. Learning stuff is probably the best hobby you can get.
     

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