I am nearing completion of my first semester at TESC. My experience has been very lukewarm at best. I have limited exposure to distance ed programs beyond mine (Thomas Edison State College) and my husband's. (New England Culinary Institute). That said, I am not sure if TESC is .... what's the word.... "less" than I hoped, or if my experience has just been a string of minor blunders that could /do happen anywhere. Let me add that my husband's program is A+, I am very impressed with the level of organization and thought that went into the format. They use something called Moodle (spelling?) while TESC uses Blackboard. Phones- EVERY phone call is routed through admissions (except for a couple direct numbers I asked for). This means that if you make it past the first 10 minute hold session, you could still end up at a voice mail that is unable to transfer you to your next destination..... so you get to call admissions again! There is no (public) directory. Academic calender- The standard semester overlaps with the next (on my track) which puts me in the end of my first week of classes at the exact same time of my previous semester's final exams. Huh!?! Apparently everyone does this and it's never been a problem. Bursar- My invoice bills me for "guided study" courses, even though I am enrolled in "online courses." When asked, they told me it is "automatically" in the computer just to print guided study on everyone's bill no matter which course they choose. (my receipt at 7-11 clearly states "diet coke" and "coffee" you'd think my college could get IT involved) Mentor- Each and every one of my assignments were returned with the comments "thoughtful work" and the grade of 100%. Apparently I'm more awesome than I thought, so maybe I should just skip the pointless writing? Financial Aid- One lady and a mystery supervisor (that I am not 100% sure exists). Just for fun, please call and ask her a question, any question....I promise it will be worth it. Exams- I'm taking 2 exams with my proctor tomorrow (her only available slot due to surgery), and when I called TESC today to find out why they were STILL not in proctor's hands, he said they made a mistake and they didn't mail them. (either one!!) He said a batch didn't get mailed, and they are just realizing it because a bunch of students are calling. I would just have to work it out with my proctor. (and apologize for their error- and for the slot she made for me in her schedule- and beg her to give me a slot next week) When asked to send overnight mail, he said he couldn't do that. <sigh> Office hours- restrictive and limited. Some offices close at 3:30 EST! Technology- I've saved the best for last. I have classes that require me to purchase VHS tapes!! (this is not one class- this is many classes!) My husband's courses use streaming video, pod casts, audio books, DVDs, and downloaded videos... and I get to go to the thrift store and see if I can find a used VCR. I don't think I've had a VCR for 10 years... do they still make them? (we pay a $97 technology fee each semester!) OK, since I can be petty and critical...thoughts?