Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by LearningAddict, Jan 27, 2013.
Distance Education and Training Council: Applicant Schools
The two schools, Western Governor's University and Rhodec International, have let their DETC accreditation lapse.
But they both still have other forms of accreditation.
WGU is still regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission.
Rhodec is a British DL school specializing in interior design. They don't issue degrees, although their coursework can apparently transfer into a degree program at a cooperating British university. They still have accreditation from the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council, which seems to be a British accreditor of distance vocational programs.
Both schools have dropped DETC from their accreditation webpages.
Anyone questioning the second-rate nature of DETC's accredition need only to look at WGU's action.
No one has EVER dropped RA in favor of DETC, by the way. Even the thought of doing that is absurd, further supporting the second-class status of DETC.
I've always held that DETC should become a programmatic accreditor instead of an institutional one. It could become the first recognized accreditor focused on delivery processes instead of accrediting schools and programs. After all, DL is a process, no? Instead of being the Little-Accreditor-That-Couldn't, they could be a leader. But DETC has never experienced leadership, which is too bad.
Very well written.
Many people incorrectly assume that since DETC is a "national" accreditation, that it is on-par with regional accreditation. However, institutions in the U.S. abandon DETC accreditation in favor of regional accreditation because DETC is inferior.
When one uses terms like inferior in these situations, it just disregards the conditions of the situation. The DETC's standards are less stringent than the typical regional accreditor, yes, but I think that goes along with the typically smaller operations of the schools in its target market.
Having been with and graduated from multiple RA and DETC schools now, I at least in that small sampling can say that some of the DETC schools ran a better more educationally beneficial program than some of the RA schools I went with. They all had similar course designs and lesson plans in schools from both accreditation bodies, so the big differences came down to cost and access to instructors and other necessary faculty. The DETC programs won on both counts hands down; the costs were much lower (though this is not ALWAYS the case), and access to faculty who could help me was practically without hassle.
I went in expecting the first DETC school I enrolled with to be of much lower quality than the RA schools I'd been with based primarily on all the things I'd heard around here, and I was curious to see. But by actually seeing for myself in-class, not just by conjecture and academic study, I found a different situation.
Is RA better than NA or more specifically the DETC? Look, I'm not going to argue against RA schools like Harvard, Yale, and Duke. But for every Harvard, Yale, and Duke in the RA realm, there are many more RA embarrassments that no one wants to discuss, like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University.
Really? No one wants to talk about UoP? No one is critical of them. Uh, uh. Never.
Sure, there are a few RA scoundrels, especially in the for-profit sector. But they're not the point.
What is also not the point is the efficacy of DETC's accreditation standards. They're not relevant because no matter how good they become, degrees from DETC-accredited schools remain less acceptable than those from RA schools. This is true, also, despite the quality of the schools themselves and their educative processes.
Could a DETC-accredited school offer a better education than a particular RA school? Certainly. But a university offers its students two forms of capital in return for the students' two (students offer money and academic accomplishment). Those are (a) an education and (b) a degree. And because DETC accreditation is not accepted in some situations, those degrees will be of inferior capital, even if they're not from inferior academic accomplishments.
When I got started in this business in 1978, DL schools and programs were the underdogs. At that time, DETC accredited exactly two schools awarding the bachelor's degree (La Salle Extension University--now defunct--and Grantham College--now Grantham University). DETC (and its accredited schools) and the pre-1989 California Approval process were on the cutting edge of DL back then. But as the regional associations have embraced DL, and the internet has made DL available all over the world, there seems less and less need for the DETC (and California Approval, which is practically dead anyway). Hence my comment about DETC needing to change its act. As it stands, they'll always be a second banana to the RAs. It's unfortunate, and it's unnecessary. And that's too bad.
Per my inquiries, about WGU accepting NA especially DETC credit and degrees in to further, undergrad and graduate programs.
I was told that they don't need to maintain DETC accreditation anymore that it's an additional expanse.
The policy of admissions will not change in the near future.
They will continue recognize and award transfer credit or accept a person with DETC degree in to their degree programs the same way they handled it so far, BTW not guaranteed acceptance in the past but not an obstacle.
OK, name 10 RA embarrassments (please define this term - up front I'm telling you that aggressive marketing is not an accepted "embarrassment").
I'm just meaning that whenever certain RA schools come up for being accused of bad behavior, a number of people team up to come out of the woodwork defending those types of schools no matter what.
I'm not disagreeing with that, but I brought this up because it appears that many people dismiss individual situations and put a blanket over every school that belongs to a certain accreditor, like:
NA/DETC accreditor = All bad schools
RA accreditor = All good schools
I agree. There is no question that an NA degree be it from a DETC school or another NA school is going to have less utility than one from an RA school, and depending on certain fields--especially those in Healthcare and Education--an NA degree is going to likely have even less than that if a person is actually trying to get a job that exactly matches up to their major. I hear that complaint often from NA degree holders in those fields who've actually landed good-paying jobs, and I remind them that they at least got a good-paying job that required a degree so it's not like it's a total-loss-it's-over-go-get-the-noose.
That's true, and I also think that includes the entire realm of National Accreditation. I'm okay with that. Someone in this situation has to be #1 and someone has to be #2.
Maxwell - I'm sorry but I'm going to pile on a bit. You're speaking in generalities and offering no backup for your opinions so I have to press you a bit to show evidence.
First - there's the whole "RA embarrasments thing..." Examples are useful.
Second - "I'm just meaning that whenever certain RA schools come up for being accused of bad behavior, a number of people team up to come out of the woodwork defending those types of schools no matter what." OK, so which people? and what "type" of school are you referring to? Examples are useful.
Third - "I'm not disagreeing with that, but I brought this up because it appears that many people dismiss individual situations and put a blanket over every school that belongs to a certain accreditor, like:
NA/DETC accreditor = All bad schools
RA accreditor = All good schools"
Again, which people? which schools? Examples are useful. Essentially you're doing exactly what you're accusing others of doing. You're making blanket statements without any factual backup.
On this board we have many NA/DETC proponents and some detractors. Overall I believe that it's best to respond directly to other members quotable comments or to opinions/decisions posted elsewhere on the responsible internet as opposed to making blanket statements about bad RA schools, most people believe, no one thinks, etc. Personally, I like some DETC schools and would bet that some people could benefit from one of those degrees. At the same time, I recognize that often, those same degrees are offered by RA schools, sometimes even at a smaller cost, and I wonder why people then choose the DETC school.
So, you'd essentially be expecting me to search for tons of posts where--for example--someone mentioned going to an NA school and was then bombarded with posts directing them to an RA school, usually one of the "Big 3", and that in itself is pretty strong evidence of what the general consensus is of NA programs around here...
... It's not necessary. I'm sure you've read enough of those posts to know this happens, so it's certainly not made up. I just commented on one recently.
They're only useful for creating a big problem and causing a bunch of people to jump in and defend their beloved school. I'll say this school sucks, someone will get upset and fight about it, and then another and then another... I'm not interested in doing that unless the school comes up in discussion (thread, post, etc). At the end of the day, lots of our statements on things are general statements, and there is nothing wrong with that, since one person's experience will vary from another person's and that doesn't make one or another's invalid.
I make a conscious decision to only bring up the names of schools in this situation that have either had a public fiasco and a reputation for poor behavior/academic quality issues, or schools I've had direct experience with and to only do either in context and absolute necessity.
Every accreditor has had its school embarrassments, so I'm not saying anything extreme there, and I don't feel it's a fair expectation to be pressed for source information for every position I take since that standard is definitely not being expected from everyone, even though similar positions are taken on other matters.
The "types of schools" were already mentioned there. And much like my last quote response, I certainly don't feel comfortable naming people, it won't do any good.
I'm not sure what you're hunting for or why. You want me to list a bunch of schools? I'm not going to do that. You want me to name a bunch of names, I'm not going to do that. You see a value in that, I don't see the same value. There are plenty of posts available on this board and other boards and places on the internet that prove the point. It's not as if I'm making some kind of wild claim.
Except I never once said "most people believe" or "no one thinks" about anything in this thread. By pointing out that some people believe something, or that many people have said something, that doesn't create a need for sourcing and it doesn't discredit the view. This is what I've seen and experienced and I've formed a position based on those things that did happen; you may have seen and experienced something different and formed a different position. We're both entitled to that, and neither of us should be expected to list sources and references for every position we take. It's just not practical nor reasonable.
I apologize for expecting that you might be able to list even a couple of verifiable reasons for the opinions you've formed. Quite unreasonable of me. My mistake. Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.
I am curious about the RA embarrassments. I can think of schools that had their accreditation threatened. I can think of schools that have gone out of business. I can think of schools that use aggressive marketing tactics.
I agree that you should be more specific, at least with the gist of your point. All that stuff about people defending schools in posts on boards like this is no big deal, but what RA schools did you have in mind and why? Here's a few schools accredited by DETC at one time or another that I found to be interesting cases:
La Salle Extension University
Canadian School of Management
International Management Centres
Andrew Jackson University
Columbia Southern University
California Coast University
University of Leicester
University of Management and Technology
California College for Health Sciences
Concord School of Law
Taft Law School
California Miramar University
University of Atlanta
American Institute of Computer Science
Southern California University of Professional Studies
These schools are or were interesting in a variety of ways.
I think his reasons have been well stated on more than one occasion, it's schools he's not wishing to make a list of. Besides, how would we verify a personal viewpoint when a personal viewpoint on a matter like this is totally subjective anyway? It just seems to me that it would wind up as an episode of him stating a personal view on a school and then people trying to discredit that personal viewpoint with a personal viewpoint of their own, which would basically be arguing in a circle that takes us nowhere but back to where we started... and then back around again, and again and again... and then we all... uke:
Oh, there are plenty of specifics available--once we know which schools we're talking about.
I agree with you, Maxwell. I think that Rich kind of overstated his position.
There are just too many variables in higher education for broadly dismissive words like 'inferior' to be meaningful. One needs to ask - inferior in what regard, exactly.
Right. The institutional accreditors tend towards accrediting university administrations, not university programs per-se. The accreditors pay great attention to university finances and sustainability. They place tremendous emphasis on having committees and procedures in place for every function, and on making sure everything is documented in writing.And that's where RA is more robust than DETC. The regional accreditors expect to see more robust finances. They expect to see larger and more top-heavy administrations. So it's often easier for a small edu-startup with limited means to get its initial accreditation through DETC.
When it comes to academic programs themselves, I don't think that either the regional accreditors or DETC even attempt to control program content very closely. What they do is try to ensure that schools hire qualified faculty and then let those faculty exercise their own professional judgement in class and program design. So from a student's eye point of view, when the variable is program quality and quality of instruction, whether or not a DETC or an RA program is superior is often going to boil down to who taught the particular classes a student takes.
This is why many schools opt to seek specialized accreditations when they are available. The specialized accreditors do look very closely at course syllabi and program design in their particular subject areas. Specialized accreditation tells us more about the content and delivery of particular programs, which is why state licensing boards typically require specialized programmatic accreditations as opposed to institutional accreditation.
I think that from the student's-eye perspective, when we are talking about quality of instruction and the ultimate educational value of a particular class, there's going to be lots of overlap between DETC and regionally accredited DL classes. I don't believe that it's possible to truthfully say that all DETC classes will have weaker syllabi, lower standards or be more poorly taught than RA classes. Sometimes the reverse is going to be true. It's more of a case-by-case thing.
Maxwell has made a reasonable argument, and because some folks here have worked a reality up in their heads, they attack him and use the typical straw-man arguments again him. Using words like inferior, and then going bananas when someone calls you on it, and then attacking that person, says to me that you have ulterior motives. I am no fan of DETC, but they are held to the same standards as everyone else, and they just went through the US ED process of approvals for their 10 year. Using terms like inferior really shows me that someone doesn't understand how things work, and instead they just want to pretend that value and market share are synonymous, and they try and defend how they WANT things to be not how they are, to support their own views.
I think that sometimes it can be.
The newspapers and certainly trade publications like the 'Chronicle of Higher Education' have published plenty of stories about specific scandals as well as broader complaints about poor educational standards in general.
There's this idea, common to the point of being gospel on the distance learning boards, that the only thing that matters with university programs is their accreditation, and that regional accreditation means not only that programs will always be good, they will invariably be better than programs with any other institutional accreditation. I think that Maxwell was simply pointing out that isn't necessarily going to be true in each and every case, and I think that I agree with him.
OK. But if your opinion is based on nothing verifiable then you opinion is based on nothing and then has no value in the real world.
So if the quality of instruction/learning is high, then why don't RA schools universally accept DETC credits? If it's just about fancy committtees and finances then why won't RA school X accept my DETC credits from Y?
The fact is, I don't know the answer but neither do you. Neither one of us works for an accrediting agency and can tell the inside story. You have a theory and so do I but I'm invoking Occam's Razor as my explanation. The don't universally accept the credits because they don't think they're equivalent. RA schools' accept credits from colleges all over the planet but most won't accept DETC credits. When that changes (and I hope it does) then I'll be happy to jump on agent 86's bandwagon. Until then you'll have a very hard time convincing me (and most others as well.)
Separate names with a comma.