University of the Cumberlands Online PhD in Information Technology

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Marcus Aurelius, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. snark

    snark New Member

    @wingshot I recently defended. My experience and impressions are very similar to yours. I vividly remember being in later classes with doctoral students in the criminal justice, leadership, business, and education programs and thinking that the students were amazing. Most of the IT students were cheaters, but they did not make it through the more advanced dissertation classes for the reasons that you mentioned. Some students appeared to contract with ghostwriters to write their dissertations, but UC is not the only university that has this problem. (I know of students who graduated from MS programs at a top 10 public (sadly my alma mater) that did this too.) That is bound to happen when the students are making $$$$$$. At UC, ghostwritten dissertations were crap, and I can't imagine that the students graduated. I know that many were held back in the first two dissertation classes.

    I found that I could cite as much foundational material as I wanted as long as I had a large number of current references that supported my assertion that my theoretical framework was still relevant (I had >200). Some chairs (I had a new one for every class) do not tell students that it is imperative that they use current theoretical frameworks. I saw many students who had to make major course corrections because they needed to find current frameworks and redo much of their dissertation, even in 930.

    Agree with your statement about IRB, etc. having you redo things even after they approve... happened to me multiple times. You are not free and clear until you defend. The key to dealing with this is to quickly comply. Arguing gets you nowhere, and there is a really good chance someone will block you later --saw it happen to multiple students in different classes. Persistence without being annoying, asking intelligent questions, building a good rapport with your chair/IRB, taking responsibility for EVERYTHING, and managing the project are key attributes for success.

    Regarding page count, I found that in later classes, I was constantly adding and removing material. I was over 385 repeatedly and went through a cycle of trimming and adding until I hit my final page count. I must have written over 1200 dissertation pages in total; however, I am sure that I am an extreme outlier. Also, turns out that the page requirements for the ED/Leadership programs are less than the IT program. You find this out in 931. I am absolutely not knocking the other programs. Their students and work were excellent, as you mentioned. If I had to guess why the IT program requires longer dissertations, it might be an attempt to make the cost of hiring a ghostwriter prohibitive. A better approach would be to require students to post their work each week since most ghostwriters do not deliver content weekly; however, I was in one class where a student was doing work for four other students. It was hilarious to see five students log on and post their work within minutes of each other, and post material for the wrong student. The one doing the work passed the first dissertation class but was removed within 1-2 weeks of starting the second class. The others failed and were publicly humiliated; however, I don't think that mattered much since they probably didn't log in to see the comments. I suspect they only became aware of their situation when they could not register for the next class. Give-em rope and squeeze them for $$$.

    Not sure how often I will check back in. Good luck on your journey and make us all proud!
    datby98 and Dustin like this.
  2. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing this. Do you happen to know the page count for IT vs the other programs? I only just started but it's helpful to understand the expectations.
  3. snark

    snark New Member

    Unfortunately, I cannot recall, but there was a big difference between the programs. I am not sure that it really matters anyway. Everything changes a lot, even within a term. I know that this isn't related to page count, but one HUGE change that occurred last term is that they allow piloting now, which opens up a lot of opportunities to combine survey instruments, which removes a lot of barriers for students. My impression is that they haven't had many students make it to the end until recently, and now they are realizing that clarification/changes are needed, so they are making constant changes. They also have new Directors/heads (not IT, Grad/IRB) = change.
    Dustin likes this.
  4. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    So it begins. One of my courses noted they won't accept a paper with a SafeAssign score over 20% if any of the content is flagged (versus the references.) Virtually every paper I wrote was over 20%. One paper in a previous course landed at 38% and the only content that was flagged was the phrase "The Project Management Professional (PMP)" That sentence is going to appear in any paper about project management that references that credential. Bah.

    Luckily the course provides the ability to "revise and resubmit" a few times, but it is unsettling to put such a robotic standard on what are supposed to be graduate papers.
    Suss, JoshD, Rachel83az and 2 others like this.
  5. Xspect

    Xspect Member non grata

    It mainly flags my reference page or my direct quotations. I have been sending my assignments to the instructors through email with an explanation.
    Jonathan Whatley and Dustin like this.
  6. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Wrote my first paper. Started at 43% SafeAssign. Mostly my headings. I ended up just deleting some of the headings and awkwardly torturing the phrases to get around high matches that are literally just identifying government agencies or elements that the paper requires specifically (e.g. "Benefits of X").

    I got 38% with the only similarity outside of the references being the department and course name on the APA-required title page. I can't get a lower SafeAssign without deleting the title page. There is mathematically no way to get under 30% without removing elements the paper must have.
    Suss, JoshD, Rachel83az and 1 other person like this.
  7. Xspect

    Xspect Member non grata

    I know I sound like a broken record but they have the safe sign sensitivity settings maladjusted. I still recommend you send the paper directly to the instructor explaining the issues. You are too busy to be mucking around on this when it's obviously their problem not yours
    Suss, JoshD, Rachel83az and 1 other person like this.
  8. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that, SafeAssign. Really glad you were there to identify this "high match" from Wikipedia.

    Rachel83az likes this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Wow! SafeAssign never detected my paper more than 30%, but normally references. But 71% is crazy....:)
  10. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

  11. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    My average paper comes in around 35, but in this case there was a 71% chance that the phrase "The U.N." from my paper matched the phrase "Latest U.N." from Wikipedia. But of course we know it doesn't.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  12. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Also, the financial aid process at UC seems a bit disorganized. My 2023-2024 financial aid packet said "In Review" up until the first week of classes, so I emailed to find out if there was any action I needed to take to move the process along. They said I needed to send my proof of citizenship in. Notwithstanding the fact that I already did last year (indeed, I couldn't have gotten financial aid at UC without it), I emailed it again. They said I needed to upload it to the portal. I sent them a screenshot of the portal showing that it already had a green checkmark from last term, with no option to provide proof twice. They emailed back and then started processing my aid package. No idea why they needed me to initiate that, and I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't reached out.

    Last term, I got a "Your tuition is overdue and you may be unregistered from courses" email and when I checked my online account, my financial aid was sitting in "Ready to be disbursed" in the finances part of the portal and would cover the entire tuition balance owing (so it looked like: "Tuition: $6000. Student Loan: $7000. Balance Owing/Refund Due: -$1000". I emailed to find out if I needed to take any action and they said no. Eventually the student loan processed. Why have automated emails going out to students who don't actually owe?

    These are small annoyances but they are adding up.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  13. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Been a minute since I've updated. I'm halfway through both ITS832 and ITS834. The SafeAssign score hasn't been an issue. While they do mention not accepting papers with higher scores, I think this is a scare tactic to reduce plagiarism. Digging deeper into the policies always reveals something about how the paper will be scrutinized, or the references will be excluded, etc., and I haven't had any actual issues getting my papers accepted in either class with only minor edits. As we've moved into papers that are effectively review articles, SafeAssign has been less of a thorn. Especially when the assignment is to pick an article of my own choice and then review it. In those cases, none of my body text or even the title gets flagged because there isn't anyone picking the same topics as me.

    Interestingly, a couple weeks back the entire 8 weeks of content made itself available in both classes. This is in contrast to ITS831 where content was dripped out for the 8 weeks. Not that I have the time right now to go looking too far ahead but it's good to know that if I had a free day I could get started on Week 5's paper even though it's Saturday.

    I don't think I mentioned it previously, but UC sent me a shirt! It's red with the UC Patriot logo on it. I found a similar one in their online store. It came with a postcard that said that online learners are a part of the campus community too and deserve to have some swag. Nice touch.


    I am just itching to get past my coursework and comps and get into my dissertation. I already have a bunch of ideas, but I'm hoping the one that I select will have at least 3 papers worth of meat in it. One thought is that if I collect data on Subject A from participants at both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, I could publish separate analyses on them as unique papers plus a lit review as a third paper (though that might be salami slicing, I'll find out when I get closer.)

    I would like to establish a publication record of a few papers, to prove to myself that I can do this. After that, since I'm not looking to work in academia it's not important to me if I continue publishing. Looking at my academic plan and assuming no delays, I should be able to finish my core and specialization courses by August 2024. Then I would start my dissertation courses in Fall 2024.
  14. Xspect

    Xspect Member non grata

    Dustin, that's great you got a UC Patriot shirt from the University! It's a nice touch to make online learners feel part of the community. I haven't received anything like that; my journey has been pretty uneventful so far. I will be ABD after this term. Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences.
    Dustin likes this.
  15. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Completed IT8S32 and ITS834. Pretty straight forward. Starting on Monday, ITS833 Information Governance and ITS835 Enterprise Risk Management.
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.
  16. Elbulk

    Elbulk Active Member

    I like the course outline. Would you say it's been hands-on so far?
  17. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    None of the UC courses are hands-on, no. Each one involves reading several articles a week, writing discussion board posts based on a prompt and responding to 2 others, and then writing on average one 6-8 page paper a week and then a longer paper at the end of the course.

    I'm building up quite the library of papers and citations from the papers I've read and written which I think is the point.

    You get an understanding of the literature and are better poised to add it to after reading what I estimate is 600 papers before you begin writing your dissertation proposal.
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.
  18. Elbulk

    Elbulk Active Member

    Okay, that makes sense. I think I should have asked how much impact it seems to have on the learner, that's probably a more appropriate question.
    Dustin likes this.
  19. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I think that there's lots to learn but it's very much self-directed learning (as a PhD should be.) You're asked to review 3-7 articles a week and then write a paper but I end up reading a lot more, at least giving them a cursory glance. It's helping widen my knowledge about many areas but I'm not diving deep yet.

    I'm looking forward to these Information Governance and Enterprise Risk Management courses because I've considered both topics as potential springboards to my dissertation. Information Governance is the first course I've taken that has had 2 discussion boards in one week which is interesting.
    JBjunior, Jonathan Whatley and Elbulk like this.
  20. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    It's been a minute since I've written. Still chugging away in my Enterprise Risk Mananagement and Information Governance courses. The structure is very similar each week: read, write, discuss.

    I'll have 15 credits out of 60 done by the end of the year.

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