Why are schools like U of P looked down on by the majority of people?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by bicycledude, Dec 4, 2009.

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  1. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    That's probably because they are using keyword matching software to screen resumes... Have I ever shared my "Trained Monkey Theory of HR Staffing" with you?
  2. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    There is another dimension to what U of P offers... ACCESS!

    At the undergraduate level, the University is able to work with students who barely passed their GED all the way up to extremely bright engineers and nurses, etc. who wish to add degrees and certificates. If students are able to do the work, they can eventually graduate. Elitists are offended by such notions as the access provided by open enrollment, but, hey, who cares...

    The University also provides access to under-served groups in our society who missed out on the rising tide provided by being part of the dominant culture.

    Moreover, the lack of tenure means that the University is largely free of narcissists and dummies; work tends to flow to those who can and will do it, and away from someone who loves to hear the sound of their own voice or pretend they are smartest person in the room.

    Overall, if you are going to diss U of P, you need to get specific and try to extrapolate toward some sort of meaningful generalization, IMHO...
  3. ITJD

    ITJD Guest


    The lack of tenure also means that the university experiences talent churn, and the inability to attract the country's best researchers/minds. Therefore while it is already the world's largest university in terms of enrollment it's never going to be fully dedicated to higher learning either.

    Of course there's the whole counter debate of "I go to Harvard and my classes are taught by TA's." At the heart of the matter, the University of Phoenix is about providing access to an education to anyone who meets generally low prerequisites.

    Depending on your point of view, your position on the disenfranchised/social stalwart scale, and access to other universities people's mileage will vary.

    One thing I will say in closing is that there is a place for the University of Phoenix in the educational world. I accept it for what it is, but please, please don't even try to mention it in passing when talking about quality programs with quality instructors. Admissions standards are half of the best-in-class argument.
  4. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    You don't seem to fully understand the concept of "open enrollment." Open enrollment does not necessarily mean "low enrollment." It only means "open" as in anyone can apply and most all are accepted.

    Elite schools are really based on the exploitation of the measure of central tendency. By pretending that low outliers and below median students don't exist (or should not be served), one can raise the school "average" as high as desired. (Which is why minority students are always excluded en masse from elitist schools...) The truth is that a bunch of geniuses only need a access to a good library for four years to educate themselves; the implications for the "real quality" of the university are profound -- taking a bunch of high average students and moving the imperceptibly higher is a simple task and your teaching methods might be making some of those geniuses a little dumber -- on the other hand, taking a bunch of below average students and moving them substantially higher is a difficult task. Do you see now why elitist schools are just kidding themselves about being "high quality"?

    By the way, how long have you been teaching for U of P?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2009
  5. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Dave, you are my favorite poster :)
  6. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

    I understand the concept of open enrollment perfectly well David. The concept is bring education to the masses and not make them necessarily go through a rigorous admissions process designed to keep the general level of talent high such that advanced learning can happen. In this model people not necessarily served by the standard educational systems or unable to use the standard educational systems for whatever reason, can get an education.

    Obviously you missed my point entirely and superimposed one of your own.

    I'll tell you a little tale. It's perfectly verifiable. Once upon a time there was an elite school named Harvard. It was open enrollment. Anyone could go. This is what happened:

    1. The wash out rate over the first two years was well over 50%.

    2. Professors would avoid directly dealing with students one on one if they could until they got to year three. Reason: Some students weren't worth their time and they were right.

    3. Student complaints about other students were high and there was a real risk of losing the people who were to a different standard.

    These three factors lead to the enrollment practices of "elitism". Please know your history. If you're a major advocate of open enrollment know that open enrollment led to the thing you're railing against.

    In closing, I ask you one question. How long have you taught at Harvard?

    Foolish question regarding U of P really.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2009
  7. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    ITJD, you are my favorite poster. :)
  8. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

    Now the above makes some sense.

    What makes "elite" schools elite are:

    1. High admissions standards at the undergrad level (students have study skills)
    2. Eminently credible faculty with solid research that defines their fields.
    3. High admissions standards at the grad level (TAs and students have good skills)
    4. Money to deliver a decent standard of living and educational resources.

    The above are my opinion.

    Feel free to use central tendencies and outliers to support your opinion as your opinion is also valid. However, I feel that, like a restaurant, if you take good ingredients and good tools and combine them with good chefs, good food results.

    Of course there are going to be people that are outliers either way in any population, and your imperceptibly higher mark may be impossible to reach, but at the same time being worse off for being put in an environment like that is worse off compared to who exactly? The people that didn't get in in the first place or the people who are straight -A students at an elite school?

    Either way, we're likely just stroking ourselves with this line of conversation.
  9. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    So Harvard once was a school with a crappy administration that could not figure out how to serve students, and you are speaking from never having taught or attended there. Is that what I hear you saying?
  10. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Actually, I'm trying to help you un-clutter your thinking a bit... Keep in touch.
  11. ITJD

    ITJD Guest


    Please stop elaborating on what I'm writing and look at the words for their exact meanings. To clarify:

    1. I don't think anyone in academia is going to argue that Harvard is one of the schools that essentially defined higher education in America if not the world.

    2. Building on point one, it should suffice to say that if we are indeed learning anything we are learning from the successes and failures of those who have gone before us.

    3. Harvard pioneered the open admissions process. It learned that it could not keep its highest level students focused if people who did not have the skills to operate at the highest level were allowed to continue to matriculate. It also learned that professors were unable to focus on their highest level students if they needed to also spend time on those who were a bit less capable.

    4. The wash out rate at Harvard during its open enrollment process was a point of debate. On one hand it set the precedent for Harvard being an elite school. Many couldn't hack it. On the other hand it also set a horrible example, people weren't being served. At some point a decision was made to stand with the faculty and the best students and the high level admissions process made its debut.

    If they did not make this decision, Harvard would not be the paragon institution it is now. You can feel free to agree or disagree with this as at times I do too considering I know many people that work there and have met a few faculty enough to hob nob.

    Terms like "elite" and "privileged" and all of that just really come down to study skills and ability to learn and think. If you're able to get in, you're able to get in and to their credit, they're offering nearly free if not totally free rides to capable students from all socio-economic classes now. If your family makes under 40k a year, you go nearly free minus books and such. You just need to get in and be willing to be a resident.

    Now before I get too off topic, in regards to U of P:

    1. It's probably a fine school for the people that it targets as part of its mission. It's not Harvard and never will be. It made the exact opposite decision regarding its admissions process. That's fine.

    2. The students there reflect that decision. The professors there are not teaching the brightest but that doesn't mean that those students have no value.

    3. The professors there are not eminent in their fields and are not capable of developing the brightest minds to the level that Harvard is. Not even close. That does not mean that I'm looking down on anyone who teaches there or am ridiculing them in any way. It does mean I don't aspire to be one of them (and no one should lose any sleep over it.)

    If you can get into Harvard (or the Extension school by proxy) you should. You really should. If you can't and you can get into another fine B&M that also does online work, you should do that. Based on my opinion and the opinions of those I'm in regular contact with, those options should be exhausted before going to a pure online school of any kind.

    These being my opinions no one should lose any sleep over them, and I'm a proud alum of both pure B&M, pure online, and hybrid schools (per my sig) so obviously my mind is open. My advice though needs to be held to a higher standard, because I have no idea who is reading.

    In my opinion, open admissions is more about making money than helping people. If you know that a certain percentage is washing out of your program you have the ability to demograph that percentage and gear your admissions process towards excluding that percentage. If you're not doing that actively, (and god forbid you have admissions reps on commission) you can't argue you're helping people.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2009
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  13. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

    Agreed. The major requirements are two to three classes with a B grade or higher before being allowed to matriculate and the appropriate regionally accredited degree if going into a masters program.

    The catch is that every masters program requires a thesis that is more of a mini-dissertation. Culturally, there are a lot of people who take one or two classes at Harvard Extension to create an association with Harvard on the resume, significantly fewer in the programs and fewer still that have graduated. There are also limits on how many courses can be taken at a distance and a requirement that a certain number of courses be taken with full-time faculty. Transfer credit is very limited even for the AB.

    But if you do pull it off you're considered Harvard Alum. Not "eww, extension alum." It's worth it, but you have to work your butt off. Personally, though I'm done with a MBA this fall from a good school, I'm contemplating this as a stop before hitting the PhD.

    It seems that those who graduate from HES are well-prepared to be competitive for decent PhD programs.
  14. KLM

    KLM New Member

    I do find an abundance of typos in a post to be very distracting. An occasional misspelled word is to be expected, but when words are not only misspelled, but used incorrectly (i.e., waisted instead of wasted) it detracts from a post that I am reading. And very well, this may just be because I am particularly sensitive to this sort of thing (I am one who finds typos in books all the time!).

    I would like to echo posts by others that it is good practice to be careful when typing as we do not know who is reading these posts. As have others, I have made contacts for potential jobs off of this site. ~KLM~
  15. KLM

    KLM New Member

    Sorry! Don't know how this ended up on this thread. Wasn't supposed to be here. My apologies!
  16. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    I sense some frustration about the process of discussing topics online. Am I understanding you correctly? I want to help you get the last word. OK? How can we work together to assure that you are correct about everything?
  17. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

    Hi Dave,

    If you want the last word, just reply to this and you'll be just fine. :)

    I'm not going to get into a tit for tat with you over things stated on a forum community. From your perspective you're right about everything you say or you wouldn't say it. From mine, it's the same.

    The point is to learn from what we see everyone post and filter out the things that don't apply to us. Your post to me implies that you're frustrated. ( I could be wrong) I just don't want words put in my mouth is all. If you take things out of context to make your point I'm going to correct you so my message isn't misconstrued.

    I'm not your below-average forum community poster or a forum troll and I'll be appreciative if you don't treat me that way. Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2009
  18. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

    I got an PM from the original poster admitting he was a troll on this site and that none of his posts should be taken seriously. He said "how does it feel to be taken by an internet troll, hook, line and sinker." I guess he feels my life is somehow worse off now. :) I just wanted to let you all know so you don't have to debate this anymore. The OP was just trolling. Keep an eye out for him on other threads.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2009
  19. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    Ah, and I wondered about that too. Some people must have boring lives if trolling is entertainment.
  20. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    What a classy fellow.
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