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    Is an online education credible to most employers today?
    question posted February 5, 2011 by Robin Campbell, last edited May 17, 2012 
    8238 Views, 24 Comments
    question:
    Is an online education credible to most employers today?
    details:

    I am in my final semester to earn my associates degree in accounting at Elmira Business Institute in Elmira, NY and want to know if you have any thoughts on the credibility of online schools such as: Phoenix, Kaplan, or any others.  In the small amount of research that I have done it seems as though online schools are less credible than regular universities.  I want to pursue a bachelors degree in accounting while I am working; however, I do not want to waste my money on a school that is not credible to most employers.  I somewhat understand the accrediting concept.  Does accredited equal credible in all cases?  Do you have any suggestions?  Thanks

    Comment

    • Richard E Lillie

      Hi Robin,

      First, thank you for exploring AAA Commons, an information resource developed by the American Accounting Association (AAA).  As you are searching for information about pursuing a bachelors degree in accounting, I hope you will find AAA Commons to be a valuable resource.  If you have additional questions, please post them here.  I'll do my best to respond to your questions.

      I host the Teaching with Technology blog on AAA Commons.  Comments and opinions expressed in the postings are mine and may not reflect the positions of the American Accounting Association (AAA).  So, please consider my comments accordingly.

      You asked great questions that are not easy to answer.  There are many factors to consider when deciding where to study to earn your accounting degree.  You need to carefully research accounting programs and determine which program is the "best fit" for your career goals.

      Each college or university has its own personality.  Degree programs offered by a college or university reflect the institution's personality and overall mission.  While the undergraduate accounting curriculum may be somewhat similar across colleges and universities, the way a degree program is administered and the types of interaction between instructors and students may vary.  This is why you must carefully research both the college or university and its accounting program.  Search for the degree program that "best fits" your personal and career needs.

      Most colleges and universities have a website.  The website is a great place to start your research.  Look at the pictures since they share the institution's personality.  Drill down into the website to find specific information about the accounting degree program.  Carefully read information about the degree program.  If something tweaks your interest, contact the program administrators by email or telephone.

      Below are URL links to websites that discuss the issues of completing an online degree program versus a traditional degree program.  I did a Google search to find the web pages.  Discussion appears reasonable, but may reflect bias of the writer or publisher.  Accordingly, carefully weigh the discussion.  Do additional research as appropriate.

      I hope my reply to your questions helps you.  I wish you the best with your search for an accounting degree program.

      Rick Lillie

      URL RESOURCE LINKS

    • Julie Smith David

      Hi, Robin,

      This is a great question, and I hope we have a lot of people join in because it's really important for all schools to think about!  Here are my very biased thoughts (I teach at Arizona State University, right up the street from the University of Phoenix - so I'm biased!!):

      1)  Try to talk to people from the companies you'd like to work for.  Some companies are happy if you have a degree, and they're not as worried about accreditation or pedigree of the school.  Others have tightened their hiring and training policies so they only recognize major universities. You could talk to their human resources departments for policies, or even better yet, if you know someone in a position that you aspire to, ask their advice.

      2)  Because you have a strong preference for on-line learning, consider exploring on-line education from major universities.  It's no longer the case that you have to make a choice between the two.  For example (again, here's a statement about my university, so there's a bias here), ASU is now offering on-line undergraduate courses (http://asuonline.asu.edu/), and we expect to ramp this up significantly in the next 5 years.  Our president has a vision for the "New American University" that includes providing high quality education, accessible to a much larger group of students, with the resources in place to increase retention and life long learning and career success (http://newamericanuniversity.asu.edu/ - ok, biased right?).  Other universities have similar initiatives underway, and they might provide good options for you.

      3)  I echo Rick's comments about finding a school that's right for you - I'm sure you have specific career aspirations, and matching those with your choice is what will help you get the highest return on your educational investments.

      4) Finally, since you're going to be majoring in accounting, make sure that the school you choose will provide you with enough credits to meet your state's CPA requirements.  Although you may not choose to do that in the future, I'd strongly recommend you attend a school that leaves that door open to you - so you can go through it if you'd like to.

      All the best to you!  And I hope you'll let us know what works and doesn't work for you as your experience unfolds!

      • Robin Campbell

        Julie,

        Hi, thank you for replying to my question.  I was surprised to have responses as quickly as I did.  I think that your idea about asking the companies that I wish to work for about their opinions on education is great, I am going to do that.  I also appreciated your honesty and the idea about the CPA requirements.

        Sincerely,

        Robin

    • Robert E Jensen

      "Online Courses Should Always Include Proctored Finals, Economist Warns," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 10, 2011 ---
      Click Here
      http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/online-courses-should-always-include-proctored-finals-economist-warns/31287?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

      Online economics students do not absorb much material from homework and chapter tests during the semester—perhaps because they expect to be able to cheat their way through the final exam. That is the lesson from a study that Cheryl J. Wachenheim, an associate professor of agribusiness and applied economics at North Dakota State University, will present in July at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

      Ms. Wachenheim is no enemy of distance education. As The Chronicle reported in 2009, she continued to teach her online courses even during a National Guard deployment to Iraq. But she has noticed that her online students perform much worse than their classroom-taught counterparts when they are required to take a proctored, closed-book exam at the end of the semester.

      In her study—a previous version of which appeared in the Review of Agricultural Economics—Ms. Wachenheim looked at the performance of students in six sections of introductory-economics courses at North Dakota State. In online sections whose final exam was unproctored and open book, students’ exam grades were roughly the same as those of classroom-based students who took proctored, closed-book finals. But online sections that were asked to take proctored, closed-book final exams performed at least 15 points worse on a 100-point scale.

      Ms. Wachenheim fears that students in those unproctored online sections really weren’t learning much, even though their grades were fine. In self-paced courses, many students appeared to cram most of the homework and chapter exams into the final week of the semester. Few of them bothered to do the ungraded practice problems offered by the online publisher.

      Then there is the question of cheating. Ms. Wachenheim’s study did not gather any direct evidence, but she reports anecdotally that students have told her how they work in groups to compile huge caches of the publishers’ test-bank questions. She quotes one student as saying, “We may not learn the material, but we are guaranteed an A.”

      Ms. Wachenheim’s findings parallel those of a 2008 study in the Journal of Economic Education. That study found indirect evidence that students cheat on unproctored online tests, because their performance on proctored exams was much more consistent with predictions based on their class ranks and their overall grade-point averages.

      Continued in article

      Jensen Comment
      Since proctors are easily distracted and often miss peeking at cribbed notes and angled vision and pass the trash kinds of cheating, well placed videos can often be better than proctoring, especially when set up in individual cubicles.

      See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnsiteVersusOnline

      Bob Jensen's threads on assessment --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm

    • Robert E Jensen

      Average Student Debt on Graduation Day = $25,000 (think of the poor students well above average)
      "THE PRICE OF COLLEGE: $23,000 Of Debt At Graduation–Up 50% In A Decade," by Henry Blogget, Yahoo Finance, May 9, 2011

      Some startling news about the cost of education: The average college graduate in the Class of 2011 will graduate with a whopping $22,900 of student debt.

      That's quite a load. It's an increase of 8% over last year. It's up 47% over the past decade. And in a country whose consumers are over-indebted to begin with, it's a heavy anchor to have to drag behind you at the beginning of your career.

      The increase in average student debt, moreover, comes on the heels of news that college students don't really learn anything and the opinions of pundits like James Altucher that college is just a huge waste of time and money.

      So, is college just a waste of time and money? Should today's teenagers just skip college and the debt load that goes with it?

      Yes, some of them should, says Joe Weisenthal, Deputy Editor of Business Insider.

      It's true that the unemployment rate for those with college degrees is far lower than for the population as a whole, but this doesn't mean that everyone should go to college. (And it also doesn't mean that college is the cause of the lower unemployment rate: It may be that the type of people who choose go to college are the type of people who will naturally go on to learn skills that make them more employable). For some folks, Weisenthal says, college is just too expensive to be worth it.

      For others, though, the benefits of going to college outweigh the costs, even with the debt load.

      The lesson, Weisenthal concludes, is to think before you matriculate--and to be honest with yourself about whether college is really worth it for you.

      Watch the video

      Jensen Comment
      Note Joe's assertion that college graduates on average have higher incomes in life. He makes the very good point that it may well be attributes that college graduates have (other than college degrees) that increases their incomes --- e.g., a work ethic, analytical skills, self confidence, etc.

      The Case Against College Education ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#CaseAgainst

    • Robert E Jensen

      For-profit universities provide some free Website services in an effort to lure people into signing up for for-profit programs without ever mentioning that in most instances the students would be better off in more prestigious non-profit universities such as state-supported universities with great online programs and extension services.

      I'm bombarded with messages like the following one from ---
      http://www.paralegal.net/ 

      Then go to the orange box at http://www.paralegal.net/more/ 
      If you feed in the data that you're interested in a bachelor's degree in business with an accounting concentration, the only choices given are for-profit universities. No mention is made of better programs at the Universities of Wisconsin, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc.

      I've stopped linking to the many for-profit university promotional sites because they are so misleading.
      My threads on distance education alternatives are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm 
       

    • Robert E Jensen

      "The Fear and Frustration of Faculty at For-Profit Colleges," by Anonymous, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, July 10, 2011 ---
      http://chronicle.com/article/FearFrustration-Faculty/128145/?sid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

      Faculty members at for-profit colleges were not surprised by anything revealed last year in the Government Accountability Office's investigations of the for-profit-college industry. The subsequent Congressional hearings provided a sense of relief and validation to those of us who teach at these colleges: relief that fraudulent recruitment practices and other abuses had finally come to light, and validation of our frequently expressed concerns about such matters.

      This leads to two questions on the minds of those who scrutinize the faculty at for-profit colleges: Why on earth would anyone agree to teach at one? And what can faculty do to stop the blatant abuses at these colleges?

      Let me be clear: I do not know any academics who willingly work at for-profit colleges. From my experience, educators usually accept positions in the for-profit sector because they really do not have a choice. With the job crunch in academe, with student loans kicking in, families to provide for, and the need for health insurance, any job is better than no job. That certainly was my situation, and I know numerous instructors for whom it was the same. Economic necessity is the primary reason that credentialed educators teach at for-profit colleges.

      The other major reason that faculty members accept positions at for-profit colleges is that many traditional colleges no longer hire full-time faculty. Most educators at many for-profit colleges are a desperate group trying to cobble together a living wage by working on multiple campuses, including the for-profits. Faculty members have to take what they can get, where they can get it, in order to pursue their careers and pay their bills.

      This situation should be familiar to anyone who has followed the academic job market for the past 10 years. More and more colleges save money in a time of shrinking budgets by cutting tenure-track positions and substituting limited appointments and adjunct-faculty positions for full-time faculty. In a cruel twist, this hiring pattern at colleges that are considered more legitimate than for-profit institutions contributes to the need for faculty members to seek positions at for-profit colleges—but then faculty at the more-legitimate colleges criticize and shun their colleagues at the for-profits.

      The fact is, the collapse of the academic job market has led a large group of junior faculty members to take jobs at institutions where they never before would have dreamed of teaching.

      Optimistic educators like myself are seduced by deans and department managers at for-profit colleges, who regale potential faculty members with romantic tales of how the colleges have "saved" many a lost soul by accepting poorly prepared students and providing opportunities to those who have fallen through the cracks of the traditional education system. Join us, they proselytize, and you, too, will be able to provide a second chance to someone who was unable to get into college anywhere else.

      As trite as it sounds, many of us go into higher education to help people. We want to believe in students, to be generous and optimistic about them. We think that working at a for-profit college, if only for a little while as we search for a "real" job, will help us do that. At least that is how we reconcile our distaste for the for-profit system with our need to put bread on the table.

      So we begin teaching at these colleges, hoping for the best, looking forward to helping those students who deserve that second chance. But we are quickly schooled in the reality of the for-profit world, which cares not for legitimate second chances but only for the bottom line. What matters to for-profit colleges is whether federal dollars and private loans keep rolling in. The integrity of the institution, the development of individual scholarship, the implicit promise made to students that college provides meaningful and legitimate learning experiences—all of the things that have historically been of value in higher education—have no place in the world of for-profit colleges.

      But by the time new faculty realize this, they are committed to a contract or have selfishly gotten comfortable being able to pay the rent and see a doctor without going broke. And if they speak up against fraud and abuse, they risk losing even those comforts.

      My four years of experience as a professor at a for-profit college revealed that the for-profit higher-education industry really is as corrupt as everyone suspects. In my position, I suffered a death threat from a student, was threatened by students and their friends countless times, was publicly denigrated by the administration whenever I raised a question or objected to a corrupt practice, and was continually undermined by a faculty and administration driven by fear and adherence to low standards. My colleagues and I have tolerated drunk and disorderly students in our classes, have been told that students should be allowed to talk on their phones, text, and eat hot meals during class—just to keep those bodies in the seats.

      Instructors at my college have even been forced to lie about students' attendance, because one way the federal government monitors the colleges is through attendance. I have seen how the administration changes final grades to keep students enrolled, and how admissions representatives routinely contact professors to "discuss" specific student grades, in violation of federal student-confidentiality rules—and certainly in violation of the right of a qualified professor to manage his or her class without outside pressure or influence. In one medical program at my college, students with known criminal records are sent to only those externships that do not conduct background checks on employees. Those students then work with patients at clinics, nursing homes, and other medical facilities.

      Countless examples from my years at a for-profit college show that these colleges exploit students and faculty alike. Faculty are pressured by the administration and other faculty to pass students, to give higher grades, to "work with" illiterate students who should not have earned high-school diplomas let alone gained admission to college. Some faculty members routinely ignore obvious plagiarism and cheating, and give passing grades to inadequate students, in order to continue bringing home paychecks and avoid conflicts with an administration that itself is pressured to recruit and retain students and to comply with the corrupt policies of the corporate office. Unqualified and illiterate students are provided with work-study jobs (supported by taxes) as tutors, teaching assistants, and administrators. Students with learning disabilities, who have a federal guarantee of support services through the Americans With Disabilities Act, are thereby cheated out of qualified assistance.

      In these ways, it is clear that the for-profit model focuses on the most vulnerable in our society. Recruiters promise potential students that if they enroll in a program and borrow thousands of dollars in student loans, they will earn a degree that guarantees a career and an income. As Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, pointed out during the Congressional hearings, it's "a cruel irony" that for-profit colleges "seek out and enroll large numbers of minority and low-income students, offering them opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have"—but then cheat them out of what they are paying for.

      Some of these students will never finish their degrees, whether because they are functionally illiterate, or have failed their courses throughout high school because of learning difficulties, or have generally low levels of intelligence and ability, or, perhaps, exhibit signs of untreated psychological problems. Those are among the reasons some students fail their way through public schools and cannot achieve admission to any other college. Such students are always accepted at for-profit colleges, where they fail semester after semester, continually encouraged to re-enroll by the admissions and advising offices that urge them to take out more student loans, thereby lining the pockets of investors.

      As a result, some faculty have little knowledge of what actually constitutes college-level work. This means that attempts at course review and student assessment are flawed at the outset, because the faculty doing the assessments get so used to the low standards around them that those standards become the norm by which everything is judged. Faculty then routinely rate as "passing" or even "excellent" work that would not have passed muster when I taught high school.

      The first time I attended a presentation of student work, I was horrified by the papers that professors told students to submit to academic journals. Littered with misspellings, incomplete sentences, and poorly cited sources, these papers contained neither cohesive arguments nor comprehensible language—and the faculty who promoted these students seemed unaware of these problems. When I suggested that the papers be reviewed and proofed before being sent to journals, my suggestion was rebuffed.

      Continued in article

       

      Misleading Promotional Sites for For-Profit Universities

      For-profit universities provide some free Website services in an effort to lure people into signing up for for-profit programs without ever mentioning that in most instances the students would be better off in more prestigious non-profit universities such as state-supported universities with great online programs and extension services.


      I'm bombarded with messages like the following one from ---
      http://www.paralegal.net/


      Then go to the orange box at http://www.paralegal.net/more/
      If you feed in the data that you're interested in a bachelor's degree in business with an accounting concentration, the only choices given are for-profit universities. No mention is made of better programs at the Universities of Wisconsin, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc.


      I've stopped linking to the many for-profit university sites like this.
      My threads on distance education alternatives are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

      Bob Jensen's threads on for-profit universities are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ForProfitFraud

       

    • Robert E Jensen

      "Community-College Students Perform Worse Online Than Face to Face," by Ryan Brown, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 18, 2011 ---
      http://chronicle.com/article/Community-College-Students/128281/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

      Jensen Comment
      All these studies show is that having a kid on each knee and one crawling at your feet is not conducive to studying from a computer monitor.

      Studies like this compare apples to butterflies. If we we created a class-like environment for the online student at home the results might be entirely different. The first task would be to take away the distractions of the telephone, television, radio, pets, children in the house (not just the room since parents often have to break up tiffs between children in another room). The second task would be to have a camera on the monitor so the online instructor/proctor can see the online student at all times to do such things as preventing a tired online student from dozing off or sipping on a beer can or puffing on a joint.

      So much depends upon the motivation of the student. The SCALE experiments using online versus onsite samples of students across 30 courses for five years at the University of Illinois found that motivated online students performed better than onsite students if they were A, B, or high C students online or onsite. For D and F students there was not much hope for being online or onsite in a classroom ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Illinois

    • Robert E Jensen

      US News Rankings --- http://www.usnews.com/rankings

      US News Top Online Education Programs --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education
      Do not confuse this with the US News project to evaluate for-profit universities --- a project hampered by refusal of many for-profit universiteis to provide data

      Methodology: Online Bachelor's Degree Rankings ---
      http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2012/01/09/methodology-online-bachelors-degree-rankings

      . . .

      Data collection commenced on July 14, 2011, using a password-protected online system. Drawing from its Best Colleges universe of regionally accredited bachelor's granting institutions, U.S.News & World Report E-mailed surveys to the 1,765 regionally accredited institutions it determined had offered bachelor's degree programs in 2010.

      Continued in article

      "'U.S. News' Sizes Up Online-Degree Programs, Without Specifying Which Is No. 1," by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2012 ---
      http://chronicle.com/article/US-News-Sizes-Up/130274/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

      U.S. News & World Report has published its first-ever guide to online degree programs—but distance-education leaders looking to trumpet their high rankings may find it more difficult to brag about how they placed than do their colleagues at residential institutions.

      Unlike the magazine's annual rankings of residential colleges, which cause consternation among many administrators for reducing the value of each program into a single headline-friendly number, the new guide does not provide lists based on overall program quality; no university can claim it hosts the top online bachelor's or online master's program. Instead, U.S. News produced "honor rolls" highlighting colleges that consistently performed well across the ranking criteria.

      Eric Brooks, a U.S. News data research analyst, said the breakdown of the rankings into several categories was intentional; his team chose its categories based on areas with enough responses to make fair comparisons.

      "We're only ranking things that we felt the response rates justified ranking this year," he said.

      The rankings, which will be published today, represent a new chapter in the 28-year history of the U.S. News guide. The expansion was brought on by the rapid growth of online learning. More than six million students are now taking at least one course online, according to a recent survey of more than 2,500 academic leaders by the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board.

      U.S. News ranked colleges with bachelor's programs according to their performance in three categories: student services, student engagement, and faculty credentials. For programs at the master's level, U.S. News added a fourth category, admissions selectivity, to produce rankings of five different disciplines: business, nursing, education, engineering, and computer information technology.

      To ensure that the inaugural rankings were reliable, Mr. Brooks said, U.S. News developed its ranking methodology after the survey data was collected. Doing so, he said, allowed researchers to be fair to institutions that interpreted questions differently.

      Some distance-learning experts criticized that technique, however, arguing that the methodology should have been established before surveys were distributed.

      Russell Poulin, deputy director of research and analysis for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, which promotes online education as part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, said that approach allowed U.S. News to ask the wrong questions, resulting in an incomplete picture of distance-learning programs.

      "It sort of makes me feel like I don't know who won the baseball game, but I'll give you the batting average and the number of steals and I'll tell you who won," he said. Mr. Poulin and other critics said any useful rankings of online programs should include information on outcomes like retention rates, employment prospects, and debt load—statistics, Mr. Brooks said, that few universities provided for this first edition of the U.S. News rankings. He noted that the surveys will evolve in future years as U.S. News learns to better tailor its questions to the unique characteristics of online programs.

      W. Andrew McCollough, associate provost for information technology, e-learning, and distance education at the University of Florida, said he was "delighted" to discover that his institution's bachelor's program was among the four chosen for honor-roll inclusion. He noted that U.S. News would have to customize its questions in the future, since he found some of them didn't apply to online programs. He attributed that mismatch to the wide age distribution and other diverse demographic characteristics of the online student body.

      The homogeneity that exists in many residential programs "just doesn't exist in the distance-learning environment," he said. Despite the survey's flaws, Mr. McCollough said, the effort to add to the body of information about online programs is helpful for prospective students.

      Turnout for the surveys varied, from a 50 percent response rate among nursing programs to a 75 percent response rate among engineering programs. At for-profit institutions—which sometimes have a reputation for guarding their data closely—cooperation was mixed, said Mr. Brooks. Some, like the American Public University System, chose to participate. But Kaplan University, one of the largest providers of online education, decided to wait until the first rankings were published before deciding whether to join in, a spokesperson for the institution said.

      Though this year's rankings do not make definitive statements about program quality, Mr. Brooks said the research team was cautious for a reason and hopes the new guide can help students make informed decisions about the quality of online degrees.

      "We'd rather not produce something in its first year that's headline-grabbing for the wrong reasons," he said.


      'Honor Roll' From 'U.S. News' of Online Graduate Programs in Business

      Institution Teaching Practices and Student Engagement Student Services and Technology Faculty Credentials and Training Admissions Selectivity
      Arizona State U., W.P. Carey School of Business 24 32 37 11
      Arkansas State U. 9 21 1 36
      Brandman U. (Part of the Chapman U. system) 40 24 29 n/a
      Central Michigan U. 11 3 56 9
      Clarkson U. 4 24 2 23
      Florida Institute of Technology 43 16 23 n/a
      Gardner-Webb U. 27 1 15 n/a
      George Washington U. 20 9 7 n/a
      Indiana U. at Bloomington, Kelley School of Business 29 19 40 3
      Marist College 67 23 6 5
      Quinnipiac U. 6 4 13 16
      Temple U., Fox School of Business 39 8 17 34
      U. of Houston-Clear Lake 8 21 18 n/a
      U. of Mississippi 37 44 20 n/a

      Source: U.S. News & World Report

      Jensen Comment
      I don't know why the largest for-profit universities that generally provide more online degrees than the above universities combined are not included in the final outcomes. For example, the University of Phoenix alone as has over 600,000 students, most of whom are taking some or all online courses.

      My guess is that most for-profit universities are not forthcoming with the data requested by US News analysts. Note that the US News condition that the set of online programs to be considered be regionally accredited does not exclude many for-profit universities. For example, enter in such for-profit names as "University of Phoenix" or "Capella University" in the "College Search" box at
      http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-phoenix-20988
      These universities are included in the set of eligible regionally accredited online degree programs to be evaluated. They just did not do well in the above "Honor Roll" of outcomes for online degree programs.

      For-profit universities may have shot themselves in the foot by not providing the evaluation data to US News for online degree program evaluation. For example, one of the big failings of most for-profit online degree programs is in undergraduate "Admissions Selectivity."

      Bob Jensen's threads on distance education training and education alternatives are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

      Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings

    • Robert E Jensen

      "‘Free-Range Learners’: Study Opens Window Into How Students Hunt for Educational Content Online," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2012 --- Click Here
      http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/free-range-learners-study-opens-window-into-how-students-hunt-for-educational-content-online/36137?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

      Milwaukee — Digital natives? The idea that students are superengaged finders of online learning materials once struck Glenda Morgan, e-learning strategist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as “a load of hooey.” Students, she figured, probably stick with the textbooks and other content they’re assigned in class.

      Not quite. The preliminary results of a multiyear study of undergraduates’ online study habits, presented by Ms. Morgan at a conference on blended learning here this week, show that most students shop around for digital texts and videos beyond the boundaries of what professors assign them in class.

      “It’s almost like they want to find the content by themselves,” Ms. Morgan said in an interview after her talk, which took place in a packed room at the 9th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference & Workshop.

      It’s nothing new to hear that students supplement their studies with other universities’ online lecture videos. But Ms. Morgan’s research—backed by the National Science Foundation, based on 14 focus-group interviews at a range of colleges, and buttressed by a large online survey going on now—paints a broader picture of how they’re finding content, where they’re getting it, and why they’re using it.

      Ms. Morgan borrows the phrase “free-range learning” to describe students’ behavior, and she finds that they generally shop around for content in places educators would endorse. Students seem most favorably inclined to materials from other universities. They mention lecture videos from Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology far more than the widely publicized Khan Academy, she says. If they’re on a pre-med or health-science track, they prefer recognized “brands” like the Mayo Clinic. Students often seek this outside content due to dissatisfaction with their own professors, Ms. Morgan says.

      The study should be welcome news for government agencies, universities, and others in the business of publishing online libraries of educational content—although students tend to access these sources from the “side door,” like via a Google search for a very specific piece of information.

      But the study also highlights the challenge facing professors and librarians. Students report relying on friends to get help and share resources, Ms. Morgan says, whereas their responses suggest “much less of a role” for “conventional authority figures.”

      They “don’t want to ask librarians or tutors in the study center or stuff like that,” she says. “It’s more the informal networks that they’re using.”

      Ms. Morgan confesses to some concerns about her own data. She wonders how much students are “telling me what I want to hear.” She also worries that she’s tapping into a disproportionate slice of successful students.

      Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm

      Bob Jensen's threads on free courses, tutorials, videos, and course materials from prestigious universities and Kahn Academy ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

    • Robert E Jensen

      Socrates Mouses Around in the 21st Century
      A Fully Online Philosophy Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

      "Virtual Philosophy," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2012 ---
      http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/05/17/unc-greensboro-may-offer-its-first-fully-online-degree-philosophy

      Some assume that online education is not a suitable medium for courses that rely on the Socratic Method. But the philosophy professors at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are skeptical.

      The Greensboro philosophy department, which already offers online versions of eight of its courses, has adapted two additional ones, including a “capstone” seminar, for the Web. Pending the approval of the university system’s general administration, the new courses would make it possible to earn an undergraduate philosophy degree from Greensboro without setting foot on its campus.

      That would make philosophy the first department at Greensboro’s undergraduate college to offer a fully online degree.

      That might strike some observers as odd, given philosophy’s reputation as a discipline that relies on classroom exchanges and whose pedagogical model has hardly changed since ancient Greece. But philosophy and technology are more closely linked than some might assume, says Gary Rosenkrantz, the chair of the department.

      “It’s not as ironic as it seems if you reflect on the fact that computers -- both hardware and software -- derive from logicians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” says Rosenkrantz. Threads of inquiry that use the “if-then” protocol of formal logic are the “foundation of both the computer chip and basic computer software functions,” he says.

      In fact, the structured reasoning of philosophy makes it perhaps more amenable to adaptation than some other humanities disciplines. To help teach the online versions, Wade Maki, a lecturer at Greensboro, developed a computer program based on the choose-your-own-adventure books of his youth. Called “Virtual Philosopher,” the program poses ethical dilemmas and presents multiple-choice questions. Once a student answers, the program -- which features text as well as video of Maki -- interrogates her answer before offering her the opportunity to either change or reaffirm it.

      By asking leading questions and restricting student answers, Virtual Philosopher seeks to give students some autonomy without letting them wander off-topic, says Maki. For a preformatted program, the similarity to a typical classroom exchange is remarkable, he says.

      “It’s this classic tennis back and forth, intellectually,” says Maki, who has co-authored a paper on using Virtual Philosopher to replicate the Socratic Method online. “And if you’ve been teaching for a while … it becomes quite natural to find that they can be easily structured to give a student a good replica of what happens in the classroom.”

      The online philosophy courses at Greensboro do not rely entirely on Maki’s Virtual Philosopher. The instructors also hold live video chats via Blackboard, where students can inquire about various ideas without having to color inside the lines, says Rosenkrantz.

      But with the proposed fully online philosophy track comes a new challenge: holding an upper-level seminar online. Whereas the lower- and mid-level courses had only to match the level of interaction that students could reasonably expect from a traditional class of 40 or 50 students, Rosenkrantz will now have to try to replicate a much smaller, discussion-intensive course when it puts one of the department’s capstone courses, “Philosophy 494: Substance and Attribute,” on to the Web. “That needs to have a significant element of synchronous interaction between a professor and students,” he says.

      Rosenkrantz, who is slated to teach the course if the online major gets approved, says he is planning to use Google+ Hangouts to hold live discussions. Instructors have for years resisted holding seminar discussions online because multiperson video chat platforms were viewed as unreliable. But, like some other institutions that are moving discussion-intensive pieces of their curriculums to the Web, the Greensboro oracles are seeing technological capabilities gaining on ambition in online education. “Certainly the technology is there to attempt it now,” says Rosenkrantz.

      Continued in article

      From Amherst University
      Ask a Philosopher (a live philosopher will answer your questions) ---
      http://www.askphilosophers.org/

      Sample Question on April 19, 2012
      Is it ethical to kill someone in self-defense? My instinct was yes at first, but upon further reflection, in a situation where it's "you or them", I can't seem to think of a reason to kill someone in self-defense, other than the fact that you simply want to live. After all, you're still taking a human life. (Also if you could explain why it is or isn't ethical would help me out a lot thanks!)

      View the replies of several "philosophers" (who apparently never were faced with a life or death decision in real life)
      I think one of the answers is either tongue-in-cheek or just plain dumb!

      Gateway to Philosophy --- http://www.bu.edu/paideia/index.html

      Philosophy Now: A Magazine of Ideas http://www.philosophynow.org/

      Video course covers Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Tocqueville.
      Introduction to Political Philosophy: A Free Yale Course"--- Click Here
      http://www.openculture.com/2011/07/introduction_to_political_philosophy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OpenCulture+%28Open+Culture%29

      Also see the BBC's "Big Thinker" Lecture Series --- Click Here
      http://www.openculture.com/2011/07/bertrand_russell_bbc_lecture_series_.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OpenCulture+%28Open+Culture%29

      Teach Philosopy 101  --- http://www.teachphilosophy101.org/
      This site presents strategies and resources for faculty members and graduate assistants who are teaching Introduction to Philosophy courses; it also includes material of interest to college faculty generally. The mission of TΦ101 is to provide free, user-friendly resources to the academic community. All of the materials are provided on an open source license. You may also print as many copies as you wish (please print in landscape). TΦ101 carries no advertising. I am deeply indebted to Villanova University for all of the support that has made this project possible.
      John Immerwahr, Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University

      Methodologies of Comparative Philosophy: The Pragmatist and Process Traditions by Robert W. Smid (State University of New York Press; 2009, 288 pages; $80). Evaluates the methodologies of William Ernest Hocking, F.S.C. Northrop, Robert Cummings Neville, and David L. Hall in collaboration with Roger T. Ames.

      Philosophy Now: A Magazine of Ideas http://www.philosophynow.org/

      Video course covers Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Tocqueville.
      Introduction to Political Philosophy: A Free Yale Course"--- Click Here
      http://www.openculture.com/2011/07/introduction_to_political_philosophy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OpenCulture+%28Open+Culture%29

      Also see the BBC's "Big Thinker" Lecture Series --- Click Here
      http://www.openculture.com/2011/07/bertrand_russell_bbc_lecture_series_.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OpenCulture+%28Open+Culture%29

      Rhapsody of Philosophy: Dialogues With Plato in Contemporary Thought by Max Statkiewicz (Penn State University Press; 2009. 216 pages; $60). Describes a "rhapsodic mode" in Plato's dialogues that is echoed by such thinkers as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Irigaray, Derrida, and Nancy.

      Who Was Jacques Derrida? An Intellectual Biography by David Mikics (Yale University Press; 2009, 273 pages; $30). Topics include the French thinker's vision of philosophy as a realm that resists psychology.
       

      Ask Philosophers --- http://www.amherst.edu/askphilosophers/

       

      • This site puts the talents and knowledge of philosophers at the service of the general public. Send in a question that you think might be related to philosophy and we will do our best to respond to it. To date, there have been 1375 questions posted and 1834 responses.

        Philosophy Talk (Audio) --- http://www.philosophytalk.org/

        Philosophy Now: A Magazine of Ideas http://www.philosophynow.org/

        The Secret Lives Of Philosophers
        "Are Philosophers Really Lovers Of Wisdom?" Simoleon Sense, February 2, 2009 ---
        http://www.simoleonsense.com/are-philosophers-really-lovers-of-wisdom/

        I’ve always been interested in becoming an academic philosopher. My interest is so profound that I even majored as one during undergrad, only to quickly switch to Psychology & Neuroscience. Here’s an article brought to my attention by a friend and philosopher.
         Click Here To Read About The Secret Lives Of Philosphers

        Article Introduction (Via Philosopher’s Net)
         

        Although academics will hardly raise an eyebrow about this “open secret”, it comes as a surprise to many others to learn that many philosophers, in fact an increasing number by my lights, are little devoted to the love of wisdom. In only a merely “academic” way do they aspire to intellectual virtue. Even less often do they exhibit qualities of moral excellence. On the contrary, many philosophers, or what pass as philosophers, are, sadly, better described as petty social climbers, meretricious snobs, and acquisitive consumerists.

        I blush a bit now to confess that part of what drove me into philosophy in the first place was the naive conviction that among those who call themselves lovers of wisdom I would find something different in kind from the repugnant and shallow brutalism of the worlds of finance, business, and the law to which I had suffered some exposure in Ronald Reagan’s America.

        Article Excerpts (Via Philsopher’s Net)

        “Instead, I’ve found that the secret lives of philosophers are more often than not pre-occupied with status and acquisition.”

        “Like debutantes at the ball, philosophers now often spend much of their time dropping names, gossiping, promoting their connections, hawking their publications, passing out business cards and polishing their self-promotional web sites.”

        “Attitudes toward material consumption are not, I’m afraid much better. Philosophers seem to pepper their conversations more and more with remarks about the perks or bonuses they receive – how much money they have available for travel, what sort of computer allowances, how big their research grants are.”

        “All of this suggests a philosophical culture that imitates the business world not only in its emphasis on product (publication) but also in its adopting the criteria and trappings of professional success characteristic of commercial life.

        Conclusions (Via Philosopher’s Net)

        “One implication of this little secret is that professional philosophers have become less and less egalitarian in their view of education.”

        “Finding philosophers devoted principally to the love of wisdom and to sharing it broadly has become, as Spinoza said of all excellent things, as difficult as it is rare.”

       

      Bob Jensen's threads on online training and education alternatives around the world ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

    • Robert E Jensen

      "Online Courses Should Always Include Proctored Finals, Economist Warns," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 10, 2011 ---
      Click Here
      http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/online-courses-should-always-include-proctored-finals-economist-warns/31287?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

      Udacity --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udacity

      Pearson PLC --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearson_PLC

      "Udacity to partner with Pearson for testing: What does this mean?" by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 2, 2012 --- Click Here
      http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2012/06/02/udacity-to-partner-with-pearson-for-testing-what-does-this-mean/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

      Online educational startup Udacity, with whom I had a very positive experience while taking their CS 101 course, is taking things a bit further by partnering with Pearson. They’ll be using Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide to provide proctored final exams for some of their courses (presumably all of their courses will be included eventually), leading to an official credential and participation in a job placement service.

      Before, students watched the videos and did homework assignments online and then took a final exam at the end of the semester. In the first offering of CS 101, the “grade” for the course (the kind of certificate you got from Udacity) depended on either an average of homework scores and the final exam or on the final exam alone. Most Udacity courses these days just use the final exam. But the exam is untimed and unproctored, and there’s absolutely nothing preventing academic dishonesty apart from the integrity of the student.

      That’s not a great recipe for viable credentialing. For people like me, who want the knowledge but don’t really need the credentials, it’s enough, and I found their CS 101 course to be exactly the right level for what I needed to learn. But if you’re an employer, you’d want to have something a little more trustworthy, and so this is a logical move for Udacity. It’s also a significant step towards establishing themselves as more than just a web site with instructional videos.

      The natural question for people like me is, what does this mean for traditional higher education? Personally, I’m not worried, because I teach at an institution that provides way more than just credentialing for job placement. That’s not to downplay the importance of credentialing or job placement — but that sort of thing is fundamentally different than a university education, or at least a university education that hasn’t forsaken its mission. Higher ed is a rich and complex ecosystem, and universities don’t really compete in the same space as providers like Udacity even with the sort of credentialing they’re describing. In fact there could be opportunities for useful partnerships between universities and online providers. Udacity certainly makes use of the university professoriate to power its content delivery.

      On the other hand, Udacity’s move should be a warning to those institutions who have moved toward a credentialing + job placement model: Your space is being invaded by a viable competitor who can offer the same product for much less money.

      Onsite Versus Online Education (including controls for online examinations and assignments) ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#OnsiteVersusOnline

      Bob Jensen's threads on Udacity and other alternatives for educating the masses ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

    • Robert E Jensen

      "Distance Education at Research Universities?" by Philip G. Altbach, Inside Higher Ed, July 1, 2012 ---
      http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/distance-education-research-universities

      US News Top Online Education Programs --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education
      Do not confuse this with the US News project to evaluate for-profit universities --- a project hampered by refusal of many for-profit universities to provide data

      'Honor Roll' From 'U.S. News' of Online Graduate Programs in Business

      Institution Teaching Practices and Student Engagement Student Services and Technology Faculty Credentials and Training Admissions Selectivity
      Arizona State U., W.P. Carey School of Business 24 32 37 11
      Arkansas State U. 9 21 1 36
      Brandman U. (Part of the Chapman U. system) 40 24 29 n/a
      Central Michigan U. 11 3 56 9
      Clarkson U. 4 24 2 23
      Florida Institute of Technology 43 16 23 n/a
      Gardner-Webb U. 27 1 15 n/a
      George Washington U. 20 9 7 n/a
      Indiana U. at Bloomington, Kelley School of Business 29 19 40 3
      Marist College 67 23 6 5
      Quinnipiac U. 6 4 13 16
      Temple U., Fox School of Business 39 8 17 34
      U. of Houston-Clear Lake 8 21 18 n/a
      U. of Mississippi 37 44 20 n/a

      Source: U.S. News & World Report

      Jensen Comment
      I don't know why the largest for-profit universities that generally provide more online degrees than the above universities combined are not included in the final outcomes. For example, the University of Phoenix alone as has over 600,000 students, most of whom are taking some or all online courses.

      My guess is that most for-profit universities are not forthcoming with the data requested by US News analysts. Note that the US News condition that the set of online programs to be considered be regionally accredited does not exclude many for-profit universities. For example, enter in such for-profit names as "University of Phoenix" or "Capella University" in the "College Search" box at
      http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-phoenix-20988
      These universities are included in the set of eligible regionally accredited online degree programs to be evaluated. They just did not do well in the above "Honor Roll" of outcomes for online degree programs.

      For-profit universities may have shot themselves in the foot by not providing the evaluation data to US News for online degree program evaluation. But there may b e reasons for this. For example, one of the big failings of most for-profit online degree programs is in undergraduate "Admissions Selectivity."  

      Bob Jensen's threads on distance education training and education alternatives are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

      Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies are at
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings

      Bob Jensen's threads on distance education ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#DistanceEducation

      For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ForProfitFraud

       

    • Robert E Jensen

      US News Comparisons of Top Online Graduate MBA (Business) Programs ---
      http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/mba

      Institution name Ranks Arizona State UniversityTempe, AZ

      #11 in Admissions Selectivity
      #37 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #24 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #32 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Arkansas State University--Jonesboro Jonesboro, AR

      #36 in Admissions Selectivity
      #1 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #9 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #21 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Brandman University Irvine, CA

      NR* in Admissions Selectivity
      #29 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #40 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #24 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI

      #9 in Admissions Selectivity
      #56 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #11 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #3 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Clarkson University Potsdam, NY

      #23 in Admissions Selectivity
      #2 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #4 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #24 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL

      NR in Admissions Selectivity
      #23 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #43 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #16 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC

      NR in Admissions Selectivity
      #15 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #27 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #1 in Student Services and Technology
       

      George Washington University Washington, DC

      NR in Admissions Selectivity
      #7 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #20 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #9 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Indiana University--Bloomington Bloomington, IN

      #3 in Admissions Selectivity
      #40 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #29 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #19 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY

      #5 in Admissions Selectivity
      #6 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #67 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #23 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT

      #16 in Admissions Selectivity
      #13 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #6 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #4 in Student Services and Technology
       

      Temple University Philadelphia, PA

      #34 in Admissions Selectivity
      #17 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #39 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #8 in Student Services and Technology
       

      University of Houston--Clear Lake Houston, TX

      NR in Admissions Selectivity
      #18 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #8 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #21 in Student Services and Technology
       

      University of Mississippi University, MS

      NR in Admissions Selectivity
      #20 in Faculty Credentials and Training
      #37 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
      #44 in Student Services and Technology

       

      Bob Jensen's threads on online education and training alternatives ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

       

    • Robert E Jensen

      Message from USC President Regarding Online Degrees

      August 27, 2012 message from Denny Beresford

      Bob,

      I thought you’d be interested in this.

      Denny

       

      From: USC Alumni Association [mailto:usc.alumni@alumnicenter.usc.edu]
      Sent: Monday, August 27, 2012 12:09 PM
      To: Dennis R Beresford
      Subject: A Message from USC President C. L. Max Nikias

       

      August 27, 2012

      Dear Fellow Trojan,

      I thought you might be interested in a memorandum that USC President C. L. Max Nikias sent to the USC community this morning. It addresses the future of online education, an area of great importance for all universities in the years ahead.

      You can download a PDF of the memorandum here.

      Fight On!

      Scott M. Mory, Esq.
      Associate Senior Vice President and
      CEO, USC Alumni Association

       

       

      August 27, 2012 reply from Bob Jensen

      Hi Denny,

      Interesting how USC is more willing to go online with graduate degrees but not undergraduate degrees. This is consistent with my thesis that courses are only a small part of the maturation and learning process of 16-25 year old college students. Having said this, however, we must consider the non-traditional students such as those over 25 years of age, single parents with babes in their laps, people working full-time to make ends meet (including active military), and severely disabled students. That of course does not mean that USC has to scope in those non-traditional undergraduate students.

      Any schools offering online courses should be keenly aware, however, of the laws regarding access no matter what the missions are for the online courses ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped

      Thanks,
      Bob

      Many universities are not so averse to online undergraduate degrees.

      Socrates Mouses Around in the 21st Century
      A Fully Online Philosophy Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

      "Virtual Philosophy," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2012 ---
      http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/05/17/unc-greensboro-may-offer-its-first-fully-online-degree-philosophy

      Some assume that online education is not a suitable medium for courses that rely on the Socratic Method. But the philosophy professors at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are skeptical.

      The Greensboro philosophy department, which already offers online versions of eight of its courses, has adapted two additional ones, including a “capstone” seminar, for the Web. Pending the approval of the university system’s general administration, the new courses would make it possible to earn an undergraduate philosophy degree from Greensboro without setting foot on its campus.

      That would make philosophy the first department at Greensboro’s undergraduate college to offer a fully online degree.

      That might strike some observers as odd, given philosophy’s reputation as a discipline that relies on classroom exchanges and whose pedagogical model has hardly changed since ancient Greece. But philosophy and technology are more closely linked than some might assume, says Gary Rosenkrantz, the chair of the department.

      “It’s not as ironic as it seems if you reflect on the fact that computers -- both hardware and software -- derive from logicians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” says Rosenkrantz. Threads of inquiry that use the “if-then” protocol of formal logic are the “foundation of both the computer chip and basic computer software functions,” he says.

      In fact, the structured reasoning of philosophy makes it perhaps more amenable to adaptation than some other humanities disciplines. To help teach the online versions, Wade Maki, a lecturer at Greensboro, developed a computer program based on the choose-your-own-adventure books of his youth. Called “Virtual Philosopher,” the program poses ethical dilemmas and presents multiple-choice questions. Once a student answers, the program -- which features text as well as video of Maki -- interrogates her answer before offering her the opportunity to either change or reaffirm it.

      By asking leading questions and restricting student answers, Virtual Philosopher seeks to give students some autonomy without letting them wander off-topic, says Maki. For a preformatted program, the similarity to a typical classroom exchange is remarkable, he says.

      “It’s this classic tennis back and forth, intellectually,” says Maki, who has co-authored a paper on using Virtual Philosopher to replicate the Socratic Method online. “And if you’ve been teaching for a while … it becomes quite natural to find that they can be easily structured to give a student a good replica of what happens in the classroom.”

      The online philosophy courses at Greensboro do not rely entirely on Maki’s Virtual Philosopher. The instructors also hold live video chats via Blackboard, where students can inquire about various ideas without having to color inside the lines, says Rosenkrantz.

      But with the proposed fully online philosophy track comes a new challenge: holding an upper-level seminar online. Whereas the lower- and mid-level courses had only to match the level of interaction that students could reasonably expect from a traditional class of 40 or 50 students, Rosenkrantz will now have to try to replicate a much smaller, discussion-intensive course when it puts one of the department’s capstone courses, “Philosophy 494: Substance and Attribute,” on to the Web. “That needs to have a significant element of synchronous interaction between a professor and students,” he says.

      Rosenkrantz, who is slated to teach the course if the online major gets approved, says he is planning to use Google+ Hangouts to hold live discussions. Instructors have for years resisted holding seminar discussions online because multiperson video chat platforms were viewed as unreliable. But, like some other institutions that are moving discussion-intensive pieces of their curriculums to the Web, the Greensboro oracles are seeing technological capabilities gaining on ambition in online education. “Certainly the technology is there to attempt it now,” says Rosenkrantz.

      Continued in article

       

    • Robert E Jensen

      "Southern Illinois University to Offer Online Accounting Degree," by Gail Perry, AccountingWeb, May 6, 2013 ---
      http://www.accountingweb.com/article/southern-illinois-university-offer-online-accounting-degree/221747?source=education

      A new program at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, IL allows off-campus students to complete an accounting degree completely online. SIU is the only Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International-accredited public institution in Illinois to offer the online undergraduate accounting degree, according to College of Business officials. Earning the top-tier AACSB accreditation places SIU's in the top one percent of the nation's accounting programs.

      Beginning in the fall of 2013, students can complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting exclusively with online classes. The online program is open to off-campus students who have completed the initial core coursework typically covered during the first two years of college.

      Jill Gebke, assistant dean for the College of Business, explained the reasoning behind the new program. "We identified a large transfer population, All of the community colleges are at least an hour away. They told us there's a demand for the accounting program. This was the most convenient way to serve the community college students."

      "The program innovation happening right now in the College of Business is very exciting. Our online accounting degree completion option is just another example of that innovation and our continuing growth. This degree allows students the flexibility to blend their studies with work and family commitments and it is equal in quality, value, and accreditation with our on-campus program," said Dennis Cradit, dean of the College of Business.

      "What we have learned from our online MBA and our online undergraduate business administration degrees, we have used in designing this online accounting degree. Our number one priority is to provide an exceptional learning experience and this program is a clear reflection of our commitment to that goal," Cradit added.

      Typically, the new online accounting degree completion program will take about 24 months to finish over a six-semester time span. However, it is possible to complete the program in a minimum of 18 months.

      The online accounting program incorporates approximately 60 hours of coursework covering core areas of the business curriculum. The program is divided into 10 "course pairings," with each including two 3-credit-hour courses.  Each course runs eight weeks, allowing students to focus on two classes at a time while still completing four courses each semester.

      The same faculty members teach both the online and on-campus classes. However, the online option allows students the opportunity to complete their bachelor's degree through a nationally ranked, accredited institution from anywhere in the world and at their convenience, according to Jill Gebke, assistant dean for the College of Business. And while the face-to-face classroom setting is ideal for learning, Gebke told AccountingWEB that there are many students whose circumstances prevent them from attending on-campus. 

      Continued in article

      "'U.S. News' Sizes Up Online-Degree Programs, Without Specifying Which Is No. 1," by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2012 ---
      http://chronicle.com/article/US-News-Sizes-Up/130274/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en
      Some, but not all, all of the online degree programs offer business and accounting degrees.

      Bob Jensen's threads about online education alternatives ---
      http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/CrossBorder.htm#Education