Friday, June 01, 2007

Scissor me, Xerxes!

With that strangely inapropos exclamation, I’m proud to announce that my graduate studies are now 30% complete. Three courses down with 7 to go. By this time next year I’ll be finished, hopefully with my current 4.0 GPA intact.

My impressions of the quality of my University of Phoenix education so far? Well, it’s no Ivy League school, that’s for sure. The first two courses were beyond bird; however, the last one did involve some real effort, which was nice for a change. That said, I wouldn’t characterize UOP as a degree mill, as some traditional brick & mortar college snobs have done. I’d rank UOP on par with a third tier graduate school. The education may not be the best around, but it’s not entirely worthless either.

My biggest complaint about UOP is that it does a terrible job of screening its graduate applicants. In fact, the screening is virtually non-existent; basically, if you possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, you’re in. Of course, one may presume that someone with such educational credentials would have a solid understanding of the rudimentary principles of written English, but they would be so very, very wrong. My classmates, with whom I must collaborate on team assignments to satisfy 30% to 40% of my grade, are mostly functionally illiterate. In a typical online class of 15 students, I’d say 3 have a good command of English and 5 are able to string together a sentence on occasion. Of the remaining 7, I’d be hard pressed to say English is their first language. Their work is usually meandering and convoluted, not to mention riddled with grammatical errors that even a 6 year old with dyslexia could spot at a glance.

I wish the school would encourage their instructors to be more proactive in reining in students who insist on dumbing down the whole class. Seriously, when you see someone in a Business Systems class go on a bizarre, unprovoked rant about the evils of Walmart, replete with poetry about sunshine and pretty flowers, you know you have a problem on your hands. Although such incidents have been rare, they are disconcerting nonetheless. I hope my instructors going forward will bitch-slap these ‘tards.