Several weeks ago, I finished my first quarter as a graduate student. One 3 credit hour required course (graduate research and writing), but a milestone nonetheless. I give the experience thumbs up in some areas and thumbs down in others. On the up side, I was very impressed with the technology in place for distance learning and my standards are high in this area. Last I looked was close to 3 years ago. The technology seemed a bit fragile and the process a bit sparse at the universities I reviewed. I can speak for Denver University’s program: It is excellent from a technology and process perspective. Rolled in with the good news is that I’m a straight “A” student! Hey, might as well celebrate while I can.
On the down side, university bureaucracy is festering as much as ever. A few weeks into the the course, the professor had some sort of personal crisis. None of us on-line students knew this. All we knew is that she disappeared from the discussion boards and didn’t return emails for over 10 days. She showed up for a brief flurry of board participation and quick answers to emails and disappeared for another 10+ day stretch. This stuff happens. I mostly fault DU for not having a backup plan in place for occurrences like this. They should have had a substitute in place to help keep the course on track. Since they didn’t, time lines in the syllabus were tangled and confused and it was very difficult to discern what the assignments were. Few of us hand any kind of a grade until the final grade. If this had been a brick and mortar classroom, no doubt there would have been provisions for backup instructor support in the case of absence of the primary instructor. As a result, I feel I paid over $1,000 to do what I’ve done all my life – teach myself. Why not pay myself this money? Well, that’s the obscene part. Its a paper chase. Maybe DU will let me just write them a check for $20,000 and they can just send me a degree? I’m still thinking about what recourse I may have. Seems to me a discount or partial refund is in order.
Ah, well, such are the vagaries of life on the wheel to higher irrelevance. I turned in my paper (The Adverse Effects of Private Governance on Community Health) and the next day was on a jet headed for an island in the South Pacific. Sweet release.
Posted by GPE @ 7:55 am Comments are off for this post