Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer viewing

So, apparently, someone called "Frontline" made a documentary on how for-profit online colleges are ass-raping us all. Sounds intriguing, no?

There's an appropriately bitchy review on Pajiba, which assumes no one watched it when it aired on PBS, in May, when we were all busy marking finals. It also informs us colonials not in USistan that you can get the movie on something called "Netflix instant", which sounds awesome, if only it existed in my armpit of the Empire.

Any Diploma-millers among our frequent followers?


  1. We began talking about this phenomenon a few weeks back when Illinois Senator Dick Durbin presented his plan for monitoring and regulating for-profit colleges. Such diploma mills use up 25% of the available federal aid to students, but only churn out 10% of college students and very few of those students are able to use their new degrees for anything meaningful. I'm glad PBS' show Frontline addressed this. It's a great show but does not get nearly enough press.

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  3. Yes, I work for an online diploma mill. I have worked there since December 2008. I am quitting in 3 weeks. Oh, the things I could tell you.

  4. Oh, do tell!!! It's like hearing about your cousin's semi-legal dealings.... super-entertaining (in a slightly scary way).

  5. Well. Ahem.

    - I don't write the assignments. They are written by a team of people who do not have degrees in my field. They are often riddled with grammatical/spelling/logic errors such that my students don't understand them and then slam me on course evaluations for being "unclear."

    - Student evaluations are called "customer satisfaction surveys." I am not kidding.

    - All student assignments are run though, and if an assignment has a score above a certain threshold, I am required to turn the matter over to an office full of people with B.A. degrees in Marketing, at best. Even if/when students blatantly plagiarize, even when they copy directly from other students, they are coddled into "doing better" and "citing their sources" and are not disciplined in any way.

    - Related to the above, if a student somehow fails my class, if the failing grade that they earned and I posted is not changed after the fact (which has happened more than I probably realize), they are automatically re-enrolled in the class for the next session, without advisement. So a student might take (and pay for) a course 4-5 times before passing it successfully. Which the college love love loves because they are paying $265 per credit hour and most classes are 4 credit hours.

    - Most of my students are adults, meaning they are twice my age. They are also not skilled at writing in complete sentences, using a library, or operating a computer. Ironic, as the school is entirely online, no?

    - Despite the fact that I can be penalized monetarily for failing to respond to a student sends me within 36 hours, it took me two weeks and five emails to three different people to get my direct deposit information updated.

    I finally got my degree finished and am starting a full time T/T job in a few weeks at a private college. Glory be.

  6. As I posted on the original Durbin thread, PLEASE let's keep an eye on the reality that not EVERY online (or for-profit) university is a diploma mill.

    I am both graduate of and faculty for reputable online programs.

    I also have experience with a campus-based and an (accredited) online program which were much as student/teacher described.


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