Western Governors University Reviews
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"Be fair when analyzing an educational process"
Hi. I've read a number of positive and negative reviews about WGU on this website. I think it's essential that we be fair when comparing educational models that really are apples to oranges. My background: I graduated from a magnet high school in 1995 with grades in the top 15% of my class. There I took the only five AP courses my school offered at the time. I attended a number of colleges after graduation from high school including Jefferson State Community College (Birmingham, AL) and Berea College (Berea, KY). Each college used a brick's and morter teaching platform complete with professors and campus. I had a great experience at the community college particularily in English and Mathematics. Much earlier, I had had the opportunity to attend Berea College living on campus. That was a great experience for me as well. I learned very little actual acaemic work besides Physics and Calculus (I skipped to Junior level physics and to Calculus II, due to my familiarity with both subjects). I learned an aweful lot about my self and my friends. I had a wonderful time living in the dorms, getting up early in the morning and serving breakfast to my fellow students. I really enjoyed the feeling of becoming a part of society and making my mark. I became somewhat well known for an intellectual approach to debating religous theory (Berea was after all a non-denominational Christian college). With all that said, I gained some credits, a lot of self-knowledge, and quite a good social start but no degree. My religous beliefs prompted me to leave full-time school to preach the good news to people throughout the nation and one thing after another I went to work and tried the take two classes each semester while working full-time thing at Jeff State but I just wasn't making much headway. I never quit trying to finish my degree but ended up spending most of my energies towards survival. By the time I discovered non-traditional distance learning, I had almost 100 semester hours of college credits but no degree. I first started with Ashworth College (now known as Ashworth University), a DETC accredited distance learning university. At that time they specialized in teaching Associate level courses and so transferring what I could, I soon earned an Associates Degree. The method of learning and teaching was a good introduction to what I wanted to see from then on. I got the opportunity to learn where and when I chose to. I got the opportunity to learn as much or as little as I wanted so long as I met the minimum standards that Ashworth had. I kind of thought that Ashworth was too easy until several years later when I taught at another non-traditional college outside of Baltimore. I learned then that Associates level work is really an extension of high school work and that my students didn't want to be writing thesis' on every topic that they were learning (I loved to write and so made the mistake of pushing my students that way as well). Anyway, after finishing my associates degree I then found WGU and later Dakota State University (my doctoral program, currently enrolled). The learning model was similar to Ashworth College in that it was primarily correspondence work. Where it differed substantially from both Ashworth College and the other standard traditional education I've experienced was found in the application of a mentor relationship and most critically in the fact that the selection of potential study materials was entirely up to me. I could choose to learn via video using the Thompson Learning system or via PowerPoint using a Blackboard system. I could choose books or I could go to the vitual library and study. Isn't that cool? I guided my research. I guided my studies with the help of a mentor. I passed. This learning model does several things: 1. I learned independant research and study. 2. I learned to plan my study time and my study process. 3. I learned to listen to good advice from smart and qualified mentors. 4. I learned when to ignore advice from these same smart and qualified mentors. 5. I learned how to develop my own learning process. I think that there couldn't have been anything more timely or more useful in my learning than WGU. I think that for these and other reasons, non-traditional independant education should be the model of preference for the entire world as a whole. Sincerely, Jacob M. Metro