Western Governors University Reviews
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I obtained a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Elementary Education through WGU, and went back three years later to work on an M.S. in Educational Leadership. I will finish that program in the next few weeks, and consequently feel qualified to offer useful opinions at this point. As with any school, there are pros and cons. On the pro side of things, this school is competitively priced compared to other online universities of similar caliber. Also, since it is competency-based, there are ample opportunities to accelerate progress. I finished my Bachelor's in two years, and my Master's in nine months. With the "flat fee" tuition, I saved a bundle by working quickly. As many other students have said, you really do get out of it what you put in. Also, I did transfer to a brick and mortar school for a time to pursue a Master's in Special Education, and had absolutely no problem transferring my B.A. from WGU for full credit. As for the Cons...first and foremost, as many people have already pointed out, there is absolutely no direct instruction involved in most WGU programs...you really do have to rely on your own motivation and resources to get the work done. Also, I do agree that there is far too much "busy work". In my first six month semester this time around, I completed 30 credits, which involved 60+ essays, many of which were REDUNDANT. Once all of those pointless papers were written, I took an easy (and poorly written exam) and was cleared to begin practicum (student teaching for Principals). When I began practicum, I was told I would have to complete another nine essays while I was simultaneously trying to gain authentic experience in the school setting and writing a Capstone, which is essentially a thesis. Also, my supervisor on site (the principal) was never once contacted to be advised on her role and responsibilities in my practicum experience. It was up to her and I to "decode" what I needed to accomplish based on the eronious assignments in that domain. I was quite used to the decoding by this time, as it was often necessary when completing other assignments. Taskstream grading was a joke. I understand the idea of using rubrics to grade, but I felt they completely stifled my creativity as a writer; that the papers were practically written for me provided the rubric was followed (and it absolutely has to be or the papers do not pass, even if brilliantly written). The mentors are "hit and miss", far as I can tell. I had a wonderful mentor during my undergraduate program, but was assigned to a terrible person for my Master's. He routinely sent out official communication with gross grammatical errors, never offered any real assistance in the rare event I required it, and was not quick to respond when deadlines were looming and critical. For instance, I have one chapter to be approved for my final assignment in this program, and it has been sitting in his inbox for three days because he is dealing with "personal issues"...can someone else who isn't on vacation please expedite my progress? Furthermore, his own Master's degree is not in the same field I work in (He has an MBA, I am an Educator), which I understand is somewhat typical and I believe inappropriate. My "course mentor" (virtual professor) was pompous, rude, and never once helpful. I don't know why they even bother paying him. He wrote a terrible syllabus, and chimed in on message boards every once in awhile to berate the few students who bothered to participate in that forum. Lastly, I feel their "materials" are virtually useless. The library is difficult to access and use, and the online resources are barely relevant. Mostly students are left to rely on textbooks they are urged to purchase. I am now the sad owner of twenty textbooks on Educational Administration that I have barely used. I don't make a habit of parting with textbooks to sell them back, but I'm seriously considering it with this particular batch. The work is only moderately difficult, but the more serious issue is that it is tedious, and there is a LOT of it. This school is only for the honest "self starters" out there who require little or no interaction with instructors and other students. That being said, I would still go through my programs again, since I was able to finish so quickly at such a low cost and have been able to use my degrees to obtain decent positions in my field. Weigh the pros and cons carefully and decide what is most important to you as a learner. This format is not for everyone.