World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby johann » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:46 pm

Hmph - just what we needed - something ELSE that's advertising-driven! "GoogleFace College!" And sponsored by any outfit that cares to pay money.

"Congratulations to Herb - at 75, he earned his B.A., thanks to Viagra...and Depends are helping Helen get her MBA! "

I checked out the site. Nice design - reminds me of my favourite mash-up, TuneGlue. However, the "faculty" button leads nowhere, so I'm left in the dark. One of the proposed course-streams is creative writing. Out of curiosity, I might have tried that out, if I didn't have such a dislike for the whole concept. After all, no public danger posed by an unaccredited writer! :)

Thumbs down. Not even for free!

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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby johann » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:09 pm

BTW- Social networking sites have had serious gaffes with this type of advertising. They've sometimes been known to use a subscriber's picture in an ad. without his/her knowledge or consent. In the worst cases, there have been ads, not unlike "Morty H. just LOVES Super-Colon-Clean." And then his family sues, as Morty H. passed away six months ago.

Nah -- no time for this, ever!

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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby SteveFoerster » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:51 am

I had a very similar idea a while back, to try to set up an tuition-free online university that made money from ads. I'll admit the WEU guys are being a little more creative about finding sponsorship than I was, but the research I did suggested that it would be very difficult to set it up both to be financially sustainable and to pass the straight face test when it comes to academic quality.

One example: if they really open it up to anyone, I expect they'll be flooded primarily with students from low income countries, ones that many advertisers will have no interest in paying to reach, much less directly sponsor.

The people writing in the comments section of the Chronicle article can't figure out where this thing would be located, but since the site refers to being in the U.S. and tsince both founders are in Southern California (one is Mayor of Rancho Mirage), I think the Golden State is a safe bet. Doubly so since their domain name irs registered:

World Education University
75-900 Bob Hope Dr.
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

So the next question is whether they can get a license there (now that there is such a thing) and if so whether DETC or WASC would touch it with a ten foot pole. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it will be very challenging.
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby Jonathan Whatley » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:22 am

From their Degrees & Programs page:

World Education University wrote:World Education University is in the process of preparing the necessary materials to apply for licensing and accreditation. Upon licensing, WEU expects to be able to offer credentialed diplomas in a variety of industries, Associate Degrees, Bachelor Degrees, Master Degrees, and Ph.Ds. No matter what stage of life you are in, no matter what your area of interest; WEU is building it for you. […]

WEU is building a variety of online vocational training programs, enrichment classes and corporate training programs to help you learn virtually anything you want to learn. […]

Upon the initial launch of our University, we expect to offer courses in the following subject areas

Art History
Biology
Business Administration
Business Technical Sales
Chemistry
Computer Science
Creative Writing
Criminal Justice
Economics
English Literature
Fine Arts
General Education
Health Services Management
History
Legal Nurse Consultant
Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering
Medical Billing
Medical Billing & Coding
Medical Coding
Medical Records Specialist
Medical Transcription
Medical Transcription & Coding
Paralegal Studies
Pharmacy Technician
Political Science
Psychology
Theology


I see a distinct lack of focus here. …Except on titles related to medical records, where the focus is almost obsessional.

So far they seem to have mashed up a doctoral liberal arts university, a vocational school, and Zombo.com.
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby SteveFoerster » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:12 pm

Theology? Like... whose?
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby Hungry Ghost » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:48 pm

SteveFoerster wrote:The people writing in the comments section of the Chronicle article can't figure out where this thing would be located, but since the site refers to being in the U.S. and tsince both founders are in Southern California (one is Mayor of Rancho Mirage), I think the Golden State is a safe bet. Doubly so since their domain name irs registered:

World Education University
75-900 Bob Hope Dr.
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

So the next question is whether they can get a license there (now that there is such a thing)


The BPPE's approved-institutions search page has no record for 'World Education University'.

https://app.dca.ca.gov/bppe/default.asp

and if so whether DETC or WASC would touch it with a ten foot pole. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it will be very challenging.


I don't really know what DETC looks at, but WASC is always very concerned with applicant schools' financial sustainability. If this thing ever applies to WASC, the accreditor will be looking extremely closely at its non-traditional financial model. WASC will almost certainly want to see some convincing evidence that it's going to succeed. That in turn suggests that it will have to have been successfully running in some preliminary state-approved form for several years, before WASC is even likely to accept an application from it.

One example: if they really open it up to anyone, I expect they'll be flooded primarily with students from low income countries, ones that many advertisers will have no interest in paying to reach, much less directly sponsor.


The students that advertisers will most want to reach are highly-selected Stanford-style students, from wealthy homes and in-line for powerful and high-paying careers. And advertisers aren't going to want access to just a few thousand of them either, they are going to want volume. Of course, there's also the fact that many advertisers already advertise in magazines and other media that have relatively small but targeted circulations. But can you fund an entire university with those kind of revenues?

This isn't a totally ridiculous concept. These people obviously hope to create an educational analogue of Google, a website that attracts endless millions of upwardly-mobile people from all around the world. If they can provide advertisers with access to that population, a significant percentage of new entrants into the world's rising middle class, particularly in the newly industrializing countries, it might have a great deal of viability.

But it's going to be a mixed message. It will have to be desirable enough to attract a flood of eyes to its pages. (Affordable American Higher Education for All !) But that flood of eyes threatens to make it into a mass-market product. (Higher education is supposed to set graduates apart from their peers and give them a competitive edge.) Maybe this thing can offer free open-admissions programs that are difficult to ultimately graduate from. But if they have too many people dropping out and no longer visiting their site, they will be losing the eyes that the advertisers are paying to reach. But if everyone ends up doing it, doing it will lose its desirability as a stepping stone to elite status.
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby Hungry Ghost » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:14 pm

Jonathan Whatley wrote:From their Degrees & Programs page:

World Education University wrote:World Education University is in the process of preparing the necessary materials to apply for licensing and accreditation. Upon licensing, WEU expects to be able to offer credentialed diplomas in a variety of industries, Associate Degrees, Bachelor Degrees, Master Degrees, and Ph.Ds. No matter what stage of life you are in, no matter what your area of interest; WEU is building it for you. […]


I see a distinct lack of focus here. …Except on titles related to medical records, where the focus is almost obsessional.


Jonathan's right.

World Education University apparently wants to charge right out of the gate as an online Berkeley, offering doctoral level programs in every academic subject there is. But that's not even close to being realistic.

It probably wouldn't even be legal, at least if this thing is based in California. The BPPE approves schools to offer particular programs, and each of those programs has to be specifically approved. I can't imagine the BPPE approving this thing to offer all that it's promising.

And obviously, there's no way that accreditors like WASC would accredit something like that.

It would be more realistic for a new school like WEU to offer an assortment of continuing education and avocational-interest courses, and maybe certificate or degree programs in a small number of coherently related subjects. Like medical records, perhaps. But if they dial-back their promised offerings dramatically enough that their plans actually become do-able, the site-visitors that they will be able to offer to their advertisers will be far more modest too. The whole financing model threatens to implode.
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby shanson » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:56 pm

The 2013 website and course catalog for World Education University (WEU) is up and ready for you to visit. Courses begin soon. Check it out before passing judgement for a free college degree or college course now.

WEU World Education University | World Education University
www.theweu.com
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby Rich Douglas » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:51 pm

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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby Rich Douglas » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:09 pm

They claim to be exempt from California Private Post Secondary Act of 2009. The exemptions available are here: http://www.bppe.ca.gov/lawsregs/ppe_act.shtml#94874. I don't know under what circumstances they would qualify for an exemption.

I can't find anything on it, except for their own stuff from them and then repeated in the internet echo chamber. But according to this article, the degrees come from Excelsior; WEU prepares students to take exams: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innov ... ation.html.

If this is true, and WEU doesn't award degrees themselves, then they would qualify as exempt. It's hard to tell.
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby Jonathan Whatley » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:27 pm

Rich Douglas wrote:But according to this article, the degrees come from Excelsior; WEU prepares students to take exams: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innov ... ation.html.

If this is true, and WEU doesn't award degrees themselves, then they would qualify as exempt. It's hard to tell.


WEU's site currently lists a big stack of degree, diploma, and certificate programs, almost none of which Excelsior College offers. WEU lists eleven master's degrees, including in Psychology and in Environmental Engineering. The only overlapping degree titles, that WEU lists and Excelsior also offers, seem to be an MS in Criminal Justice and an MBA. And I don't believe Excelsior takes exams for credit at the master's level.

The writers of the Education Week blog post, posted December 7, seem to have been told something quite different from what WEU currently puts forward on its website.
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby johann » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:07 pm

I was reading something about this school on another site and I knew it had been under discussion here before. They seem to have re-engineered the website with a very fashionable "Windows 8" type of appearance to it. Don't worry - it "works" on anything. :) Extremely good appearance and 99% of it works correctly. The 1% that doesn't is OK - can be reached by alternate means. The site looks very tablet /phone friendly, as is the current trend.

I read the catalogue and the site also said the school is preparing to apply for accreditation - with a proper disclaimer, no guarantees, etc. Well, that might be a disappointment to those who saw this school as a huge nail in the coffin of the "Accreditation Cartel." :)

Except for the advertising component, this school reminds me a bit of "University of the People," heralded by those same folks as yet another nail in the same coffin. Both universities have a "social entrepreneurship" and "pay it forward" approach. I know UoTP started out well-financed; the originator sold his company. I have no real idea of the backgrounds of the two principals behind WEU.

Any further thoughts on whether the schools will "fly" in the long term or become accredited? They're here:

http://www.theweu.com http://www.uopeople.org/ Certainly, WEU wins the web-design contest, far and away! :)

Johann

BTW - As I've said before, I'm not against unaccredited schools. Never was. However, as Dr. Bear has said, with any degree, you have to make sure it will serve your present needs and any future needs that can be anticipated. Best advice I've read on the subject, ever!

I think it's great that these two schools eliminate the danger of wasting money, if the degree turns out not to serve one's needs. However, another danger is still worth noting:

Whatever one says about these two "free" schools, they do NOT appear to be degree mills. I'm thinking a student would have to put in many, many hours of academic effort to earn a degree at either. If the degree were subsequently found not to be acceptable in a particular case, thousands of hours fruitlessly expended might sting worse than thousands of dollars wasted at another school. After all, money can be replaced. One can go to work and earn it back -- lesson learned. Those hours, however, cannot be replaced. They're gone from one's life-span. :sad:

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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby SteveFoerster » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:06 am

Ugh, I hate WEU's site. It's all slidey stock photos and guesswork to find the information you want.

But digging around I see that they still say: "WEU is authorized to operate as a degree granting institution of higher education and is exempt from the California Private Post-Secondary Act of 2009." I'm with Rich -- I don't see how this could be true.

Now, article 4(f) of that legislation exempts "An institution that does not award degrees and that solely provides educational programs for total charges of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or less when no part of the total charges is paid from state or federal student financial aid programs." An early draft of the act said: "An institution that solely provides educational programs for total charges of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or less", and WEU would have qualified for that, but it was reworded to the present version before passage.

Anyway, they also still say that "WEU is preparing the necessary materials to apply for accreditation. At this time no assurance can be given as to when, or if accreditation might be granted." Without state approval, this seems... unlikely.

So I dont' know about it being a degree mill, but there's definitely something important that they're not saying, and that's bad enough for me.
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Re: World Education University: Advertiser-Driven Model

Postby johann » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:51 am

SteveFoerster wrote:Ugh, I hate WEU's site. It's all slidey stock photos and guesswork to find the information you want.

I don't like WIndows 8 (yet), but I don't hate the website for its "lookalike" attempt. What's there is there -- I found no guesswork needed. Then again, I have zero right to criticize - I don't have any technology degrees - just a couple of college certs, earned back in the Dark Ages of personal computing. :)

Different strokes, I guess. As far as web-appearance goes, UoTP, the other site mentioned, couldn't have won any prizes back in 1993!

Good point (re-iterated) re: their stated California exemption. Maybe tomorrow I'll e-mail and ask them. If they reply (now that would be unusual, in my experience) -- I'll share.

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And then there's University of the People

Postby SteveFoerster » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:23 am

Really? I University of the People's web site is better than WEU's. There's still the annoying reliance on stock photos, but at least it seems clear to me what to do. (But I think this is a matter where personal preference is important, despite what some say about designs being "good" or "bad".)

Anyway, what gets me is that they say: "University of the People (UoPeople) is the world's first non-profit, degree-granting, tuition- free online university dedicated to opening the gates to higher education for all individuals otherwise constrained." Yes, it's tuition-free, but that doesn't mean all free. There's a $100 fee to take the exam at the end of each course, so for a Bachelor's degree that takes forty courses, that's $4000. That little detail is missing from their heartwarming video.

Not that I'm knocking them: they have a revenue stream, they get mountains of media attention, and they even get people donating money to them. Well played!
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