Fantasy Land

Discussions on the value or merit of unaccredited programs and institutions.

Fantasy Land

Postby Gus Sainz » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:59 pm

See if you can get through this without laughing.

In 2005, a renowned dinosaur expert and author of children's books, together with a self-proclaimed economic development expert with a PhD from a diploma mill, sells a community development agency in the sticks north of Houston on the idea of a $50 million dinosaur-themed amusement park. In a year, the idea is expanded to a half-billion-dollar, 500-acre, environmentally themed juggernaut called EarthQuest, which calls for things like a water park formed by a man-made retreating glacier; mountains; a volcano; a submarine excursion among gigantic scaly sea creatures with glowing eyes; roller coasters; a racetrack for corn-fuel-powered go-karts; and a place where kids can go to watch "hip" scientists fiddle about in a lab with giant tubes full of algae. The racetrack is framed with banners that say things like "Put the Corn in Cornering!" No, really.


Holbrook claimed to have a doctorate and MBA from LaSalle University, an online institution subsequently exposed as a diploma mill. While most LaSalle "students" simply wrote checks for their degrees, some poor saps actually thought they were writing term papers and theses for a legitimate university. Holbrook, who has said he wrote thousands of pages for LaSalle courses and spent years on his dissertation, appears to have fallen in the latter camp.


Fantasy Land
A green amusement park was supposed to bring prosperity to New Caney, but so far, only a few have profited. And it still exists only on paper.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Dexter Dexter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:21 pm

How is it a diploma mill degree if he wrote thousands of pages for it?
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby johann » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:38 pm

Dexter Dexter wrote:How is it a diploma mill degree if he wrote thousands of pages for it?

"some poor saps actually thought they were writing term papers and theses for a legitimate university"

Poor sap + bogus university = all work for nothing. LaSalle was justly infamous. All wrote checks - some wrote drivel. LaSalle cared about the checks - not the drivel. If you think it's a legit dissertation - cite its ProQuest reference! :mrgreen:

Johann

PS - Incidentally, the proprietor of La Salle was indicted for fraud and sentenced to 5 years in prison, in 1996. So much for the legitimacy.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Rich Douglas » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:58 pm

Dexter Dexter wrote:How is it a diploma mill degree if he wrote thousands of pages for it?


1. Just because he wrote a bunch doesn't prove a thing. What were the processes? What supervision did he receive? How was his work evaluated? If he wrote "thousands of pages," wouldn't he--at some point--wonder why he wasn't getting any feedback from anyone?

2. Just because he says he wrote thousands of pages doesn't make it so. In fact, given the diploma mill in question, it is simpler to conclude he did not unless there is evidence to the contrary.

3. An operation is a diploma mill because of its activities, not its customers'.

Or did you already know these things?
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby johann » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:45 am

Rich Douglas wrote:1. Just because he wrote a bunch doesn't prove a thing. What were the processes? What supervision did he receive? How was his work evaluated? If he wrote "thousands of pages," wouldn't he--at some point--wonder why he wasn't getting any feedback from anyone?

I'm totally with you on this, Dr. Rich -- as per my prev. posting. As a partial answer - in its heyday, LaSalle had:

Students: 15,000 approx.
Faculty: ONE

Yes - James "Captain" Kirk's less-than-stellar uh -- Enterprise was indeed a mill. He did 5 years for fraud.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Dexter Dexter » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:11 pm

Rich Douglas wrote:
Dexter Dexter wrote:How is it a diploma mill degree if he wrote thousands of pages for it?


1. Just because he wrote a bunch doesn't prove a thing. What were the processes? What supervision did he receive? How was his work evaluated? If he wrote "thousands of pages," wouldn't he--at some point--wonder why he wasn't getting any feedback from anyone?

2. Just because he says he wrote thousands of pages doesn't make it so. In fact, given the diploma mill in question, it is simpler to conclude he did not unless there is evidence to the contrary.

3. An operation is a diploma mill because of its activities, not its customers'.

Or did you already know these things?


You seem to forget that the federal definition of Diploma Mill is a school with "little or no coursework," not "a school without proper supervision" or "a school with underachieving instructors" or whatever you're rambling about.

If he did a lot of work for his degree then it is, by definition, not a diploma mill.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Dexter Dexter » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:21 pm

johann wrote:
Rich Douglas wrote:1. Just because he wrote a bunch doesn't prove a thing. What were the processes? What supervision did he receive? How was his work evaluated? If he wrote "thousands of pages," wouldn't he--at some point--wonder why he wasn't getting any feedback from anyone?

I'm totally with you on this, Dr. Rich -- as per my prev. posting. As a partial answer - in its heyday, LaSalle had:

Students: 15,000 approx.
Faculty: ONE

Yes - James "Captain" Kirk's less-than-stellar uh -- Enterprise was indeed a mill. He did 5 years for fraud.


I don't get what you're trying to argue here.

Perhaps you should contact the federal government and see about changing the legal definition of Diploma Mill to "a school with too many students to a single instructor." Because what you are suggesting is not in the definition of Diploma Mill at all.

LaSalle didn't provide classroom instruction. They had students read books and pass exams. So technically there were zero instructors. But I don't see how a lack of classroom instruction makes their academic program a scam.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Dexter Dexter » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:28 pm

The Higher Education Opportunity Act defines a diploma mill as follows:

DIPLOMA MILL- The term `diploma mill' means an entity that--

(A)(i) offers, for a fee, degrees, diplomas, or certificates, that may be used to represent to the general public that the individual possessing such an online degree, diploma, or certificate has completed a program of postsecondary education or training; and (ii) requires such individual to complete little or no education or coursework to obtain such degree, diploma, or certificate; and

(B) lacks accreditation by an accrediting agency or association that is recognized as an accrediting agency or association of institutions of higher education (as such term is defined in section 102) by--

(i) the Secretary pursuant to subpart 2 of part H of title IV; or (ii) a Federal agency, State government, or other organization or association that recognizes accrediting agencies or associations.


That's funny. I don't see anything about low quality instructors, too many students to one instructor, lack of supervision, etc.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby johann » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:39 pm

Dexter Dexter wrote:I don't get what you're trying to argue here.

Obviously. As usual. That's OK. Just one more time... Many, many times, LaSalle exchanged degrees for dollars - no work. That's a mill, per the definition you kindly provided. If some say they wrote reams, and even if one or two of them actually did, that doesn't alter things one bit. The authorities "beamed up" James "Captain" Kirk to jail before he could read it all, anyway. :D

DexterDexter wrote:Please try harder.

No, thanks. It's easier to ignore you. And now, I will....right after your Latin lesson:

Beluam non pascite - Don't feed the troll. :mrgreen:

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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Bill Huffman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:59 pm

Rich Douglas wrote:
Dexter Dexter wrote:How is it a diploma mill degree if he wrote thousands of pages for it?


1. Just because he wrote a bunch doesn't prove a thing. What were the processes? What supervision did he receive? How was his work evaluated? If he wrote "thousands of pages," wouldn't he--at some point--wonder why he wasn't getting any feedback from anyone?

2. Just because he says he wrote thousands of pages doesn't make it so. In fact, given the diploma mill in question, it is simpler to conclude he did not unless there is evidence to the contrary.

3. An operation is a diploma mill because of its activities, not its customers'.

Or did you already know these things?


Dexter Dexter is a troll.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby johann » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:04 pm

Bill Huffman wrote:Dexter Dexter is a troll.

Isn't that what I already said? A quote from my last post...

Beluam non pascite- don't feed the troll. :mrgreen:

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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Dexter Dexter » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:57 am

johann wrote:
Dexter Dexter wrote:I don't get what you're trying to argue here.

Obviously. As usual. That's OK. Just one more time... Many, many times, LaSalle exchanged degrees for dollars - no work. That's a mill, per the definition you kindly provided. If some say they wrote reams, and even if one or two of them actually did, that doesn't alter things one bit. The authorities "beamed up" James "Captain" Kirk to jail before he could read it all, anyway. :D

DexterDexter wrote:Please try harder.

No, thanks. It's easier to ignore you. And now, I will....right after your Latin lesson:

Beluam non pascite - Don't feed the troll. :mrgreen:

Johann


Clearly anyone who purchases their degree is getting a diploma mill degree. Clearly anyone who is reading books and writing thousands of pages for their degree is not. Are we clear?

The definition is little or no. It's not "because the school was shady in the past" or "the president of the institution did time for tax fraud". Those are definitions of your own imagination. The federal definition is indisputably "little or no education or coursework". The text is very understandable. Nothing about the quality of the instruction, appropriate supervision, or background of the faculty is included. Period.

Kindly stop.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:16 pm

I grew up in the Seattle area long before it was trendy and diverse...there were Asians, Native Americans, and lots and lots of what my (Danish) mother referred to as "Scandihoovians". We were told "troll" tales such as the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the like. (We also danced around a permanent Maypole but that's another story.) But I formed the impression that "trolls" are properly Nordic. (The word "troll" itself is good Swedish to my certain knowledge so I'd guess it also shows up in Norwegian, Icelandic, and maybe Danish. I don't think it's available in either German or Yiddish.) So tell me; does the Latin really translate? Or is it like "Bluetooth", a mere approximation?
Una cosa mala nunca muere.
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Dexter Dexter » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:58 pm

nosborne48 wrote:I grew up in the Seattle area long before it was trendy and diverse...there were Asians, Native Americans, and lots and lots of what my (Danish) mother referred to as "Scandihoovians". We were told "troll" tales such as the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the like. (We also danced around a permanent Maypole but that's another story.) But I formed the impression that "trolls" are properly Nordic. (The word "troll" itself is good Swedish to my certain knowledge so I'd guess it also shows up in Norwegian, Icelandic, and maybe Danish. I don't think it's available in either German or Yiddish.) So tell me; does the Latin really translate? Or is it like "Bluetooth", a mere approximation?


Please address the issue. The official federal and DOE definition for diploma mill is "little or no education or coursework," but you guys are trying to change the definition to a school with:

Lack of Supervision
Low quality instruction
History of the institution
Lack of qualified instructors
High number of students per instructor

So who's right, you guys or the Department of Education?
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Re: Fantasy Land

Postby Gus Sainz » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:51 pm

To parapharase Ron Burgundy in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Oh Dexter, you know we don’t speak millish.”

If, however, you want to use the Department of Education as the ultimate source in defining diploma mills, here it is:

What is a diploma mill?

The Higher Education Opportunity Act defines a diploma mill as follows:
DIPLOMA MILL- The term `diploma mill' means an entity that--
(A)(i) offers, for a fee, degrees, diplomas, or certificates, that may be used to represent to the general public that the individual possessing such a degree, diploma, or certificate has completed a program of postsecondary education or training; and (ii) requires such individual to complete little or no education or coursework to obtain such degree, diploma, or certificate; and
(B) lacks accreditation by an accrediting agency or association that is recognized as an accrediting agency or association of institutions of higher education (as such term is defined in section 102) by--
(i) the Secretary pursuant to subpart 2 of part H of title IV; or (ii) a Federal agency, State government, or other organization or association that recognizes accrediting agencies or associations.

The dictionary defines a diploma mill as:
An institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency and granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or because of the lack of proper standards worthless. – [i]Webster's Third New International Dictionary/i]


Diploma Mills and Accreditation - Diploma Mills

Higher Education Opportunity Act - 2008



LaSalle University fits the both the HEOA -2008 definition of a diploma mill (as per A and B above), and the dictionary definition.

I believe that the word whose meaning eludes you (and that you conveniently omitted in your comments) is "REQUIRES." Diploma mills don't REQUIRE a meaningful amount of education or coursework. Nothing, however, prevents some poor deluded sap from doing any amount of work over that required , either because he genuinely doesn't understand the true nature of the "institution" or because he wants to, somehow, assuage his guilt. No amount of work, from any single individual, will make a diploma mill a legitimate institution.

For those of us in the United States, the deadline has just passed for submitting our federal income tax returns. Most of us, I am sure, paid the IRS what they REQUIRED us to pay. Nothing prevented any of us from paying MORE than what was required. However, contributing more than what was required, no matter how much more, will NOT magically transform the IRS into a charitable institution.
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