Sunday, January 14, 2007

Higher Education

I am 2 courses away from my MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix Online. I have that feeling when you see the finish line in race. It is a good feeling of accomplishment. You might have been thinking of getting a degree on line, but all the ads and scandals about online schools make it seem like a scam. I was skeptical at first but a co-worker was enrolled in the program so I was able to see for myself what they had to offer. They have an extensive MBA program with specific concentrations such as technology management. It has taken me about 2 years, but it would have only taken about a year if I hadn’t taken some breaks. In case you’re wondering how it works here is a brief explanation. The courses are 6 weeks in length (5 weeks for undergraduate courses) spanning year round. You can have class through the summer and holidays (the school does close for a week or two during Christmas). Course work and participation is run through a forum like site. Grading is based on papers, group work, and class participation. Class participation consists of discussing topics that the instructor of the course determines. I have had a few final exams which were multiple choice based on course material. The course materials can be purchased in printed form or can be downloaded in pdf format. One aspect of the program that I found interesting and helpful is the Adobe Flash based simulations. These workshops simulate situations that are found in organizations where you usually role play as the manager in the organization and the decisions you make effect the organization positively or negatively. Most traditional MBA programs require that you intern at a participating organization to learn how the concepts you learn in the course apply in real world situations. The University of Phoenix does not have this requirement but they do require that you are employed so you can apply the concepts at your own organization. There are quite a number of military people that are enrolled, some of which are in the Middle East. An online program like this is sometimes the only option working people have with busy schedules. But the online craze has caught on to more and more local Universities. If you are thinking about enrolling in an online program, check out your local Universities first to see if they have an online or “distance learning” option. If you do go with University of Phoenix, it is a reputable school and a well known for its online program so you won’t get a strange look at a job interview. As for what I will do with the MBA, I’m not sure yet. My goal is to run my own business, we will see what will come of it. Next up, PhD?

No comments: