FREE: World Education University
#1
Price is right, but there is a catch. You must promise to do good work with your educaton. But you were going to do that anyway, right?

Quote:March 11th, 2013
World Education University aims to create an ‘army of humanitarians’
By Sarah Langmead, Assistant Editor, @eCN_Sarah


Long before Scott Hines dreamed up the World Education University, he was a young foster kid growing up in Western Colorado who believed that college was out of his reach. That all changed when he was accepted into the Air Force Academy.

“I was very lucky I got in,” he said. “It’s a completely free, high-caliber education. You pay back your education through service to your country. It set me on a whole other path.”

Hines earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees while serving more than 10 years of active duty. Yet, as he continued to accumulate higher education honors, he never forgot where he came from.

“It has been a lifelong goal for me to pay it back and inspire other kids like me to reach for the stars,” he said.

In 2010, Hines was elected Mayor of Rancho Mirage, Calif., and he founded World Education University (WEU), a completely free online university where he serves as president and chief operating officer, alongside Curtis Pickering, who serves as CEO.

WEU is unlike most other online universities in that it focuses primarily on training its students to become “an army of humanitarians,” according to Hines.
“Right up front, we require [that students] agree to an ‘I will give back’ pledge,” he said. “It’s very short, simple, and broad, and says you’ll take this gift of free education and agree to do good work with it.”

Hines said that this “pay it forward” mission is ingrained into every course of study.

“We’re pragmatists,” he said. “We really believe that the vast majority [of students] will find a way to pass on the inspiration of WEU and make the people around them better as a result of becoming an educated person.”



WEU was in development for approximately two years before officially opening its virtual doors to students on Feb. 1. Currently, 20 courses are live—and Hines predicts that another 260 courses will be made live by the end of June. WEU has contracted with 130 course developers to write the courses that are taught mostly by adjunct professors, many of whom are “disenchanted with the state of higher education,” according to Hines.

“[Professors] find us—it has been a real phenomenon,” he said. “We have a job board posting that we do on our website, but it’s really through word of mouth and the handful of articles that have been written. Our secret sauce is this amazing mission of WEU—people are drawn to the transformative potential of what WEU can do for the world.”

Hines believes that in the future, traditional brick-and-mortar schools will become to higher education what boarding schools are to K-12 today. He said that many of the world’s most respected schools are elitist and unjustly pride themselves on their exclusivity. “It’s almost like it’s a badge of honor to report how many students you turn away,” he said. But are these universities ignoring perhaps the most obvious problem that comes along with rejecting thousands of students every year? Hines thinks so.

“They’re really not interested in democratizing education,” he said. “Less than 5 percent of the world’s population attends college—[we need to] open up education to the people who most need it in the world. Technology, for the first time in the world’s history, has allowed us to do that. I really stand up and defend the fact that online education is a tool that makes a difference in the vast majority of people’s lives.”

The university is run primarily through revenue from advertisers and through several restricted, proprietary business contracts. Outside of offering various bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, WEU has developed a sexual harassment certificate that covers 95 percent of the information in most companies’ policy manuals. Through these contracts, a company’s employees can take a comprehensive, non-credit online course to gain sexual harassment training certification.

Hines said these contracts are a win-win for both employers and employees. So far, he has observed that many employees come to WEU to take the sexual harassment course and decide to stay and pursue a free higher-ed degree.

WEU is aggressively pursuing regional and national accreditation but is already legally authorized to award degrees. Hines said that a team of Ph.D.s examine WEU’s courses before they go live to ensure proper rigor and credit-worthiness. Students are permitted to complete courses at their own pace, and even finish college degrees that they started at other universities.

WEU primarily promotes andragogy, or learning strategies focused on adults as opposed to more traditional pedagogical tactics, because 60 percent of its student body is older than 30.

“The students are our clients, and our second priority is employers,” said Hines. WEU works closely with career professionals to prepare students for the modern workforce.

Hines said WEU believes the best way to assess students’ concerns and promote successful learning outcomes is to remain in constant communication with them.

“We will be rolling out, by the end of March, a full suite of interactive communications software to be embedded in the systems,” he said. Promoting communication between students is also imperative.

“Peer-to-peer learning is very important,” he said. “This is often a difficult [concept] for higher ed to understand. In our model of supportive independent study, faculty becomes facilitators.”
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#2
What's not to like about this?

They claim they are authorized to operate as a degree granting institution but don't state by whom. They claim exemption from the CPPSA, but don't state the basis for the exemption:

Quote: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.
http://www.theweu.com/about-weu/

Possibly section (a), which provides: "An institution that offers solely avocational or recreational educational programs." None of the others seem applicable.

Section (f) provides: "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...."

Obviously free is less than $2,500, but they do award degrees.

Quote:Degrees & Programs

■Associate Degree in Hospitality, Retail and Tourism Management
■Associate of Arts in Digital Media
■Certificate in Motion Graphics
■Diploma in Criminal Justice
■Diploma in Medical Billing
■Diploma in Medical Coding
■Diploma in Paralegal Studies
■Graduate Certificate in Art Therapy
■Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution and Arbitration Process
■Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution and Mediation
■Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution in the Workplace
■Graduate Certificate in Educational Psychology
■Graduate Certificate in Environmental Engineering
■Graduate Certificate in Hospitality, Retail and Tourism Management
■Graduate Certificate in Information Systems
■Graduate Certificate in International Business
■Graduate Certificate in Neuropsychology
■Graduate Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship
■Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering
■Master of Arts in Management
■Master of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship
■Master of Business Administration
■Master of Dispute Resolution
■Master of Education in Instructional Mathematics K-8
■Master of Science in Criminal Justice
■Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
■Master of Science in Expressive Art Therapies
■Master of Science in Information Systems
■Master of Science in Psychology
■Master of Science in Systems Engineering
http://www.theweu.com/degrees-programs/

This article states the degrees are granted through exams at Excelsior, but there seems to be little correlation with the degrees stated to be available at Excelsior:

Quote:The university operates as a degree-granting university through third-party evaluations and exams at Excelsior College in Albany, New York that range from $40 to $400.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innova...ation.html

Seems like "free" may not be entirely accurate, as there might be a charge for the exams even if not for the tuition. Still, a very good deal--if it's a legit program. Any education junkies want to sign up and let us know how this thing works in real life?
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#3
(03-14-2013, 02:05 AM)Albert Hidel Wrote: What's not to like about this?

Scott Hines, WEU COO = $3 bill

Although in California that's probably a big plus for somebody trying to keep predatory regulatory agencies at bay.



I was kind of expecting the diners to do a mass spit take when he made his big "I'm gay!" announcement. But apparently this was a meeting of the Old Homos Lunch Club. "Make that protheth a thmooooth one...." Rolleyes
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#4
(03-14-2013, 04:08 AM)WilliamW Wrote: Scott Hines, WEU COO = $3 bill

Nice catch, WmW. An interesting dichotomy. On one hand it's hard to beat "free," even with fees for exams. On the other, if it's not accredited you really are relying on the ability of the admin to establish and maintain any sort of credibility.

And in this case, the Chief Operations Officer is an admitted sexual deviant and a self-described "liar." So much for credibility. Although those qualities undoubtedly serve him well as a politician.

(03-14-2013, 04:08 AM)WilliamW Wrote: Although in California that's probably a big plus for somebody trying to keep predatory regulatory agencies at bay.

Or a self-appointed degree mill "expert," or degreeinfo moderator.
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#5
(03-14-2013, 02:05 AM)Albert Hidel Wrote: Seems like "free" may not be entirely accurate, as there might be a charge for the exams even if not for the tuition. Still, a very good deal--if it's a legit program. Any education junkies want to sign up and let us know how this thing works in real life?

As a forewarning, I'm not an official representative of WEU, but I've been working as a contractor for them since December. I'd encourage anyone to contact WEU if they have questions, since that would be a more reliable source, but I'd like to share some of what I know about the school anyway. I have a background in education and educational technology, and they approached me to help them out, particularly with the learning management system.

WEU has been awarded degree-granting status in the state of California. The exams are not admitted [solely] through Excelsior. WEU formed a partnership with Excelsior, and students can optionally take these exams to earn college credit from an accredited institution. These would be roughly equivalent to CLEP tests in other colleges. WEU also has its own courses with its own faculty and its own exams, and these are completely free.

Since WEU just barely launched, it does not have national or regional accreditation status yet, but they are aggressively pursuing and working on fulfilling the requirements. I'm confident it's just a matter of time before this happens.

I agree, the accreditation status may be something of an impediment until it's resolved, but this isn't always true. In the U.S., for certain disciplines, yes, accreditation is a big deal. In other countries, especially developing countries, it's not. It's been overwhelming the feedback we've received from people in places like Thailand or Saudi Arabia or Malaysia, grateful for the opportunity to learn and finally have a chance to work on a degree. As far as they're concerned, a degree from an American university, regardless of its status, proves you're educated, and that you speak English. I think that alone can elevate someone to a higher status in a developing society.

I think it's an exciting organization with ultimately philanthropic goals, and an admirably dedicated team I've had the pleasure to work with these past few months. WEU is continually expanding its course selection and bringing new ones online, and adding new features to its system. I'm glad to have had a small part in it.

Blog: http://blog.wsd.net/jreeve
Twitter: http://twitter.com/justinreeve
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/justinreeve
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#6
(03-14-2013, 02:45 PM)justinreeve Wrote: WEU has been awarded degree-granting status in the state of California.

What is the factual basis for the above statement?

The BPPE's approved-institutions search page has no record for 'World Education University'. They list five schools with the word "world" in the name and none of them is WEU. They list three schools in Rancho Mirage, none of which is WEU.

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

Perhaps you can explain why a school that purports to have degree-granting status in California is not be listed in the official state records of degree-granting institutions.
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#7
(03-14-2013, 04:31 PM)Armando Ramos Wrote:
(03-14-2013, 02:45 PM)justinreeve Wrote: WEU has been awarded degree-granting status in the state of California.

What is the factual basis for the above statement?

The BPPE's approved-institutions search page has no record for 'World Education University'. They list five schools with the word "world" in the name and none of them is WEU. They list three schools in Rancho Mirage, none of which is WEU.

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

Perhaps you can explain why a school that purports to have degree-granting status in California is not be listed in the official state records of degree-granting institutions.

No idea. I thought I read that in one of the news releases: http://www.theweu.com/in-the-news/ But after scanning through them, I'm seeing they've consistently said they're working toward degree-granting status. For further clarification, you'd obviously want to contact WEU.
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#8
(03-14-2013, 11:33 PM)justinreeve Wrote: ...I'm seeing they've consistently said they're working toward degree-granting status.

No, that is not true. They are consistently saying they have been awarded degree-granting status in California. E.g.:

Quote: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.
http://www.theweu.com/about-weu/

This would appear to be a false statement. As much as we like to see new players in the marketplace and innovation in education, we dislike people who aren't truthful. If they aren't forthcoming about basic and easily verifiable facts, what else are they misrepresenting?

If I were you I would take those paychecks to the drawer's bank and cash them, rather than deposit them and wait for them to clear. You might be in for an unpleasant surprise otherwise. Understand the difference between a team player and a kamikaze.
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#9
I find this interesting. I will look into this a bit more.

No PHD programs yet.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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#10
Seems to me that this "entity"...may be flying around by the seat of their pants in cyberspace!.... Oopsy-Daisy!...If it looks like a degree mill, talks like a degree mill, and sounds like a degree mill...guess what?...You betcha, (in the immortal words of my favorite Alaskan Sarah Palin)... these guys need some "oversight"...no RA, no "state approval" or licensure...that smells bad....Sure, the idea that they want to provide "FREE" degree programs to qualified, hungry students sounds noble, virtuous and probably to good to be true!...These things usually are...be that as it may...as it stands right now, it's a little hard to take these 2 guys seriously...as well as the cyber-school, that seems more ghost-like and ethereal by the day...
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