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A Review of an Accredited Online Degree From Capella University

By: N Haffner

The possibility of taking Online degree programs have been one of the biggest direct changes in education due to the internet.

It is easy and convenient for working adults to be able to take courses without having to fit classes around their busy schedules or commute to campus.

One of the more popular accredited online degree programs is offered by Capella University. This school was founded in 1993 and got its accreditation in 1997.

After it was accredited, it changed its name and established five schools: Human Sciences, Technology, Education, Psychology and Business. The school's headquarter is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Within these five schools, there are about 70 different areas of study with more than 650 classes offered.

The Capella school has 650 faculty members, more than 550 employed staff and 13,000 students enrolled in courses. As you can see, this is a real college for higher education with real credentials.

The school has its good points as well as its bad points. In order to draw as balanced picture as possible of this school, let's consider both. It has a special individualized portal for each student, called the iGuide.

After you enroll, you're granted secure access through this portal to all the academic information you need. This makes it easy to look at and get an overview of courses and transcripts. Through the portal, you have access to your internet classroom, which they refer to as the 'courseroom', where you can get your assignments and post messages. Most other schools on the internet have online chats and webcams which often don't work very well.

At this school however, the technology is all together and in working order. It has a special system for turning in assignments which is very efficient but still easy to use. Just submit all your assignments as zip files or Microsoft Word documents. That's all you have to do. The school portal offers access to the alumni center which you can use for networking and looking for employment opportunities.

There are many other services available, like access to grants and other public money. Some of the graduates have criticized the alumni center as not being so useful, and being mostly just for show. However, most graduates are very happy with it. Because this school is targeted to students who are already in jobs, its opportunities for on campus employment are pretty bare. The thought is that the reason you've chosen to study there rather than at a more traditional college is that you are already in a jobs . If you live outside Minneapolis, the school does not offer much in the way of employment for its students.

The school does offer a wide range of services to students with various handicaps. There is a variety of software available, and the staff makes an extra effort to accommodate students with disabilities. The school is consistently ranked high among higher educational institutions for its services for disabled students. There is mobility assistance, sign language interpreter service as well and additional time given to those who need it. Except from those mentioned about, most other services are somewhat lacking, however.

There is a campus bookstore where you can buy various kinds of materials including software, as well as books. Like most college bookstores, you can easily find the same books more cheaply other places if you look around a little. Like most schools, the bookstore is used to make some extra money for the school. But, the easy way out of this, for you, is to buy the books you need on the web somewhere. There are lots of services available for buying textbooks online. In spite of this, the Capella school is quite affordable.

There are more and more schools coming on the web every year, and those that want to stay must be competitive. At Capella, there are five schools within the college. They should be considered or reviewed separately in terms of quality. While the Human Sciences, Business, Education and Technology schools are quite good, the Psychology school has been undergoing some issues.

There have been some problems with the management, and this has affected the overall quality of the program negatively. Because of these issues or problems, the Psychology school has had to keep changing its Dean, and this has also added to their problems. At the time of this writing, the psychology school is still not accredited by the American Psychological Association, even though it has been running this program for so long. This shouldn't reflect too badly on school as a whole. Remember, there are 650 faculty members, so there is a load of variety. As a matter of fact, the quality of the instructors has always been commented on by the students who have graduated here.

One thing criticised by many is that so many of the faculty are part time contractors, and thus do not have the interests of their students in mind as a highest priority. It is also charged that many of the teachers here are new to teaching on the web, and in being unaccustomed to it are unable to give the best instruction to their students. This charge comes particularly from students who have attended masters or Ph.D. programs here and found the quality of instruction at that level to be lacking. It could be that the strength of this school is in its undergraduate program. This is what most students attend the school for, so it may be that the instructors are better able to teach at the undergraduate level. There aren't many complaints from undergraduate students about instructor or teacher quality, so this may be the case.

At the Capella university you certainly get a bit of everything. Whether this school is for you depends on a number of different factors. Retrieving and submitting coursework is easy.

On the negative side, the quality of the teaching or instruction has consistently been lauded, if at times inconsistent. The fact that every education program is not yet accredited probably reflects badly on the school. Nevertheless, as internet programs go, it is rated high in all areas.

So, if you are looking into pursuing a higher education online, weigh your options well.

 

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