More Thoughts About the University of Phoenix- Part 2- Can We Get Some Real Reference Material?

OK, part 2 of my posts on UOP. As I said in a previous post, I do enjoy the school and I’m learning a lot from my courses. Like all schools, I do have some comments, and this time they’re going in my end of course critique. The SQL course I’m currently in has textbooks that reference Oracle quite a bit. Our instructor told us that we can use Access. Actually, I can see how SQL can do wonders for making Access more powerful. However, I’m finding it tough to find the actual commands that Access uses in textbooks that only teach Oracle. How many people do you personally know with Oracle installed on their laptops? I ran into some problems with a series of queries that I was supposed to write for this week, and I found that the Access 2007 help file is just about as useless as any that Microsoft has ever produced. I do respect Microsoft quite a bit, but one thing they have NEVER, EVER done right is to produce a help file that has any real use at all. Of course, they can’t do a search algorithm either, which is why it’s much easier to use Google to search Microsoft.com than it is to use whatever Microsoft calls it’s search technology to search their own site. I’ve found Apple Computer’s website search engine is just as bad if not worse than Microsoft’s. I tried searching for a "G3 iBook Power Adapter" and got 10 pages of iPod accessories as a return. Too bad they don’t have a Google search box on their store.

UOP instructors are all required to hold Master’s or higher degrees and must be leaders in their industries. This can be a very good thing. Have you ever been taught by somebody with no real world experience? They sit in the classroom and teach their whole lives. When I was in high school and had to take a foreign language, I took German because I had lived in Germany. The German teacher had never even been there! I knew a few things that she didn’t, and you can bet I used them. I do like that UOP instructors have to work in the industry for which they teach. I’ve been taught by experts in their fields. The drawback to this is that instructors have lives and other responsibilities and sometimes they just don’t respond to their students. Another class that was going through parallel to us (until we hit the programming units and lost most of both classes!) had an instructor for Project Management who was teaching another class and also working on a doctoral class at the same time. They got practically no feedback from him.  I resent that I have to bust my butt to turn in my assignments by midnight on Saturday, and most instructors don’t get the grades back for 2 weeks. Since the assignments build on each other, it’s very hard to begin work on your next assignment before you know if you’ve totally screwed up the last one or not. That is the situation I was in this week. Last week, I got the grades back for the 1st assignment a few hours after I submitted the 2nd one. I just submitted the 3rd one today without any feedback on the second one. I’m going to mention this in my critique too. Last class, I was finishing up the 4th week’s assignment when I got an email from the instructor asking some questions about the 2nd week’s assignment. Since I had completely screwed that one, and I had 2 more that were built upon it, I had to redo all three of them in the last week of the class while trying to finish up the Learning Team project.

I have good instructors, but I think they should face some penalty for not returning grades by, say, Tuesday. Just like we lost points for each day we’re late, they should have to give us points for each day they’re late.

Anyway, don’t think I don’t like UOP. I know most schools have one problem or another. If you’re looking for information though, I hope I’ve been able to help.

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