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University of Maryland University College

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University of Maryland University College Reviews:

Misses the mark

English - March 16, 2010
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I spent three years at UMUC finishing up an English degree. I already had 60 credits when I enrolled, plus test credits, so all my classes were upper-level and most were in my major. The professors aren't terrible. Many are very knowledgeable, and some of the lit professors are genuinely good. The problem is that a lot of them just aren't responsive or engaging enough, and in an online course that's a problem. Online courses in general target older students who are self-motivated, but the result too often here is that the professors are unable to add any real value to the material. Weeks can sometimes go by without any new instruction, and personal feedback is very limited. So while you can get a lot out of some of the classes, you're on your own -- you have to want to learn. Level of difficulty: not so high. I graduated with a 4.0, and although I took all my courses seriously, I was disappointed because after awhile I started to believe (maybe correctly, maybe not) that effort wasn't that important. A's and B's seemed to be the norm (from what I could gather -- which is really just speculation), which wouldn't be a problem if it were obvious that everyone else in the class made the same effort. Which leads me to the real problem with UMUC: the school has open admission. That's a wonderful thing for people who really just want to get an education and maybe weren't the best students in high school, or who gave up on an education to raise a family or start a career. But it doesn't translate to a stimulating classroom. And by extension, maybe, it doesn't translate to stimulating professors. It's a watered-down program, and maybe that's really all anyone should expect. But it shouldn’t have to be that way. One last thought. Administration and advising are awful. I do believe the advisors genuinely want to help, at least most of them. And maybe you just can't get meaningful results through email. But I had to make far too many calls, forward far too many emails, just to confirm some pretty basic things -- testing credits, program requirements, degree progress. And I like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent guy, with few really stupid questions. But I consistently received incorrect or inexplicable answers, and my lasting impression was that this whole process was far too exhausting in all the wrong ways. So: decent professors, generally terrible use of technology (esp. for an online school), sloppy advising and administration. But it is convenient, if that's what you need. And the material is there if you want to learn it.

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