Online Degree or Complete Waste of Time?

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

I just ended my first and last semester taking online classes at the prestigious Oklahoma University.  Okay, that’s not entirely fair.  I know that OU isn’t exactly ivy league, but it’s not a bad school.  They just failed me.  This could be seen as nothing more than a vendetta for getting a bad grade, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I got an A in the class, but at the expense of almost killing me.

Everything started out so wonderfully.  I got my acceptance letter and went on to the website to sign up for classes.  Sorry, I cannot do that because I have an advisement hold on my account.  What the freaking heck is an “advisement hold”?  I spent what seems like forever going trying to find that out.  I deduced that it meant I had to meet with an advisor before I could sign up.  Uh, okay.  I tried to schedule an appointment online.  No appointments were available; the website told me to try again the next day.  I did.  And the next day, and the next day, and the day after that.  I decide to go ahead and call someone, even though I wanted to avoid this at all costs BECAUSE THIS IS AN ONLINE CLASS.  I should be able to do EVERYTHING I need to do ONLINE.

I called them a week before the Independence Day holiday to set up my advisor appointment.  They told me they can’t setup the appointment now and I would need to call back after July 5th.  Why can they not setup an appointment before a holiday?  Isn’t this the year 2017?  Besides, why am I setting this appointment up?  This is an online class.  Why do I have to drive three hours round trip to meet an advisor for 15 minutes?  This is ridiculous.  I was just going to give up.  A few days later, I received an email from an advisor asking why I haven’t enrolled yet.  Ugh.  I politely explained my situation.  She lifted the advisor hold, which allowed me to sign up.  Exactly what was the point of putting a hold on my account if she was just going to open it?  Sigh.

I signed up for my first class, which was “Intro to Information Studies.”  Apropos, I guess, considering that the degree I was going for was “Information Studies.”  I’ll get to that fallacy here in a minute.  According to the degree sheet, I needed to have two upper-level humanities courses.  What?  What does Beowulf fighting Grendel have to do with this degree?  I begrudgingly decided to sign up for one.  I was welcomed to error number two.  I got some message saying, “Course is restricted by campus of your curriculum.”  What is this stupid generic, yet oddly specific, error and what could it possibly mean?  I got back with my advisor, and she begrudgingly answered as if the solution should’ve been painfully obvious.  She explained that these classes are offered first to people majoring in humanities and that I would have to CALL THEM and ask (probably more like beg) the department to allow me this privilege to take this class.   I decided to take only the one class this semester.

The online Information Studies degree appeared, although deceitful in my opinion, to be a degree with a high emphasis on IT.  They advertised the career paths you can have with this degree.  Among them were network administrator, software programmer, website designer, and other similar careers.  The “Intro to Information Studies” was a real eye-opener regarding what the degree was really all about.  It was almost exclusively about library studies; simply put, it was for people going into library science, or librarians.  I have nothing against librarians.  It is a noble job, and needed in society.  It’s not anything that remotely interests me or something I want to do.  I should’ve dropped the class immediately and received a full refund.  I decided to keep going.  Perhaps it was an easy A and a GPA booster.  It was not an easy class and took way too much time, especially when you consider it was a 2000 level course.

What did I ultimately learn from this?  I learned an important lesson: examine any program and its curriculum before ever signing up for anything.  I will continue to search for a program to attend, but this time I’m going to be much more discriminating.  I want to end this article with a joke.  Check out what I was billed for this class.  It was over $1,400 for a single class at a state university.  What are all these stupid fees?  I have undergraduate tuition and fees???  Semesterly?  That’s not even a word.  I checked it out and it includes a health fee, for the health facilities I WOULD NEVER USE BECAUSE I LIVE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STATE.  This also includes an academic advisement fee of $40 because of all of the quality advisement I’ve received.  I researched it and found this disclaimer directly from their website, “These fees are designed to benefit students at the university level, not the individual level.”  You’ve got that right.  Oklahoma University found a sucker and his name is the Grantster.  Luckily, it only took one class for me to figure it out.



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