Capella University Reviews - Doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction
Review of Curriculum & Instruction Doctoral Degrees
Capella University overall was a good experience for me. Two former employers and my current employer seemed pleased with the level of knowledge I had gained from the degree. The courses were challenging and time consuming, however you get out of it what put into it. Given I was a PhD student the self-motivated learning of the online experience and actually the mediocre feedback and conversations with my professors, made it more independent which I believe you need for a dissertation. When performing all of the research needed for the dissertation the mentor provides limited "guidance" and not "direction", which is something you need to do because the whole point of the dissertation is for you to learn how to be an independent researcher. Now for the issues I encountered, is when they did change the Scientific Merit Review form multiple times, but that might have only caused 1-2 months in delays because of the number of times they changed them, but they are a cross between a document with instructions and rubric type of information provided as to the information needed in each area. The 1-2 months in delays due to the SMR was solely Capella. My topic changed three times and my methodology three times, one of the topic changes was my fault, because I did not read a handout given to us that stated the the target areas your topic was supposed to be on. The second topic was going to be mixed methods based, and I had for the most part fleshed out most or it, but then Capella changed the rules where you had to do either qualitative or quantitative and education majors could no longer do mixed methods, which didn't cause me a huge delay, I only spent about a month or so getting everything switched over to do qualitative. So as far as Capella admin is concerned they might have cost me a quarter worth of time. Now for the other problems which is not Capella's fault in my book, is that my original mentor would not allow me to do my research in qualitative and wanted me to switch the methodology to quantitative, which wound up veering way from my second topic. After a quarter and half in the dissertation phase, I was getting prepared to finally submit my topic to the school, when my mentor quit in mid term of the second quarter and I was given a new mentor. The new mentor thought that my second topic was way to broad and needed further honing. So, I spent about 2 more months and finally after 2.5 quarters received topic approval from the school (Milestone 2). Then I fleshed out the rest of the SMR and received approval from the mentor one week later for the study (Milestone 3). Then it only took me about one quarter to get committee approval for the study (Milestone 4). After that my milestones sped up really quickly in 4 months I went from Milestone 4 being completed to Milestone 8 being completed (Milestone 8 - First two Chapters of the dissertation). Then I conducted the data gathering, analysis and wrote the last 3 chapters in about a 3 month time frame, and received Milestone 9 and then 10 two weeks after receiving 9, and it is then submitted to the school for review at Milestone 11. It took just shy of 5 months to get Milestone 11 approval, because the reviewer was 1) only checking 1 chapter at a time kicking it back with feedback and then having resubmit. 2) The next issue i had with Milestone 11 reviewer was that I felt she was having me add useless paragraphs that an English professor that was reviewing my dissertation prior to submission felt the same way. The school reviewer also kicked it back citing grammar and punctuation issues that again the English professor reviewing my dissertation for me did not agree with. Finally, she had me submit the markup of the English professor, and a week later the school reviewer was gone from the school, someone else reviewed my dissertation then I achieved milestone 11. After that Milestones 12-16 were attained in 5 weeks and I graduated. I do not hold Capella responsible for the original mentor that jumped ship or the school reviewer for my dissertation at milestone 11 who wanted to fight an English professor with over 30 years experience, as both of these individuals are no longer at Capella. Their PhD programs are not easy, you put into it what you get out of it, but you have to stay motivated you can't be spoon fed during the dissertation phase as you are supposed to be an independent researcher when you finish. .
I chose to attend Capella after reviewing curriculum and instruction doctoral programs at four other schools. I was impressed with Capella primary because the the Capstone project. I wanted to be able to contribute the educational field beyond a paper. In addition, I love technology. Capella offers blended learning which works well for me as an independent learner.
Alumni cave (students beware). I started my Capella journey with the intent of earning a doctorate (PhD) in Instructional Design in order to conduct research and teach at the college/ university level upon retirement. The nature of my profession requires considerable travel so an online program was the only possible educational option. Most often, hotel internet connections has been the primary access to the Capella website. Capella is a for profit university (emphasis for profit) that advertises abundant scholarships and grant funds; however, after applying for multiple scholarships and grants, I never received a single scholarship or grant the only available finance option was student loans. Multiple program requirement changes, faculty and department turnover, and inconsistent grading policies helped cause delays in completing courses. There were instances where hotel internet was not available due to construction, tornados, floods, or technical issues, which caused me to miss some assignment deadlines. Some faculty was very understanding while others were very punitive -severely reducing grades to include failures requiring retaking several courses. The Scientific Merit Review (SMR) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) process alone took twenty (20) months for approval. Finally, with all the coursework completed, the comprehensive examinations passed, and starting dissertation research, the university gave me a unrealistic timeline to complete the dissertation otherwise I would face administrative withdrawal from the university for being a maximum time learner. In addition to working fulltime, I also care for an elderly parent. The Capella dissertation process of sixteen (16) milestones is quite cumbersome and extremely time consuming to complete taking over two years. The dissertation was completed and submitted (to the minute) at the school-imposed deadline. Both the dissertation mentor and dissertation committee approved the dissertation; however, Capella rejected the dissertation because (with no announcement of any kind), Capella had changed the dissertation template and format saying that my dissertation was not in the correct format and because of this, I did not meet the conditions of an extension and was therefore administratively withdrawn from both my degree program and the university with no appeal. The argument that the dissertation was already in a university-approved format and the last minute adding more requirements was rejected. This process of moving the finish line to justify expulsion is completely unfair and highly unethical!!! Speaking of unethical, my tuition costs exceeded $225,000 (quarter of a million dollars); having exceeded the lifetime maximum federal student loan cap I was left with paying for school out of my pocket (more than $ 4,000 per quarter); further, my student loan debt exceeds $200,000. I attended Capella University to further my education in order to give back to the next generation and make a significant contribution; however, as result of my Capella experience (1). I have no PhD degree (2). Spent a quarter of a million dollars in tuition (3). Owe more than $200,000 in student loans with a repayment schedule of $2,274.49 per month (4). Will be in debt for the rest of my life. The most ironic thing was receiving notification that my graduation application had been approved and congratulations on my recent graduation and asking was I planning to attend commencement?
I took three courses with Capella University before I realized this college was not for me. If you want to learn and have a degree you can be proud of then Capella is not the college to attend. If you want someone to give you the degree with no effort, than Capella is right for you. My instruct gave everyone full points when they could not even write a complete sentence. The assignments were not accurate to current knowledge. They also constantly threatened me to pay for my courses when my employer, government, and grants were paying. I found the time with the university stressful, and I did not learn anything.
It was a challenging program. I particularly appreciated the diversity in the courseroom as it gave me the opportunity to learn from so many others with experiences and contexts that differed from my own. The university also was very supportive with scheduling as well as providing assistance when I needed it. The colloquiums were a great opportunity to connect in person with people I still stay in contact with.
I received both my B.A. and M.A. from brick and mortar schools. If I had to do it all over, I would have preferred doing it all online. Before entering Capella I researched all online schools that offered the degree I was seeking. I chose Capella because it appeared to be the most rigorous and challenging. After having received the Doctorate in Education I can say from experience that it was challenging and the professors very demanding. Finally, all my hard work paid off and I feel I have received a top notch education from what I consider the "Harvard" of online schools.