Pennsylvania State University Reviews
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This program is a research heavy focused program. That being said I would advocate a service in which students are more familiar with industry jobs. This degree program seems mostly focused on pushing undergraduate students to go towards graduate school. The education is to notch but more real world applications is needed to give students a greater application in the subject they are studying. However if your focus is on education and research then this program is for you. The school offers a state of the art materials characterization laboratory that even undergraduates are able to use.
I want to state that I received my bachelors degree at Penn State University World Campus (PSUWC), and pursued my masters, but ended up transferring out to another university to finish my masters. I am a 4.0 student, with a high IQ, high EQ, and am a diligent student; no slacker. I am an insightful person who needs little direction. With that being said, if you attend PSUWC, especially as a grad student, be prepared to do EVERYTHING alone. You will likely not have an advisor (one will be assigned, but they will either no longer be employed or impossible to reach). Your professors may or may not answer emails and may or may not grade your work in a timely fashion. The assistant to the grad school, who is supposed to be your point person, is this sweet elderly lady, who LITERALLY KNOWS NOTHING! She has NEVER been able to answer a question for me; she literally does not know anything other than contact information. There is no consistency between courses or professors, many of the professors work full time and have NO time to even answer a question. The written lectures are rife with grammatical and spelling errors - literally almost every lesson I have ever read! And the errors do distract from the content. Your assignments are the same, read a lot of material, read a lengthy (and often useless) online lecture, and write and respond on discussion boards with classmates. The discussion boards are torture because most of the students write at the 7th grade level rather than the grad school level, but you are required to respond to their unintelligible writings with something of substance. It is easy to get disillusioned and dispassionate fairly quickly. You virtually have no support at the university, so in order to succeed, you should ensure you have support at home. Also, there is a great deal of group work in 90% of the courses, and if you are a hard worker like myself, you will often carry the load of 5 people. This sucks because, these group projects usually begin the first or second week and last all semester, so you are working on normal coursework, while carrying your group. And your professor will tell you that grades are issued individually, but they are NOT. If you get an A, your entire group will get an A, even if you had no help - this gets old - but it is common knowledge, and even some professors will tell you that many group members will be social loafers. I would advise to get a master's degree at at different online university if online is what you desire. Penn State World Campus grad school is a joke and a waste of money!
Here is the quick and dirty review for Instructional Design. If you would like to pay top dollar for a curriculum that is over 10 years old Penn State is fine. If you are a teachers who would like to learn a little more about technology to use in the classroom the degree is fine as well. However if you are like me and work for Fortune 100 companies they are antiquated. I left the Master's Program and went somewhere else. Some of the people in the department were pioneers in distance learning, but unfortunately this does no help for those trying to be cutting edge.
-Penn State world campus is not a good school and I would not recommend it. Most of the courses that I have taken tell you to read the textbook, then take a quiz and do homework assignments with very little interaction with the instructor.
Also, when you receive the course materials list, they list materials that you do not need and end up costing you extra money. I asked the instructors questions before the course began, including questions about needed materials, and they did not answer me.
They also charge extremely high technology fees and there are often problems with their system, so I don't know what you are paying for. For exams that are proctored, they will not send the exams to your proctor until the week before the test date, which makes it very difficult to schedule your test, seeing as how most proctors will not schedule your test until they receive the exam.