Several months ago, I was randomly browsing the internet as usual, when I stumbled upon a little website. The website promised a tuition free university experience available for everyone 100% online. So I did some digging around and found several YouTube videos and articles that vouched for the authenticity of it. That website was University of the People. Since I was out of high school for 3 years, and being in and out of jobs, I never considered going to college. Mainly because it was way out of my family's income margin. After a few weeks of thinking about it, I applied!
So far I'm 5 weeks into my Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree. At the beginning of the term the faculty assigned two courses to me automatically. Since the recommended commitment per a course is 15 hours a week, I'm finding 30 hours of my unemployed life taken up with studies. I can say the following;
- The platform is Moodle; Those of you who are familiar with it will feel right at home. But honestly the learning curve isn't that steep.
- The majority of the course material is research and essay writing, along with very interactive class discussions in the weekly discussion forum.
- Deadlines are on a weekly basis to compensate for students being in different timezone. So you have a solid heads up for assignments and quizzes. Great for the folks that work and study.
- Terms are 10 weeks long and there are 5 terms a year. At an average of 2 courses a term you'll finish your Bachelor's in 4 years, or 2 years for an Associate's Degree.
- Business Administration and Computer Science are the only fields they can provide right now.
- The community is friendly and helpful!
- It's an accredited institution!
I can say I find the peer-based learning to be very effective. I have learned so much from my classmates, especially about topics I had no prior knowledge of. A wise friend once told me that gaining a degree opens many doors. So I hope in 4 years the steps I'm taking right now benefit me. So far coping with studying and part time work has proved manageable. As time goes by I'll add more installments to this series about how it feels to be part of something like the University of the People. So tune in guys!