Commercials saying “go to school in your pajamas” and inviting listeners to check out the Education Connection play between many television shows my preteens watch. I wondered if the Education Connection was of any benefit to serious students. My gut instinct was that it would direct users to various substandard for-profit schools. So I spent a little time on the site to see what it was all about.
The Education Connection website structure is confusing. The presentation is unprofessional. The purpose of the website seems not to be offering information but obtaining the names and contact information for sales prospects. How did I form this conclusion?
A search on the site does not return lists of schools offering programs in a specific subject area. To get that information, a potential student would apparently have to fill out a form and supply contact information to Education Connection.
Some of the search returns generate vague references such as this one which refers to a specific school but fails to identify the school by name.
When searching specific types of degrees, the potential student is directed to a general statement about a degree program. The general statement typically mentions a single school. Beneath the general statement, there is a list of three online for-profit educational institutions and a list of three careers. These latter two lists have little to nothing to do with the description of the degree program, which the schools in question may not offer. For example:
Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
I clicked on Arts, Science and Humanities Degrees Online, then Mathematics. From there I clicked Mathematics Bachelor’s.
The result? A confusing blurb about the value of a math program that is nothing more than an ad for online learning:
“…do something that will really make a difference…”
“…each course is 5 weeks long and courses are taken one at a time…”
“…complete your coursework at times and places that are convenient for you..”
The blurb identifies “Bridgepoint” as a place where the potential student can concentrate in Mathematics or customize a degree. If you look up Bridgepoint on its own website, you’ll find it offers degrees through two schools: Ashford and University of the Rockies. Neither lists Bachelor’s in Mathematics in its list of online degree programs; Ashford offers a B.S. in Computer Sciences and Mathematics in its brick and mortar school, but that program operates traditional 16 week semesters.
But back to the Education Connection website… Below the blurb describing the Mathematic’s Bachelor’s, under the heading ‘Online Schools,’ there is a list of three for-profit online schools. The casual reader might expect this to be a list of online schools offering Mathematics degrees, but Bachelor’s in Mathematics is not among the degrees offered by those schools, according to their respective websites. And if you substitute Doctor of Law for Mathematics Bachelor’s, the same list appears: American InterContinental University Online, Kaplan University, and University of Phoenix. These are three large for-profit enterprises that advertise heavily and whose educational value has been subject to serious criticism.
Below the list of online schools that don’t offer the degree searched is a list of careers, not ones necessarily sought by students interested in obtaining a B.S. in Mathematics. The careers are interior designers, copy writers, and video game designers. Why would anyone get a degree in Mathematics to become a copy writer?
Juris Doctor Law Degree
Look up a juris doctor degree and you’ll pull up an ad for Concord. Under that, you’ll encounter the familiar list of online colleges listed under math degrees, none of which offer a J.D. degree. The three potential careers listed are lawyers, legal secretaries, and private detectives and investigators. People do not generally invest in juris doctor degrees to become legal secretaries or private detectives.
The J.D. degree is listed three times using slight variations in wording. Each brings up a unique description of one school- Concord. One of these descriptions mentions that attending Concord may not qualify a student to sit for the bar anywhere other than California. The other two descriptions of this degree program omit this critical information.
The Council and Accreditation Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is the accrediting agency recognized U.S. Department of Education for law schools. Concord is not accredited by this agency.
The ABA warns prospective law students that it does not accredit any law schools that offer degrees exclusively through distance learning and that obtaining a degree offered by a distance learning provider may drastically limit the graduate’s ability to sit for the bar examination in many states, a prerequisite to practicing law in most circumstances.
Far from the realm of the Education Connection, there are 200 ABA-approved law schools that qualify a person to take a bar exam and, on passing, obtain employment as a lawyer.
American InterContinental, Kaplan and University of Phoenix
American InterContinental, Kaplan and University of Phoenix appear to form the backbone of Education Connection. All of these schools are for-profit educational institutions. American InterContinental has a 32 percent graduation rate, according to the Online Education Database, while Kaplan’s is 38 percent and University of Phoenix four percent.
Is the Education Connection a good way to find the right school? It doesn’t appear to be. It appears to be nothing more than a sloppy advertisement aimed at generating sales leads for online schools.