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National University

How this student rated the school
Research QualityC- Research AvailabilityF
Research Funding- Graduate PoliticsC
Errand RunnersC+ Degree Completion-
Alternative pay [ta/gsi]F Sufficient PayC
CompetitivenessC+ Education QualityC
Faculty AccessibilityB- Useful ResearchC+
ExtracurricularsD+ Success-UnderstandingC
Surrounding City- Social Life/Environment-
"Individual" treatmentD+ FriendlinessD+
Safety- Campus Beauty-
Campus Maintenance- University Resource/spendingC
Describes the student body as:

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Condescending, Unhelpful

Lowest Rating
Research Availability
Highest Rating
Faculty Accessibility
He cares more about Research Availability than the average student.
Date: Dec 31 1969
Major: English (This Major's Salary over time)
I felt it necessary to provide a more balanced critique of the NU MA in English, as the one above seems to have been written by a staff member intent on rebutting criticism and placing the blame on students who have legitimate issues with NU. Recently, NU has come under heavy criticism on a number of fronts from students throughout its programs and how has the university responded? With a publicity campaign rather than remedy the concerns of its students. While it is true that every school has its ?issues and service problems? that is not an excuse; nor does it absolve a school of its responsibility to address its issues and recurring service problems. Browse the Net for NU reviews, and you will find over and over many of the same issues that I address below. Students are consumers of a very expensive educational product and deserve nothing but excellence in the delivery of that product ? excuses and rationalization are simply unacceptable.

The Good: The MA in English is an online program and thus, convenient for parents, working teachers and other professionals. Students can take their courses from the privacy of their own homes and manage their own schedules within the parameters of the program requirements. There are some good courses and solid professors leading them; I emphasize ?some? and more below. The excellent professors are good at teaching, and, teaching online courses ? which is an entirely different pedagogical approach. When you get a professor who is clearly competent in the technology, combined with an eagerness to engage students ? the combination is well worth it and one can see the benefits of this type of program.

The Bad (and ugly): There are some really awful instructors in the program with absolutely no clue about how to run an online course or engage students in this new technology. I have had professors who do not post to student discussions or engage in the course discussions but merely award discussion points each week with no feedback; it is like having a professor who never comes to class. I have had professors who simply did not understand the technology and several of them did not know how to update course content, so when the course went live, it was outdated and incorrect. Several professors do not post grades in a timely manner and so one does not receive feedback until it is too late to improve on one?s performance. All courses (except the final thesis course) are 4 weeks in length. Unfortunately, one often doesn?t know which courses/themes/instructors will be offered because NU does not post this information very far in advance. The result is, you have little or no control over planning a program that suits your needs, or in some cases, professional or other licensing requirements, you may not be able to get texts ordered in time, etc. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the program. (For examples, I knew of one teacher who was required by her institution to take a course in Shakespeare, a course rarely offered at NU ? in an MA in English program.) I have heard many students complain about these issues, privately and on course boards. One would think NU could put out a six-month schedule so students could plan their programs accordingly. On the other hand, if you are not as engaged in your program and simply want to take the required courses NU assigns you ? that would work for you. Other issues are administrative support that is inconsistent and minimal. The Financial Aid Office is often late processing student aid and about half the time will simply not respond to your emails. The program director is a wonderful teacher, but a poor manager. He seems aware of the issues and seems interested in student feedback; yet when students have issues (recurring issues) it becomes obvious he has done little to address those issues and in fact comes up with the same excuses over and over. The reality may be he simply has no power in the NU hierarchy to engage and improve the program.

I wanted to share a more balanced view of the issues at NU and not simply blame students as I feel the previous review did. Yes, there are students in the program with unrealistic expectations and yes, some are lazy and have been my classmates! But, the majority are students who are diligent and focused and interact respectfully with their peers. And, as a point of agreement with other reviews ? it is true, online learning is NOT easy. In fact, I find online learning to be much more demanding. If I were asked to give the program a grade, I would offer up a ?C+? with plenty of room for improvement.

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