University of Phoenix is the largest private online college in the U.S., and its business program works like business programs at most other online schools. Work is completed in group projects, classroom communication is carried out mostly online, and the coursework is largely self-taught. As with any educational experience, the value you get out of it depends on the effort you put into it.
The general consensus is that UoP’s online business program is harder than traditional absorb-and-test classroom programs. This is largely because of UoP’s group-project learning format, where students read the required material online, collaborate on papers and work assignments, and hand the completed projects in to their professors. Communication is carried out online through the school’s Web interface, though students can meet in person if they desire. The format is more difficult because it’s largely up to the student to figure things out and provide self-motivation. Still, students who work full-time or have a family benefit from the flexibility of learning on their own time.
This online classroom format has strengths and weaknesses. Communication issues have been cited between students and professors, but the quality of the staff has also been heralded, as many of the professors are CEOs, CIOs and CFOs outside of the classroom. A frequent complaint is students who slack off and rely on the group to carry them through, and another comes from students who feel the value of their education wasn’t what they expected. Logically, it seems that these two groups are composed of the same people, and student testimonials tend to show that the more effort you put into learning, the happier you will be with the result.