Journal of Online Education

The Journal of Online Education is published by Global Academy Online, celebrating its 12th year as an institutional online and hybrid university builder. Publication is random. New posts are boldly noted on the Academy's website at the day the Journal is posted online. The Academy was organized and developed by the education, research, and training center,, the Center for Entrepreneurship, Ethics, and Free Enterprise. The Center is also the founder and co-sponsor of the global humanitarian outreach,The Billion Dollar Project, an international philanthropic organization using online technology to expunge and eliminate ignorance, hunger and poverty in the world.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fred DiUlus' Insider Look at National Collegiate Accreditation

There are two groups of "Approved" government sanctioned college accrediting agencies in the world today. One group represents the USA's Department of Education. It contains a list of approved private organizations that permits their sanctioned and accredited members to qualify for and receive US Government student loan resources. If an accrediting agency is not approved by the US Education Department nor has sought such approval, then that agency's members are not eligible to apply for US Government loan assistance for their students
The other group of government accrediting agencies are strictly government licensed. This other group of agencies represent official approval to operate and award degrees in each of the 50 American States, US Commonwealth countries, US Territories, and 193 nations everywhere else in the world listed with the United Nations as institutions of higher learning. These states and nations sanction and license schools to conduct programs and award degrees within their jurisdictions.

In the case of individual national government sanctioning bodies, a membership in UNESCO, the education arm of the United Nations allows for reciprocity by, between, and among member nations for degrees earned in authorized colleges in those nations. In every instance these degrees are recognized by the government issuing the approval. Currently the US Department of Education does not provide reciprocity for US students to attend one of these other accredited international schools with US government assisted student aid. Not because they can't but because the Congress has been silent on it. That is the prohibition.

The USA Department of Education however has many accredited sanctioning agencies on its approved list. The ones below are those that are the most notorious approval agencies that accredit member schools and permit their accredited members students individiual eligibility for US Government Guaranteed Student Loans:
Six of the agencies noted above with an asterisk * advertise in one way or the other that they are among an elite group of six regionally approved accrediting agencies. This slightly misleading information overlooks the fact that there are at least five other agencies who are also approved. Technically, the others are not regional, they are national. Regional agencies may or may not accept transfer credit from either "national" or their regional cohorts; a fact the public is basically uniformed about regarding this right to accept or refuse a transfer student even thought they are coming from a so-called accredited body sanctioned by the US , Department of Education. The difference between national and regional agencies is simple. Nationals can accredit colleges in any state, US territory, or US Possession such as the US Virgin Islands, Guam Puerto Rico, the Marshall Islands, et al. Regional agencies by their nature are tied to the region in which they were created to serve.  

One last thing: Of all the accrediting agencies approved by the US Department of Education, the one rated tops is the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. In the total scheme of things, it is a hollow accolade. The only word that counts today is the word ACCREDITED. Where that accreditation comes from is becoming virtually meaningless as no universal measuring stick is available except perhaps regional bias and prejudice to determine among the student graduates from the various accredited venues, which of them learned and which of them really learned.

Dr. Fred DiUlus is the CEO and Dean of Global Academy Online, a builder of online and hybrid universities for the past dozen years.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

College Accreditation: A True False Test

Here's a college entrance exam no accredited college or university will ever give to their entering students.  Perhaps they should if Truth is what they seek. It requires answering three statements with either a True or      False response. Each incorporates major ethical issues plaguing American higher education. The fall out of the  answers may affect potential students everywhere                                  

Number I. A legitimate college degree is only earned through a school accredited by an agency approved  by the US Department of Education.                                                                                      

                                                 True / False                                                                                              

 Number II. A degree of any kind -- Associate of Arts to a PhD -- received from a college or university     other than one accredited by a US Department of Education approved agency is or should be considered a
diploma mill.                                                                                                                                                 

                                                  True / False                                                                                              

Number III. A college/university degree accredited by a US Department of Education agency guarantees graduates a job.                                                                                                                                         

                                                   True / False                                                                                             

The Answer KEY:                                                                                                                                  

Number I.
 Not one single institution of higher learning in America, not one, is, or ever has been, required    to have accreditation awarded by any agency approved or not approved by the US Department of Education.    In America, accredited schools covet and may even flaunt their regional accreditation so that they can attract    students. The applicants may not be able to afford the education but will easily qualify for federal guaranteed     student loans to pay the school's tuition. Colleges are paid directly from the Feds. The number of students on     guaranteed student aid now exceeds 80 percent of the learner populations in most public and private colleges in America.            

It has been suggested that should the US federal guaranteed student loan program cease to exist tomorrow, the number of students attending American accredited colleges and universities would drop more than half by nightfall. The rest would dwindle by half again by the end of the last paid semester. Tuition costs, even in state  schools, are increasing so rapidly it is prohibitive for most students to attend were it not for the student loan   program. The only way for a college to get on the Government guaranteed student loan list is to be accredited   by an approved by a US Ed Department private agency,                                                                          

Are the schools driven purely by the economic factor to stay in business and prosper? 
Many suggest the real   motive of American accredited colleges in sustaining accreditation and paying the huge fees demanded by accrediting agencies and dealing with assessment visits from peers to analyze their programs is indeed driven  by economic advantage.                                                                                    

Detractors also suggest the accreditation deception assures a closed higher education monopoly along with the  ability to increase tuition without objection. Historically this is an enabling ongoing unobstructed private access   to billions of dollars of student guaranteed education funding. Thousands of potentially competing schools, among them the best in the world, are left out of the loop. They cannot touch this federal money even though    they are licensed in their home states or accredited by a foreign jurisdiction. 
These outcasts not only include      new online and distance education schools, they also count in their midst colleges that are older than the USA    and have been teaching and putting out scholars for two, three, and four hundred years.                                   

Number II.
 Thus, the idea that any school not accredited by a US approved agency must be a diploma or   degree mill is a perception that is also totally false. This mythical conclusion has all the earmarks of an ongoing   conspiracy. It seems to have originated with the FBI's infamous DipScam investigation years back when a lone agent and his staff zealously took on the paper mills -- those schools that would give you a degree for a few      hundred bucks and mastermind a bogus transcript for you to boot.                                                                   

The FBI undercover job has long since been discounted as a grand waste of taxpayer money. Even though the  agent in charge gathered over 200 bogus degrees to prove the point that more money was needed to thwart the growth of mills via the Internet, Congress realized the the problem was not with the mills but with the demand    of the public to seek out and acquire a credential whether it was worth the paper it was printed on or not. it is    the public that demands easy and fast and the mills were only meeting the need. That is Basic Marketing 101.   The public drives the market, not the other way around. The attention, however, did change the way the diplomas were marketed.            

The original diploma mills that survive, reinvented themselves and continue to do a robust business by just          labeling what they offer as FAKE. They sell degrees and transcripts by the thousands just like they used to. It's almost a  billion dollar a year business. It turns out that defining what a diploma mill is and what phonies actually meet the profile is actually pretty easy. It doesn't take a physics professor to point out whether a school has a    place in the cosmos. But those in love with the concept that all colleges need to be accredited choose to propagate the myth that a school not accredited is a diploma mill. Thus, the conspiracy to perpetrate the myth to cast all unaccredited or foreign accredited institutions as degree mills remain unabated.                                    

The attitude is 'accreditation arrogance' because the first principle of American higher education is pretty  simple - Accreditation is voluntary, and a college or university has a choice to seek, or not seek, American accreditation.                                                                                                                  

Number III. The final fallacy is that one must attend an accredited school because employers will not hire  an applicant if the degree comes from an unaccredited college or university.                          

Let's put the cards on the table. Human relation departments are not charged by their CEO's to make sure job   applicants graduated from an accredited school before they are hired although HR departments are becoming    more aware of what is and what is not a good degree and how to prove it. In at least one western state in  America, college graduates must meet this requirement for every job in state government that requires a  degree. 
Over 150 nations, American states, religious organizations license schools to operate and offer  approved degree programs. Colleges and universities in these nations and those in most of the world find degrees earned from institutions licensed in these countries and specialty organizations perfectly legitimate.        

The question any prospective student should ask is "will my degree be recognized?" not "Is the school        accredited?" USA accreditation guarantees nothing except a perceived status but it alone is not even the    guarantee of a transfer into another so-called accredited school. If you doubt that, stop by the registrar's office at a claimed accredited college and ask if the degree from that institution will guarantee admission into the  graduate program of another 'accredited' school other than programs they possess internally. Sadly, jobs are   never guaranteed for grads, anywhere, regardless of the school, or so-called best of the best.                  

There are absolutely no guarantees.                                                                                                        

The real benefactor in all this is you. 
Look beyond the scarlet letter from American accreditation fanatics would have you wear if you choose to attend a perfectly legitimate and respected unaccredited institution. If  you can afford to break the yoke of servitude put on by the private regional accrediting agencies and the US Department of Education and get past them without a student loan, then alternative higher education choices become endless and to say the least an endless opportunity.                                                                            

Worldwide 17,000 institutions of higher learning exist that are approved; only about 3000 are USA accredited.   Would you want a degree from a 200 year old international institution that reeks of well known graduates or a   recently accredited university that is five years old. In this lite, accreditation of the type put upon us by the education industry in the USA is nothing but propaganda of the worst kind.                                                      

With the advent of the Internet and instant Virtual education access, selecting a school outside the USA is far  more available then ever before. Do not be afraid to find the College that suits you even if it is located 12,000   miles away.                                                                                                           
The Author: Dr.Fred DiUlus is the founder  and volunteer director of the Center for Ethics in Free Enterprise, the 15 year old  founder of Global Academy Online, Inc, the international university builder. Dr., D is a frequent public speaker, author  of over 20 books including the Federal Financial Digest and The Federal Financial Register Series that exposed hundreds     of corrupt banks and savings and loans and banks during the 1980's..,He is the author of the popular Free eBook BEST          WORST in ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDERS  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

100 Marginal Online Colleges and Growing

According to the 2012 edition of The BestWorst Online Degree Program Providers100 accredited online college providers are marginal at best. They offer little academic rigor and virtually no chance of transfer to a top tier university for an advanced degree.

Each of these marginal online schools offer degree programs rated a number One (1) on a One (1) to Five  (5) rating scale. Top rated schools can achieve the highest rating of number Five (5). Almost 25% of the almost 400 schools currently rated and ranked are found in the poorest category.

st list has grown over the years. Marginal online programs of universities attract many non-traditional students returning to school and in a hurry for a degree. They throw caution to the wind and will opt to take what they think is the easy road. They want to achieve satisfaction but insist on a school that seems both easy and “accredited”.

Most number (1) schools are really academically poor. In addition to their rating, they have one other thing in common and that is a marginal and poorly trained faculty. Online faculty, according to top online schools, should be every bit as good as traditional faculty lecturing in a classroom and carry equal or better credentials. It appears the current crop of online marginal colleges is just throwing together faculty and degree programs left and right. The motive, it seems clear to critics, is to keep up and get in on the cash bonanza bandwagon they perceive is ahead.

The biggest marginalized players in the Online Degree provider game are those universities that really stand out. Students dedicated to getting a college education who have investigated the scene know exactly who they are and avoid them. One of the sad commentaries about the marginal schools is that many potential learners are in a hurry for a degree and throw caution to the wind. They do not investigate and fall victim to false promises of success and job success. They will opt to take what they think is the easy road to achieve their education goal.

Questionable colleges are lying in wait and laying the trap for unsuspecting students that cannot see whether the target institution is or is not a degree mill or a quality online provider. Often, by the time an unsuspecting learner has caught on to the scam being blinded by the promise of a quick and easy road to an accredited degree, it’s too late.

The BestWorst Online Degree Program Providers is published with new updates annually. The eBook is a free download from several online sources. It weighs ratings heavily on the quality and experience of each university’s teaching  faculty.

Dr. Fred DiUlus - author, educator, and online education pioneer is the father of online college ratings and rankings, He is the volunteer  Director and CEFE Fellow at the Center for Ethics in Free Enterprise and the CEO and Dean of Global Academy Online, Inc., online university builders.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Conversation with Online Education Pioneer, Dr. Fred DiUlus


The following is an interview with Dr. Fred DiUlus, CEO and Founder of Global Academy Online, Inc. He is an online education pioneer and the father of online college program ratings and rankings. The interview with the Journal of Online Education was over the 2011 Thanksgiving Holiday. He shares with us some of his career choices in online education and the past and future of one of the fastest growing industries today.

J.O.O.E: How did you, a Wall Street veteran of three decades and recognized by US NEWS as one of the nation’s top investment experts ever get involved in online higher education?

Dr. DiUlus: In 1989, the financial publishing firm I had purchased was moved from Houston, Texas to the Jacksonville, Florida area. Wanting to share what I had learned over the years, I solicited a part time teaching position at the University of North, Florida, one of the fastest growing regional universities in the nation at the time. I was invited to teach one semester of Business Ethics and was told by the Dean not to get too comfortable teaching the subject as “ethics” concentrations for business professors was just a flash in the pan. I ended up teaching the course as well as Entrepreneurship ten straight years, the last five as a fulltime lecturer. During those years I developed a systems methodology to teach applied ethics and entrepreneurship online. The result was the first private education Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. I later named it the Center for Ethics in Free Enterprise and offered the very first online Applied Ethics and Entrepreneurship certificate training programs.

J.O.O.E: That was a pretty radical departure from your expertise wasn’t it?

Dr. DiUlus: The online education portion certainly was. However, I had been teaching college classes throughout my investment career and never missed a chance to do so. When I discovered that I could help influence the spread of learning online globally to every nook and cranny in the world, I could not move fast enough.

J.O.O.E.: There is a rumor that you hatched that idea thirty years ago. Can you tell us about it?

Dr. DiUlus:
It’s not a rumor. Thirty some odd years ago as I was sitting in front of a $10,000 state of the art PC with two floppy eight inch drives, one to initiate the operating system and the other to draft documents. We then transfered the data via hard-line phone connections to a mainframe where it was spun into meaningful prose and sent back. It was, by today’s standards, slower than molasses. I wondered about the possibility of pushing this technology to potentially make learning available to the world. It took thirty years for the technology to catch up to the idea.

J.O.O.E.: How did you come to create Global Academy Online?

Dr. DiUlus: In the late 90’s, I was serving as an Associate Professor at a southwestern university that had hired me away from UNF to develop a Free Enterprise program at their school. While growing the program, I was fortunate to be given a grant by a major online systems provider to create an advanced Entrepreneurship program. I took the new MBA development to my school’s business dean and the academic dean to offer my work to the school. I detailed how within two years the program would help double the size of the university’s full time enrolled (FTE’s) because such online programs were in great demand. I suggested we could build two other advanced degree programs online that were equally in demand. As the market was global and well beyond the 100 mile radius the school considered their market share, I pointed out it would not infringe on existing faculty jobs or put additional demands on them. They turned the program and me down. Two months later, I resigned and went about creating private label online curriculum and a delivery system for colleges and universities that in 2002 became Global Academy Online, Inc. Its first program was an online, private label, fully staffed MBA program.

J.O.O.E: Weren’t they just a bit shortsighted?

Dr. DiUlus: Not exactly. They actually professed the common beliefs of the academic world of the day. Remember this was 2002. In their eyes online education was not credible. They genuinely believed students could not learn as much unless they were standing in front of them and online learning would never be regarded as good as a traditional education. The icing on the cake was their expressed belief that by adopting the program they would be harming the university’s reputation not, as I suggested, enhancing it. They were right on the money for the day. Fortunately, there were those of us who believed otherwise on all counts. It was a hard sell. As they say, "You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink." All my research showed opposite results of what the dean and provost concluded. They just regurgitated myths with the myths spread by the rumors of the day.

J.O.O.E.: Was this prevalent throughout academia and if so why were they so close minded?

Dr. DiUlus: Traditionalists don’t think beyond their internal strategic plans and most, even today, do not offer or even suggest moving their schools to online degree programs, let alone mention them. Small inroads were made by firms like eCollege, WEBct and Blackboard. MOODLE had not even been invented nor the dozens of other course management systems providers that exist today. The big three as they were called provided online supplemental online teaching protocols to schools but the thought of having an entire online school program within a traditional environment free of the classroom was tantamount to heresy.

J.O.O.E.: You participated in several strategic planning sessions and led many sessions for organizations other than schools. What is the mindset when it comes to online education?

Dr. DiUlus: Unfortunately, most strategic planning specialists follow a set formula to sustain the status quo for a target school. They offer to improve it, and make sure that it survives. Instead of wiping the slate clean and starting over as though the school were brand new, planners follow the SWOT method religiously. Accentuate the strengths, cut the weaknesses, embrace the opportunities and challenge the threats and overcome them. In their eyes, online education is the threat. Rarely and only within the last two to three years has it been broadly considered the opportunity. For most schools, the desire to overcome the perceived threat instead of embracing the concept and growing it, assured the opportunity that existed was not considered.

J.O.O.E.: Do college presidents not see this?

Dr. DiUlus: Probably, they do, but I suspect from my conversations with many over the years that they perceive the risk as too costly to their own careers and fear unnecessarily for the school’s reputation as well as theirs among the board of trustees. They are unwilling to change. There are exceptions, plenty of them. Most administrators, college presidents and those that may want to achieve such a high position someday are cut from a mold we call transactional as opposed to transformational. These are two terms experts use to describe leadership style.

J.O.O.E.: How do they differ since the idea of being one type of leader or another may be a blur to outsiders?

Dr. DiUlus: Transformational leaders are change agents, pure and simple. The term speaks for itself. Most college presidents in the world today are transactional. In other words, the view is, “If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.” That mindset however is changing as the economics of sitting on one’s institutional hands and not moving to adopt online education protocols rapidly is pushing schools to become tomorrow’s failures. Their ability to support infrastructure and the declining financial health brought about by tight fisted legislators and benefactors are seriously impacting them. They are being drawn to online education not because they consider it worthy or they changed their minds about it, but because of necessity to survive economically. Many are suffering now because of the lack of vision ten years ago and are desperately trying to catch up. For many that vision is still skewed in the wrong direction.

J.O.O.E.: What do you hold for the future of higher education?

Dr. DiUlus: I believe what I warned a decade ago. Colleges and universities as we know them will cease to exist in a generation transformed by technology and 24/7 continuous education online. I did not make this up just to be contrary. Peter Drucker, the father of modern management warned us of this just before he passed away. Virtually every prediction he ever made about education has come true. My feeling is that before this decade is out, I will be able to pull out my school device (a combination of a phone, ipad, ipod, laptop, kindle, nook, or whatever) and access any field of interest, study it, have a lecture on it by the finest professors in the world, and view it all on my desk in a 3D or holographic image, interacting with the image at will. This technology already exists today.

Why do you believe an online education is superior to a traditional education?

Dr. DiUlus: It is not because of what I think. It is what students and learners around the world already think. For those who have experienced both traditional and online education ninety plus percent (90%) believe that this education is superior or as good as the traditional classroom.

J.O.O.E: Then where does all the negativity come from regarding online higher education?

Dr. DiUlus: Mostly from classroom hugging professors. They have no compunction about expressing dissatisfaction with the whole development of online learning. My experience in faculty meetings from coast to coast bears this out. I would say the average among faculty who are against a school’s partial or wholesale adoption of online education is hovering around 60% or higher. The new breed of professor, those coming out of colleges who can and do seek to teach online have a much different attitude. The future that lies with youth who have been brought up on technology and probably know far better than most of us, see first hand the revolutionizing of higher education. Perhaps we should consider online education as the blackboard of the middle ages. Professors then thought the board’s introduction into the classroom would destroy education.

Thank you Dr. DiUlus for being so candid.

Dr. DiUlus: My pleasure.