Home NewsCSU eConcordia a ‘vending machine’ for credits: CSU president

eConcordia a ‘vending machine’ for credits: CSU president

by Marilla Steuter-Martin March 6, 2012

Concordia’s online courses have been criticized in the past for their high cost to students and questionable quality, but Provost David Graham says he has high hopes for the future of eConcordia.
Graham stated in a Senate presentation on Feb. 17 that as online courses become more popular, Concordia is continuing to develop the services it has to offer.
“The flexibility of online learning is very important for some students to be able to finish their degrees,” he said during the presentation.
Graham emphasized, however, that “the quality of the engagement and commitment has to be at least equivalent as our classroom expectations.”
Concordia Student Union President Lex Gill, who also sits on Senate, was not so positive about eConcordia’s management.
“It seems to me that there is a positive way to do online learning and an easy way,” she said. “Concordia’s business model is low quality and cheap.”
Gill said the average online class size is 500 to 600 people, which creates a “factory model for giving students credits.”
eConcordia exists for the sole purpose of owning KnowledgeOne, a for-profit entity that operates eConcordia courses. The Senate presentation centered around Concordia’s ability to generate profit through KnowledgeOne by marketing similar services to other educational institutions.
Graham explained in an interview with The Concordian that the relationship between eConcordia and KnowledgeOne has “not always been ideal,” but said that he felt positive about the arrival of KnowledgeOne’s interim president, Tony Meti.
“I think that any change in management provides an opportunity for a new relationship,” said Graham.
In an interview, Gill stated that the organization of eConcordia is comparable to a “vending machine for credits.” She also criticized Meti for referring to students as “clients” during his Senate presentation.
Gill also expressed concern over where the fees for the 57 courses offered under the eConcordia brand are going.
Graham explained that any funds gained from online course fees go to the “general operations of the university” such as student services, and normal academic and administrative operations.
Despite concerns raised at Senate about the effectiveness of KnowledgeOne, Graham remained confident that KnowledgeOne will prove to be a good investment for Concordia in the long run.
“We have not been as successful at generating funds in the past as we will in the future,” he said.

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1 comment

beast_in_the_east June 29, 2012 - 13:27

It’s all about profit. They’re a credit factory, but the credits are a sham. You can’t use them toward your major or minor, and sometimes not even as electives for your degree.

They don’t give full refunds either, regardless of their statement that they will if you drop the class and make your refund request before the deadline.

And customer service? Non-existent. They don’t respond to emails or calls, but wow, they’re fast to charge your credit card.

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