The Family University Network: Unplugging Institutional Higher Education

Why not build a Christian family enterprise with the energy, funding, and infrastructure that would otherwise build the state or private educational institutions?

It is common knowledge today that serious moral problems exist in families, churches, schools, colleges, corporations, and political arena. These problems have academic, moral, and philosophical roots reaching back centuries, and have been promoted by the systematic separation of knowledge from faith in God. The significant amount of teaching required to equip people with the ability to discern the times and apply Scripture by faith to all areas of life, requires diligence in all areas of learning, and at all levels of education.

Secular universities are openly hostile to the Christian worldview, and the best of the Christian colleges cannot replicate the family away from home. Nehemiah Institute worldview assessment of 1177 students in 18 Christian colleges over 7 years demonstrated that Christian students are graduating from Christian institutions with a secular humanism worldview, even where their professors have a Biblical Theist worldview. Even the above average Christian colleges are little better than their secular counterpart because the curricula are developed under the same institutional accreditation guidelines, the same text books are used, many of the faculty were trained at secular institutions, and the family learning context is ignored.

Even the best of Christian distance education does not purposefully involve the family in the learning process, nor couple with individual family convictions, nor uses the family knowledge base, nor earns family income. It is time to unplug institutional higher education and bring higher education home.

The establishment of family universities and networks based on the fellowship of the church is one solution. This can help individuals and families implement the Christian philosophy of education through developing their own family university and complementary business as a part of the dominion mandate (Psalm 8).

University education needs to be reinvented with a Biblical understanding to strengthen the family and church. Christian people can easily learn how a family university can uniquely provide the humble, relational, and Spirit led ideal Biblical higher education for their young adults to participate in building a strong Christian family, church and culture.

The benefit of a network for learning was forseen by Ivan Illich, philosopher of the 1970s who spoke in favor of home education. He stated that “If the networks I have described could emerge, the educational path of each student would be his own to follow, and only in retrospect would it take on the features of a recognizable program. The wise student would periodically seek professional advice: assistance to set a new goal, insight into difficulties encountered choice between possible methods. Even now, most persons would admit that the important services their teachers have rendered them are such advice or counsel, given at a chance meeting or in a tutorial. Pedagogues, in an unschooled world, would also come into their own, and be able to do what frustrated teachers pretend to pursue today.” Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, 1970.

There is only one such family university network in operation at this time, but the time has come for this concept and therefore this is likely just the beginning of home schooling expanding into home college.

Online Education with the University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix Online Focuses on Team Learning

Unlike some other schools, the University of Phoenix Online focuses on Team Learning. For all classes, team assignments can make up to 20% of the student’s total grade. Consequently, students get more than they bargained for when pursuing an education at Phoenix’s online university (UoP online).

Online Education for those Working Full-Time

UoP online believes that distance learning shouldn’t be a solely individual or isolated effort. In an effort to help their students do better in their careers, UoP online believes that its students should get more practice working effectively as a virtual team. Besides submitting individual short answers and papers, students must also work as a part of a team, usually on a single course long project where the work on one week builds on the week done previously.

UoP online targets mature adults who have been in the work force for at least five years. The majority of UoP online students have been career oriented for some time. By designing their online classes so that they don’t require meetings at set times, UoP online helps busy individuals advance their educations. But don’t get the wrong idea; UoP online is not set up like other distance learning programs, say a correspondence course, where you set your own timeline. UoP requires you to be online at least four times a week to participate and you need to post assignments on a weekly schedule.

Effective team work is an integral part to a successful career. Many an interview has revolved around a person’s “team spirit.” Even online jobs require collaboration to a certain degree. UoP’s stance on online team learning might educate you on more than what you signed up for, too.

University of Phoenix offers degree programs in the following fields:

o Accounting

o Health Care

o Administration

o Human Services

o Business

o Information Systems

o Counseling

o Management

o Criminal Justice

o Marketing

o eBusiness

o Nursing

o Education

o Technology Management

o Finance

Online college courses lead to salary increase

Take online college courses that you can work around your schedule. Why go back to school? How about for more money? Studies show that the more education a person has, the more that person will make over coworkers who do the same thing but are less educated.

The more education you have, the more you get paid

Another reason you should consider distance learning courses is that it can help you change careers. If you’re sick of your current job and want another career, quit dreaming and starting working toward your goals. Recognizing the need to accommodate “non-traditional” students, more colleges are setting up online courses to help educate students via online campuses. They aren’t stopping with courses either. Many colleges offer complete degree programs that you can get entirely online.

When considering what online program you will enroll in, look at the following factors:

o Costs

o Accreditation. For example, the only state that will let you sit for the bar if you get an online law degree is California.

o Program requirements. What courses do you have to take to graduate? How many classes can you CLEP out of or get credit for courses you’ve taken elsewhere?

o Distance learning tools. What does the school use for its virtual classroom? Not all schools use the same online tools.

o What kind of financial aid is available to you?

Online programs are constantly being improved so if you looked into them a few years ago, you owe it to yourself to learn what educators have been up to in the meantime.