A Model for a Virtual University…No PhD Purgatory

Blue Marble University presents what its founders believe is a model for what a virtual university should be.

“There are very few totally virtual universities in the world.  Here are the criteria we feel are important for a virtual university, and which we followed in creating Blue Marble University“,   summarized by Walter P. Drake, the Director:

1. Degree programs should be scholarly. They should not be offered in a haphazard sloppy way. Courses should be selected because they advance some goal for the degree program, not just because “everyone else” includes them. Students should achieve proficiency with respect to the subject matter.

2. Course materials should be available to students globally 24/7. What this means is that a student should not be required to attend “online classes”, but rather, courses should be offered asynchronously, wherein the students and faculty are not online at the same time. This is important when students and faculty are separated by different time zones and schedules.

3. The programs should be designed with the working adult or student with additional commitments in mind. Most people, especially those seeking advanced degrees, do not have the luxury of  just being a full-time student. This means that grading of student work should be individualized for each student, rather than using a bell shaped curve. The student has the responsibility to become proficient in the subject matter, but at the same time, the faculty should encourage and support each student’s effort. This philosophy is sometimes referred to as a “student centered” philosophy of education.

4. Graduate and undergraduate degree programs should be innovative. Educators in a virtual university, which is already an alternative approach to education, should not be timid about creating new degree programs. There is no need to follow outdated formats that “everyone else” believes is appropriate. Nor is there any need whatsoever to follow rigid “seat time” requirements, for example that a Bachelors degree should require four years.

5. A virtual university should be very affordable. Why is it that a US student can attend a Philippine medical school for $3500 per year and then practice medicine in the US, yet USA undergraduate programs are very expensive? “Affordable” should mean no more than $3500/year for a virtual university. Even less than this is better. Moreover, because a virtual university has no campus overhead and can leverage the utilization of the internet to maximum advantage, cost savings should be passed on to the students. Many, in fact most, USA colleges and universities charge the same for online courses as for on campus courses while continuing to add investments in their endowment funds.

Dr. Drake believes that Blue Marble University fulfills the above criteria for being a model virtual university. “Our programs are scholarly both in design and delivery; our online degree programs are offered asynchronously to students globally; and are designed, particularly with reference to our graduate degree programs, with the working adult or student with other commitments in mind.”

As far as being affordable, all programs at Blue Marble University are priced at $2,950 USD per year with a payment plan, or $2,550 USD annually if paid in advance.

“But innovation is where we shine” says Dr. Drake:  “First, as to graduate students, all of our doctoral programs are three year online programs comprising 72 trimester credits (the minimum for a USA based doctoral degree). Our goal is to get our students out with their degree and dissertation  in a shortened period of time, so that they are not languishing in PhD purgatory trying to complete graduate research projects.”

“Second, for high school graduates and home schooled students, we offer several fast track five year combined Bachelors and Doctoral degrees in fields such as stem cell biology, applied biology, biomedical engineering and chemical engineering. In addition, we offer shortened degrees in the humanities, computer science, and business science.”

Please visit Blue Marble University to learn more. Because when it comes to delivering a  modern virtual graduate or undergraduate education online, we just don’t “follow the book”…we wrote it!!

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