Rexburgmom,Sorry you and your kids had a poor experience. I recently
graduated from BYU-I, and loved my experience. I heard very few complaints.
Those I did hear fall into two categories. First, students that gave
insufficient effort. Some accepted responsibility. But many blamed the school
for shortened semesters, or the learning model, rather than lack of personal
preparation. I know, because sometimes I failed to prepare and whined about the
system. Sure it's difficult, but college should stretch us. Blaming others
can seem easier than taking personal responsibility.Second, students that
pushed the limits of a dress or honor code they freely committed to live upon
enrolling. It's interesting that I've never heard anyone complain
about the code when they first arrive, only after they violate it and are
reminded of their commitment. I am not preaching here because I was reminded
more than once to be clean-shaven. I, predictably, whined. But the failure to
keep my commitment wasn't the schools fault. They kept their commitment to
me. I decided I should keep my commitment to them.My take... Great
experience. Great faculty. Great education. Great school. And private rooms were
Being among students and faculty who share your beliefs and standards is unique
and rewarding. My kids made some great friends, learned from excellent teachers.
You can get a great undergraduate education at BYU-I. But after a few years my
own kids and their friends have seen and personally experienced the negatives
that are behind the projected image. Some faculty are open about
their frustration with their friends privately. I am friends with faculty and
spouses in my ward and in town; also with other parents of students who attend.
There is cynicism, burnout, stress, discouragement and distrust of the
administration. Theres a weird feeling of being controlled here at
BYU-I. Every little move is regulated. For example, to avoid temptation,
everyone is required to share a room with a roommate. Most students must live in
dorms or apartment complexes so that they might teach one another like the
Learning Model requires. Forget about your own preference to rent your own room
off campus for privacy and quiet. And if you dont report a roommates
infractions of the honor code, you are in trouble and called before the honor
committee to answer for it.
Armstrong has a great question... documentation is always good.All I
can offer is personal anecdotes. My daughters are having a
tremendous experience on that campus. My oldest is graduating having had
presitgious internships in DC and New York (obtained through the school -- no
help from daddy) and has qualified for grants to attend a serious law school.
She's the kind of kid who would have done that anywhere... but BYUI didn't seem
to hold her back.The next daughter is just finishing her frshman
year - but seems to be on a similar track. And everyone's testimonies seem to be
just fine.The things I hear from all the grumpygusses here are the
same things I hear from people at the university where I teach (as an adjunct)
in the graduate business school. The professors don't care, the students are
stupid, the administration only cares about money, there is not enough/too much
religion... blah blah. I am impressed with the significant risk the
University has taken in trying something new. The jury will not be in for
years, when the alumni start ponying up the dinero... but it looks like a good
The goals were to expand access, keep costs down, and improve the quality of
student learning. The series of articles provided evidence of the first two but
not of the third. Showing that student evaluations of instructors have inched up
does not count as evidence of improved student learning since course evaluations
have been shown to correlate with the grades the students expect in the course
but not with how much students learned in the course.The third
article mentions the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). Does BYU-Idaho
administer the CLA to its students? If so, what have the results been? Comparing
pre-innovation and post-innovation CLA results would help determine whether the
quality of student thinking and writing has gone up or down in recent years. CLA
results for BYU-Idaho would also show how the university compares to a national
sample of colleges and universities with regard to these important skills.
Shortened 13-week semesters cause real problems. Content has been cut in order
to fit, meaning less time for reading, research, projects, and writing.
Everything is condensed and intense for both teachers and students. More
students can attend, but education quality is worse.BYU-Is Learning
Model doesnt work in large classes or subjects like math or science. Professors
try to do group projects and presentations but there are always slackers who try
to coast on the work of a few. A lot of time is wasted with these gimmicks. Nothing is new here. Remember peer teaching? Trends in education come
and go. Good teachers already lead discussions in class, help the students learn
to think, read, study, and work on projects with their peers. To be effective, a
good teacher should be allowed to teach in the way that fits their personality.
But at BYU-I professors are forced into the Learning Model. My son
told me about frustration in his calculus class for both teacher and students.
Finally the teacher returned to his favorite way of teaching and the class
improved greatly. I hope other schools dont try to copy this failed experiment.
I thoroughly enjoyed these articles!! I applaud all who seriously, and bravely
look at changes in ways to make a college education more affordable and more
accessible, although I don't agree that everyone needs to go to college. As
someone who pursued a Ph.D. with the intention of becoming an academic, I also
am amazed at faculty who are willing to do without all the "trappings"
of academia i.e. tenure, publishing etc. Universities anywhere, that truly
focus on undergraduate teaching should be applauded. Thanks to the
Deseret News for calling my attention to what is happening up at BYU Idaho. The
"results" remain to be seen, but surely such efforts are worth noting.
To RexburgMom and BYUI Professor, who curiously sound like the same person, I
have a daughter attending, a son who just graduated, and a daughter-in-law also
a recent graduate and their collective experiences are vastly different than
what you have described. My son even changed majors three times and had
exceeded the credit guideline, but the university was generous in working with
him. Regarding 13 week semesters, they have had no complaints and while they
did have to work hard (novel idea), they had 26 weeks in school and 26 weeks to
work and participate in internships. As BYU-Idaho is a church school with a
mission to "build testimonies" it should be no surprise that the
gospel is front and center and if someone feels it is crammed down their
throats, they probably should consider a secular school that likely is better
fit for their values and standards.To Larry M., the online web page
states 15 resident credits is the minimum (not 30) and students in the Pathway
Program start their online degree through BYU-Idaho with no resident credit
requirement and a tuition of $65 per credit and no cost for the religion
Nothing that BYU-I is doing can be or should be copied by public schools. The
value of online classes is limited. Some students do well with online classes;
some do their best learning in a regular classroom. Online courses are only
helpful for certain types of classes. I can imagine an English literature class
online, but not a chemistry or physics class. And in a literature class, a
student can gain more understanding as the teacher explains and as the students
share their ideas. All that interaction is missing online. Can you imagine
learning physics without the teacher using the chalkboard, answering questions,
and demonstrating principles of physics with experiments? Human
beings are generally social and thrive when they can interact with others in a
positive learning environment. Even the quiet students (like I was) who avoid
speaking in class, can learn and benefit as they listen carefully to everyone
else. Ive taken a few long-distance courses; I did learn, and I
enjoyed some of it. But its easy to get distracted and its really second best.
Nothing can replace being with other students learning from an effective
Another informative article. Thanks for teaching us about this university. It is
great to see how BYUI has grown and managed that huge growth in a positive
way.I have had many friends go to BYUI (I went to a different
university) and they all loved their time there. I am excited to see the growth
in the city with the university, the temple, and other economic/business
developments. This has been a great underdog story!
Eyring and Christensen (from Harvard) are basically proposing
"solutions" that will reduce the competition to the elite schools.Other elite universities (I do not include BYUI here) have looked at
these solutions for years and they are *not* rushing to implement this. Just
because Christensen says it's 'disruptive' means nothing. Just because others
label it "innovative" doesn't mean it is. When the Ivies start
implementing this, then we can talk.
The *only* reason students agree to the summer model is because they are
*desperate* for the BYU label. Are the top professors teaching in the
summer?Graduate schools and employers have a very jaundiced view of
Not much innovation here. The articles read mor like an advertisment then a news
story. BYU-I is secong rate and gets the left overs of those not admitted to
BYU. This series of articles will surely be a yawner, just another ad campaign
for the church.
In addition to having online classes beamed in from remote sites why not beam
out classes to other places. The church school system could hire the best
physics professors and have them teach to a local site as well as sites at other
church schools. Long distance classes with interactive TV are happening
elsewhere. Morehead State University in Kentucky has been doing this for several
years. This could eliminate the duplication of programs and give the best
education possible to all LDS students attending church schools.
Again, not much innovation here...the online bachelor degrees are only available
to those with 30 credits previously completed on-campus. That's straight from
the BYUI website so don't write comments that they're available to all.The tuition is definitley a bargain, but the non-LDS tuition is a better
comparison. At around $300 per credit (non-LDS), it's a great deal but closer to
tuition at some private colleges in small towns.You want innovation?
BYU-Hawaii quietly offers online classes for $50 per credit (LDS or not). Now
that's unheard of for a university.
Re: "The D-News is on the "reform" bandwagon that vouchers and
the internet will magically improve public schools."Whoooeeee
-- UEA/NEA are really touchy about anything that might contradict their
legislative agenda and bargaining position aren't they?They insist
we ignore the elephant in the room -- their declining levels of performance --
unless it validates their precious status quo and involves throwing more money
at them.They're apparently incensed, believing DN has violated some
obligation to suppress news of anything that might threaten improvement to
horribly overpriced and dreadfully underperforming public schools -- unless it
also calls for more money for their members.Well, at least it
demonstrates their real level of commitment, both to our kids' education, and to
their personal pecuniary interests.
Im a faculty member at BYU-Idaho concerned by the portrayal of BYUI as Zion.
There are good points, e.g. faculty whos primary interest is the student.
However, theres also a dark side, and, though I teach here, I would not have my
children attend this university, despite a huge tuition break. Ive watched many
students arrive as freshmen excited to study at The Lords University, only to
part as cynics, questioning not only the inspired nature of school
administrators, but that of Church leaders in general. In my attempts at damage
control, Ive found three overriding reasons for discontentment: 1) a low credit
cap that forces them into a major before theyre ready and to remain in that
major after they've discovered the mistake, making them feel like cattle being
forced through a chute merely to make room for others; 2) an environment in
which religion is pushed down their throats ad nauseam; and 3) a setting so
tightly controlled and monitored that they couldnt make a mistake if they tried.
What good is a BYUI Experience," if that experience leads students away
from, rather than toward, the gospel?
Im appalled by the biased articles about BYU-I. Three of our kids attended. One
son and his wife graduated. The others transferred elsewhere. All were damaged
by their experiences. The students are wonderful and the faculty are excellent.
However, I would never encourage others to come and regret sending my own. Here
are a few reasons: semesters shortened to 13 weeks, cutting seriously into
course content and preparation time; replacement of GE with Foundations, in
which faculty teach out of their knowledge areas; the Learning Model, in which
students replace faculty as instructors; mandated online courses, which students
hate and which are seriously inferior to the in-class experience they paid for;
a low credit-hour cap, locking students into majors they find too late they do
not want to pursue and preventing them from taking courses out of pure interest;
a highly artificial, so-called, spiritual environment; and monitoring of their
every move to make sure that not one is lost to honor code infractions. My
children entered excited to learn in a gospel-centered environment and left
cynical about the school and the Church. I sent them to strengthen, not weaken,
Foxtrot,These are articles meant to justify huge classes in Utah's
K-12 public schools because "innovative" online learning will fix
everything. I agree with the BYU-Idaho teaching emphasis over
research, but that doesn't apply to K-12 schools. They're already doing that
with a completely different population than BYU-Idaho. The D-News is on the
"reform" bandwagon that vouchers and the internet will magically
improve public schools.
These articles have been fascinating. I had no idea that all these incredible
innovations have been going on at BYU-I. This is truly an inspired program.
Thanks for helping stem the tide of rising costs without any real benefits.
It's great to have options like this that make sense.Great
Leadership. Love it.
I would like to be a pert of this!
I guess I don't get the rationale for the "sell job" that the DN is
trying to provide BYU-Idaho. Is year round school and distance learning really
innovative? Isn't it possible that the rapid growth of the campus has something
to do with exactly this article talks about? Making it EASIER to get through