Is this a scam? Laureate Online Education & University of Liverpool MSc programmes

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
67 replies 100.1K views
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  • agrinnallagrinnall
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    Froggitt wrote: »
    I guess one day you will get a job and stop sponging off whoever is funding your wide and varied education.

    I must admit the words "perpetual student" did come to mind...
  • edited 10 February 2016 at 5:07PM
    andykt83andykt83 Forumite
    2 Posts
    edited 10 February 2016 at 5:07PM
    What a strange collection of angry posts from people with no experience of the subject. Many of you are simply making unproven accusations about the University of Liverpool's online courses, and then getting angry at your own unfounded suspicions. If you believe that an idea is true simply because you thought of it, then you could just as easily invent the idea that owls cause global warming, and then get angry at owls.

    Owls don't cause global warming. And Liverpool's online courses are not a scam. Allow me to share my experiences.

    I completed the online version of Liverpool's Master of Public Health (MPH) program, which took around two and half years. It was tough, absolutely knackering at times, and I had 10 years of previous experience as an academic researcher, including a PhD. The reason I did the MPH was that I wanted to move away from the field I obtained my PhD in (evolutionary biology) and into public health. It worked; I am now a Research Fellow working on the epidemiology of cancer (at UK university that isn't Liverpool), and have been told that it was the relevance of my MPH that got me the job, not my (less relevant) PhD.

    The tie-in with Laureate certainly does cause some issues, some of which have been spotted by even the angriest of you on here, including that few faculty are employed by the University itself (although they are 'vetted' by the University); definitely a valid point. I'm not so sure I agree with the points about not having permanent access to the actual campus... if you wanted to learn on the campus itself, why would you do a distance-learning degree rather than a normal one? Anyway...

    There were also various personal annoyances specific to an online degree, such as some tutors being slower than others in responding to concerns and having to wait five months(!) from handing in my dissertation to receiving my mark, due to the Board of Examiners only meeting to ratify grades at certain times of the year. Unfortunately I was part of the final cohort on the old version of this programme and many of my modules had not been updated for five years, which I found very frustrating, but the curriculum has now been completely updated.

    These and other concerns were highlighted by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA) in their review of the online MPH, which can be found here (I've had to change the syntax as I can't post URLs in my first forum post):

    aphea.net[forward slash]docs[forward slash]ExecS[forward slash]UoL_exec_sum.pdf

    and Liverpool are no doubt acting on their recommendations. The most important thing to note, however, is that the course HAS BEEN ACCREDITED by the APHEA, which demonstrates that the MPH is rigorous and well-regarded, and is also recognised by the UK Faculty of Public Health.

    In short, although there are certainly some issues resulting from the partnership between Liverpool and Laureate highlighted both by students and in the APHEA report, the University of Liverpool's online degrees are difficult, rewarding, fully accredited and as valued and well-regarded by employers as their regular on-campus degrees.
  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K Posts
    Congrats on your MPH.

    I guess I am one of your angry birds!!! I don't disagree with anything in your post. However, presumably you will also agree with the statement "There is virtually no connection with University of Liverpool other than the licensed use of the name as a marketing tool".

    http://info.roehampton-online.com/programmes/health/master-of-public-health-mph/ I would guess is the same course as "University of Roehampton Online Degrees are delivered in partnership with:" guess who?
    illegitimi non carborundum
  • edited 10 February 2016 at 9:50PM
    andykt83andykt83 Forumite
    2 Posts
    edited 10 February 2016 at 9:50PM
    No, not really... I'd agree that there is certainly little interaction with actual University of Liverpool staff members during the course itself, as most of the tutors are employed by Laureate (although this has since changed, or at least is changing; I saw job adverts for tutors for this course last year who were to be employed specifically by the University itself). But, it is the University that sets the syllabus, the marking and grade criteria, the dissertation format, etc. It's basically a University of Liverpool-designed course, run by Laureate.

    I don't know much about the University of Roehampton, in fact I'd never heard of it. But their MPH isn't accredited. The fact that Laureate also partners with them is no reflection on other Laureate-partnered courses. Remember Laureate is just a vehicle to help run an online course, it is the University who has the responsibility to make it high standard, and to gain accreditation. Laureate just get paid to deliver what the University tells them to.

    In short:

    Good university + Laureate = good online degree.

    Crap university + Laureate = crap online degree.
  • edited 6 March 2016 at 9:38AM
    isplummisplumm Forumite
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    edited 6 March 2016 at 9:38AM
    andykt83 wrote: »
    No, not really... I'd agree that there is certainly little interaction with actual University of Liverpool staff members during the course itself, as most of the tutors are employed by Laureate (although this has since changed, or at least is changing; I saw job adverts for tutors for this course last year who were to be employed specifically by the University itself). But, it is the University that sets the syllabus, the marking and grade criteria, the dissertation format, etc. It's basically a University of Liverpool-designed course, run by Laureate.

    I don't know much about the University of Roehampton, in fact I'd never heard of it. But their MPH isn't accredited. The fact that Laureate also partners with them is no reflection on other Laureate-partnered courses. Remember Laureate is just a vehicle to help run an online course, it is the University who has the responsibility to make it high standard, and to gain accreditation. Laureate just get paid to deliver what the University tells them to.

    In short:

    Good university + Laureate = good online degree.

    Crap university + Laureate = crap online degree.

    Indeed - I did my MSc in Operations & Supply Chain Management via Liverpool & Laureate - passed it in September 2011.

    I actually went to Liverpool to pick up my Masters.

    The only issues I had was with the tool we were using - it was a bit crap - but hopefully in 5 years it has improved.

    Basically there a number of modules - each lasting 8 weeks - each week we had to write one or two answers to questions (500 words) and then comment on other students answers - we also had to write an essay of about 3000 words each week.

    Then we had to do a research piece - lasted about 9 months.

    It was very hard work - most people doing this work full-time - I was spending a lot of time flying around the world on a major global project, so found it tough!

    Mark
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  • DO NOT TOUCH THESE COURSES! They are a complete rip-off! You pay more than an on-campus student and don't get access to ANY of the student support services including the careers service. None of this is outlined to you when they are calling you every hour with the hard sell. Their 'consultants' are useless and will tell you anything to get you to sign up (I was told I could access the careers service by the consultant and when I contacted the careers service they informed me that they are not contracted to deliver a service to Laureate students and referred me to the awful Laureate Online Careers Service, google it, you'll be amazed at how rubbish it is.
    Now try to complain about the lies you have been told about the course and you might as well talk to the wall. Once they have your money you're at their mercy and they will just constantly fob you off.

    AVOID LAUREATE LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!!!!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
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    This from a newbie with no previous posts. :rotfl:
  • isplummisplumm Forumite
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    DO NOT TOUCH THESE COURSES! They are a complete rip-off! You pay more than an on-campus student and don't get access to ANY of the student support services including the careers service. None of this is outlined to you when they are calling you every hour with the hard sell. Their 'consultants' are useless and will tell you anything to get you to sign up (I was told I could access the careers service by the consultant and when I contacted the careers service they informed me that they are not contracted to deliver a service to Laureate students and referred me to the awful Laureate Online Careers Service, google it, you'll be amazed at how rubbish it is.
    Now try to complain about the lies you have been told about the course and you might as well talk to the wall. Once they have your money you're at their mercy and they will just constantly fob you off.
    Actually not sure I disagree with all of this - I found the communication a bit crap once I had signed and as stated earlier the tools we used were very frustrating - I also found some of the teachers a bit non responsive .... but in the end I managed to get my MSc - so it is possible to do this.

    Mark
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  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K Posts
    It is what it is, and its not what its not.

    Its an online MSc with all the things that go with an online MSc, its not a Liverpool University taught MSc with all the things that go with a Liverpool University MSc.
    illegitimi non carborundum
  • I worked for UoL online / KIT / Laureate.

    It is a scam. Sorry ... That's the truth.

    Who am I ... I worked as a admissions adviser (AKA salesperson ... monthly targets, commission based pay, in the Amsterdam office) ... I am now a PhD student at a real university.

    UoL is a real university offering quality studies to a high standard (Russell group, etc.). However the UoL Online is essentially a franchise sold to a company called KIT (bought by Laureate Online in 2005) who solely offered, ran, and graded their own students, and paid UoL a license fee for each student. The deal was that UoL would provide "legitimate" degrees for the students that KIT pushed through their own in-house programmes for a fee. The "instructor/lecturers" are the cheapest of the cheap, often without PhD's themselves, who are just earning a pittance to supplement their own day jobs as academics elsewhere (but not at the UoL!)

    The quality of the studies was very low (appalling really!), the admissions standard was very low. The main criteria for admission was the ability to collect on the tuition fees (seriously!), and the ability to complete coursework in something close to English.

    My job as an "Admissions Adviser" was to sell the programme to prospective students, whilst not letting on I was a sales person being paid a commission. It was telesales, we underwent a week of "sales training" focusing on qualifying leads, establishing motivations, establishing and addressing objections, pitching a product, and closing the sale. Everyone got a "time limited scholarship" of 10-20% if that was required to close the sale this student intake. If we didn't hit targets we got terminated (I hit targets ... but left to do a masters programme at a real university)

    I even attended two courses of the MBA programme so I could understand what I was selling! Absolute garbage ... My high school teachers would have been disappointed with the standard of work considered passable!

    The honest truth is that almost all distance studies programmes are garbage ... no matter what the sale person tells you there is no substitute for in-class face-to-face learning. No online forum is remotely comparable. All these courses do (if you are lucky) is qualify that you have read and can quote from a textbook, not that you have understood it. UoL barely even does that.

    If all you want is a piece of paper for someone in the future who won't look too closely at it ... this is perfect for you! But it's an expensive piece of paper. For that price you may as we actually do the real work some where legitimate!

    If you want to learn something, and actually improve yourself? ... look for a "in person" course with a real university. Learn directly from people who know what they are talking about.

    To Summarise ... UoL is a real University ... UoL Online is a franchise selling !!!!!!!! wrapped up as quality. You are worth more than !!!!!!!!! Don't fall for the sales spiel!
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