University of the People (UoPeople)
University of the people, I bet you’ve heard of the name of this university somewhere on the internet, as I also bet that you wanted to know more information about it, and you kept searching for a student who can provide you with details about it. So, let me cover it as quickly as possible for you, since I’m currently a computer science (BCS) student at UoPeople.
1. What is the University of the people?
“University of the People (UoPeople) is the Education Revolution!” (UoPeople, n.d)
University of the people is an American nationally accredited and tuition-free online university, and its headquarters are located in Pasadena, California — USA.
I know I provided a lot of information in two lines, but let me split it into the following explanation:
- Nationally accredited: UoPeople is accredited by DEAC for distance education, and it’s nationally accredited which means that you might be rejected if you wanted to transfer credit to a regionally accredited university (but this is a “worst-case scenario”), because UoPeople is a well-recognized university all over the world, and it’s not a problem if you’re transferring credit from a nationally accredited university. But, lately, Uopeople received regional accreditation eligibility from WASC, which means that Uopeople is more likely to be a regionally accredited university in the near future, especially that nowadays COVID-19 pneumonia, has necessitated that all the universities should switch to online learning in the countries who clamped the quarantine.
- Tuition-free: Well, it’s not exactly what you think, because UoPeople is tuition-free and NOT completely free, which means that you’re going to pay for your degree unless you received a scholarship (you can ask your program or admission advisor for information about this step when you’re in the middle of registration). You pay for each course you take at the end of the term, and the cost differs from a course to another, for example, there are some courses that cost 100$ while some other courses cost 200$.
Now that you discovered what UoPeople is and how you pay for it, let’s move to the registration and its requirements.
2. Registration and Requirements
First things first, let’s talk about the requirements to join UoPeople, so before you think about registering for one of its programs, make sure that you meet the following criteria:
- Be 16 years old or older
- Be able to demonstrate high school completion
- Have English proficiency
To register at UoPeople, you can start by visiting their official website and read about the degrees they provide:
In the picture above, you can see a list of fields and the different degrees they have for each field, and you can read about each of them by visiting their catalog, where they provide information about what you’re going to study, how much you’re going to pay and the program requirements.
So, if you decided to hit the “apply now” button, let me spoil you by what will happen after you complete the registration form. So, once you register you’ll be assigned to an admission advisor, who will follow up with the process of your application. You’ll be asked to pay 60$ as your application fee (and yeah it’s not a scam as some people think or say), you can send it by Western Union by searching for their agencies in the city where you live. Otherwise, you can pay using your PayPal account and you can read more about it here, but if you’re in the need of a scholarship, you’ll need to contact your admission advisor and inform him/her about your financial situation and check with them if you’re eligible for a scholarship.
Okay, you’ve completed the registration part, what’s next?
Once you get accepted at UoPeople, you’ll be assigned to a program advisor, who will help you through your journey at UoPeople, you can consider him/her as your source of information after their website, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email them and request information about what you need to know, they usually reply within 24h in business days and they are so nice and helpful, that you can’t even believe that they volunteered to work for UoPeople.
After registration, you’ll be required to demonstrate your High School completion, so if you live in a country where English is not the primary language, you will need to translate your High School diploma with the help of a Sworn Translator, please note that UoPeople won’t accept papers that were randomly translated. Thus, you’re obliged to find a sworn translator who will be in charge of the translation, for people who live in Morocco, it will cost you around (150MAD ~ 14$) to (400MAD ~ 39.5$). For people who live in Casablanca, let me do you a favor and provide you with information about the translator who was in charge of translating my baccalaureate within 24h at a good price (you’ll need to provide your ID card “CIN”)
Once, you translate your High School degree, you’ll need to scan the paper and attach it to the UoPeople portal.
After completing the previous step, you’ll need to demonstrate your English proficiency, so if English is not the primary language at your country or the high school where you studied depended on another language in its learning strategy, as well that you don’t have a TOEFL or any other proof of English proficiency, you will be required to study “English Composition I”, the course that will decide if you’re qualified to be a student at UoPeople or not.
If you didn’t attach your English proficiency proof, you’ll be automatically registered to English Composition I, where you will learn about grammar and APA style, at the same time you’ll discover how to use Moodle and peer learning, as well as how the grading system works at UoPeople.
3. Moodle! English Composition I! WTH is this???
Well, Well, Well! Moodle is the platform where online learning happens, you may find it a little bit confusing in the beginning, but don’t worry you’ll get used to it with time, and UoPeople will provide some videos on how to use it.
The Moodle has many sections, but the important ones are (announcements, reading assignments, discussion forum, writing/programming assignment, learning journal, unit quiz, and grades), these sections may vary depending on the course, but for “English Composition I” you’ll have the chance to meet them all, so once you have the course available in the Moodle, the first thing to check is the reading assignments, your instructor will provide an overview about what you will do in that week, and the resources you are allowed to use in your work.
After discovering the first unit (each course is separated into 9 units = 9 weeks) in the course, you will have to start working on your assignments, please note that it’s really important to manage your time and respect the deadlines, otherwise you’ll get ZEROES.
You can start with what you find easy for you, but I suggest respecting the order that UoPeople made, so you can begin by doing the discussion subject, and once you complete your writing you’ll have to post it in the discussion forum, but it doesn’t stop here, because you’re obliged to pick 3 of your peer’s randomly and give them valuable feedback about their post, and in return, you’ll be graded from your peers at the online class, most of the people forget the feedback thing and then they start complaining about getting zeroes.
So you’ve completed the discussion forum step, what’s next? You have to check if you have a written assignment in that unit; if so, you’ll have to work on the topic and submit your writing respecting the criteria that your instructor made, please note that copy/paste in any part of your assignment, is prohibited at UoPeople and it’s considered as plagiarism, as it leads to punishment such as kicking you out of the university.
If you’re done the previous step, congratulations! because now you can breathe a little bit, for the reason that the learning journal it’s a task between you and the instructor, and it usually covers your learning progress in that unit (but not always, some exercises might be included), so you will have to write about what you did from the first day in the unit, until the last hour before submitting the learning journal, and if you have any other questions about the unit, you can message your instructor directly or mention them in the learning journal.
Finally, you’re all set up to pass the unit quiz. This quiz will define if you understood the unit very well, and it contains a QCM of different parts in the unit, and don’t worry if you got a bad mark on your first try, because this quiz it’s not counted towards your grades, and you can try as max as you want before it ends, to train your brain on what you’ve learned.
You’ll repeat the same steps, in the upcoming units but you’ll meet a new type of quizzes during some units, the graded quizzes.
Graded quizzes are counted towards your grades, and there’s no room for mistakes since there is no “try again” like unit quizzes, so make sure you are well prepared if you want a good mark in the course.
Also, there’s the review quiz, you’ll be able to see it at the end of the unit, and it’s not counted towards your grades, it’s made to train your brain for the final quiz.
Last things last, the Final Quiz! this one is the most important in all quizzes because it adds a lot to your grades, for English Composition I, it’s the test which decides your future with UoPeople, you won’t pass it in Moodle, but in another platform, and you’ll receive an email from UoPeople with the credentials to log in to the platform. For the normal courses, you’ll pass the final exam in UoPeople’s Moodle, and your grade will be updated immediately, whereas English Composition I, require passing in another platform and your grade will be updated after some days.
4. Proctored Exams and Grades!
At UoPeople, there are two types of exams:
- Proctored exams
- Non-proctored exams
In proctored exams, you’ll have to find a proctor who will monitor you during the exam. The proctor shouldn’t be someone from your family or your friend, and you shouldn’t pay them for proctoring, they must do it for free. The proctor can be someone you know from your previous High School, for example, a responsible or a professor, but this is just an example, it can be also the managing director at your company.
If you couldn’t find a proctor, UoPeople offers proctoring through ProctorU service, where you can book a session at the time you want (pay attention to the timezone), and when it’s time for the exam, your proctor will contact you to set things up and watch you through the camera. Please note that you have a good internet connection, and test your equipment (sound, microphone, and camera) before the exam, and if you choose proctorU service, note that you’re not allowed to talk, move, have a filled paper, or use your phone …etc, in another word, don’t even think about cheating, because you will be caught no matter what.
For each course, you’ll need to achieve a certain grade to pass. For English Composition I (ENGL 0101), you’ll need an average of 73% (C) to pass, otherwise, you’ll fail, and it’s the same for Developmental Algebra (MATH 0101), and for the rest of the courses, you’ll need 60% (D) to pass in the undergraduate programs (Associate or Bachelor).
4. I passed (ENGL 0101), what’s next?
If you made it to this step, congratulations on passing the course, but you’re still not officially a student at UoPeople, you’ll be automatically registered to two fundamental courses, once you complete them, you become officially a student at the University of the people. But, at this step, you’ll be responsible for your course registration, and you’ll have to register for courses in each term.
For the courses, you can take as much as your brain can handle, you can take one course per term, as you can take up to 4 courses per term, it depends on your abilities and how much free time you have in your life.
The duration of each term is 2 months, and there are 5 terms per year, in each term the normal progress of the courses is two, and most of the students register to two courses, but only students with a GPA of ≥ 3.0 can register up to 3 or 4 courses per term, and complete their degree as early as possible.
5. LOA (Leave of Absence)
LOA has always been a question for new students, so in brief, a leave of absence or loa means that you can take a break from UoPeople for a certain amount of time, but before you apply to it in the portal, make sure your that you have a good reason to leave (for example internship or sickness), otherwise your request will be rejected.
It’s really important to apply for LOA very early, and you have 1 week before the term begins, otherwise, you won’t be allowed to apply for it. Please note that:
UoPeople allows students to be inactive for up to three (3) consecutive terms but not more than three (3) terms in each academic year (September — August)
— Kavitha, Program advisor at UoPeople
Additionally, a leave of absence does not affect your grades or scholarship but make sure to not forget registration for new courses for the following term, during the period of course registration.
6. Is a degree from UoPeople worth it?
A lot of people ask this question over and over, but here’s my own opinion; If you’re into IT and a computer science student, it would be a shame to ask such a question, because as all IT experts say it’s all about your programming skills, not the diploma, for the reason that most of the good programmers are self-taught, and most of them made a career with what they have learned from the internet and not with their degrees. If so, you may ask why to study at UoPeople if it’s all on the internet? Well, yeah! I chose UoPeople for the quality of their courses and the great guidance, as well that I can’t hide that I developed my programming skills, as well as the instructors who taught us a lot of things by putting their effort and experience into each unit.
Either you’re an IT person or not, it’s all about your karma before the degree, UoPeople degree is really valuable, and offers you a career in whatever department that you are into, as well as you can complete your studies in other universities but it will take some administrative steps before you get accepted, such as transferring credit or an equation certificate in countries like Morocco (if you applied for a job in the government). Otherwise, for the private companies it’s not a problem, as long as you know how to do your job properly you got the position, and yeah before you complain about the accreditation, remember that most of the world leaders such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg didn’t succeed because of their diploma.
- UoPeople. (n.d.). Tuition-Free, Accredited Online Degree Programs. Retrieved from https://www.uopeople.edu/