A university known for offering on-line classes has opened a campus in Iowa. A suite of rooms in West Des Moines serves as the temporary University of Phoenix “campus.” Chris Mason, the associate campus director, says they’ll soon move into permanent digs near the new Jordan Creek Mall. There will be six classrooms as well as administrative office space for Mason and others. Classess will start in January. But Mason says they’ll be “flex-net” classes. Students won’t spend much time in the classroom. Students will physically be in the classroom with their instructor for the first and last session. The rest of the course will be conducted on-line. Undergraduate courses run five weeks. Graduate level classes last six weeks. Critics question the quality of the university’s course work and the value of a University of Phoenix degree. Mason says the University is now accredited just like other universities and colleges in Iowa. Mason says the University of Phoenix is just another option for working adults and he says it’s up to students to decide what higher ed institution works best for them. About a thousand Iowans are currently taking University of Phoenix classes on-line, but Mason expects few of those students to convert to taking classes in the university’s West Des Moines center. Mason says their “target student” is someone who’s already working and unable to become a full-time student. The average age of a University of Phoenix student is 37.
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