Phi Beta Cons

WGU: Credential or Education?

I am agnostic as to whether Western Governors University–Indiana will be a net gain to education in my state. Yet, I firmly disagree with the online university’s current ad campaign.

Take a look at the commercial that is practically viral on my cable lineup.

In this advertisement for WGU-Indiana, we see “students” of the university (in order):

  • Putting on shoes

  • Selecting a WGU audio file on an iPhone

  • Carrying a bike down a flight of stairs

  • Looking at a watch and closing a computer

  • Running

  • Biking

  • Driving

  • Kissing a child goodbye before school

  • Biking

  • Driving

  • Biking

  • Running

  • Graduating

I get it — WGU allows its students to take classes at their own pace and on their own schedule. But, wouldn’t it be nice if its ads showed students actually doing schoolwork? It’s quite difficult to read a book, write a paper, or complete a math problem while training for a marathon.

This school may work out fine, but its present message promotes a credential, not an education.

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