University of Phoenix Online
From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
The University of Phoenix (UOP Online, UOPX) is a for-profit entity that markets higher education degrees to both traditional students and working adults. With 310,000 students, it describes itself as the largest accredited private university in North America.
The University of Phoenix was founded in 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona, US, and is owned by Apollo Group, Inc. It presently offers over 100 degree courses via more than 102 physical campuses and 157 learning centres across the US, Canada, Mexico and the Netherlands. Programmes are offered at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels; students may attend face-to-face evening classes, study online, or blend the two modes as preferred. Of roughly 21,000 faculty members, all who teach at the bachelor's and master's levels are professionally employed within their respective fields. In 2007 the average age of University of Phoenix students was early 30's; 65% were women.
Online courses at UOPX are delivered via a proprietary system, and focus largely on the use of asynchronous bulletin boards.
In 2007 Apollo Group Inc. announced a $1 billion joint venture with private equity firm the Carlyle Group, 'Apollo Global', which targets education investments and partnerships in countries outside the U.S.
University of Phoenix classes are offered in sequence, with most lasting no more than five or six weeks. Degrees are typically completed within two to three years. Note that some 'online' programmes (e.g. educational and doctoral) have requirements such as field work, clinical work or residencies, indicating a face-to-face component. UOPX received US accreditation to deliver its first PhD degrees in 2007.
In an Apollo Group restructuring, UOPX acquired Axia College in 2006, altering both the organisation's student demographics and the range of courses offered. (Axia alone has over 100,000 students, most of whom are beginning-level college students.) Axia's teaching methodologies and programmes may also differ slightly from those described above.