Back around y2k, I almost went to college. I had ditched high school a year prior and worked for a bit at the Univeristy of Maine where I expected to go, obviously planning on a EE/CE degree. I had tried to enroll when I dropped out, but you couldn’t enroll without a diploma, and the state wouldn’t let me take the GED until I was 18, unless I was enrolled in college. Despite letters from school officials pleading exceptions, there was a definite lack of a loop hole. By the time I was old enough to take the GED, I finished my diploma with night courses (prior to my previous graduation date no less).
I approached the UMO dean of the EE/CE department and assorted staff looking for guidance on where to begin. I already had five years of Linux experience, not to mention electrical and other computer experience. What I lacked was the college maths and sciences. Where to start? “At the beginning, like everyone else.” I certainly wasn’t going to pay to sit through a course that I already knew the bulk of, or worse could pick up in a fraction of the time with a text book, so it didn’t work out.
That’s been the story ever since. I’ve decided the only way I’m going to get a college education is if I get one in Agriculture or something that’s completely foreign to me. Okay, maybe Political science would be more appropriate, but you get the point.
Enter the OST / University of Illinois
I logged in, figured out the built in interface (it’s not vi, lets put it that way up front) for writing code while reading the lessons. I went through ten or so pages and started to wonder when I’d finish the first lesson, as it was getting late. Then I realized I had actually gone through 75% of the course. I went back and did all the quiz’s and objectives (write code and turn it in to an instructor), then finished the rest of the course. All in all I think it was 8-10 hours.
I spent some extra time making code work in Firefox. That was frustrating, as the course never signaled when code was IE only, I think they assumed you used IE up until the very end when they made some menu code and said right out it was IE only. The biggest hurdle was the DOM differences, eventually I just started writing the code in notepad and testing in IE, then pasting it into their interface to save it to the server and upload it to the instructor.
When is “Risk Free”, not?
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a waste of time, but it was definitely a waste of $400. Now that I’ve looked deeper into getting that 7 day risk free refund, I see that their FAQ says:
You may withdraw from a course online, at any time.
However, the deadline for withdrawing a course with a refund is 7 days from the day of enrollment. If you paid by check/money order, the “day of enrollment” refers to the day that your enrollment account becomes active.
Additionally, if half or more of the assignments within your course have been handed in by you and graded by your Instructor, a full refund is no longer possible, even within the 7 days.
There can be NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy.
Nice. Now that you fully realize this shit was crap, we’re going to keep your $400 because we know you’re not going to ever be coming back. This is a big disappointment in O’Reilly for me. I’ve written anyways asking for a refund. We’ll see what they say. “NO EXCEPTIONS”, sure, but at what point do you admit it’s the same old college scam wrapped up with some e-learning and a popular companies name? Hopefully I can still get a refund, since technically although all of my assignments are handed in, they are NOT graded yet.