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Western Oklahoma State College officials deny criticism of 10-day online courses

by Silas Allen Published: November 16, 2012

Western Oklahoma State College's accrediting board will evaluate so-called quick-credit courses that have made the college a target for criticism this week, college officials announced Friday.

Representatives from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools will visit the embattled school early next year to review the college's accelerated online courses.

The courses came under fire earlier this week when a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education claimed the courses offer dubious college credit with minimal time and effort. According to the report, major college athletics programs use the courses to keep their athletes eligible to play.

College officials have denied those criticisms, but others are calling the allegations against the Altus-based community college troubling.

In a letter posted on the university's website Thursday, school President Phil Birdine questioned the validity of the Chronicle of Higher Education article. Birdine said the article doesn't reflect values held by the college or its employees.

“Portions of this article have been extremely difficult to read through simply because the information presented was negatively skewed and did not offer any rebuttals or differing viewpoints from those of the reporter or his other ‘sources,'” Birdine said.

But the president of a national community college group said the article raises concerns about the credibility of the college's compressed online learning courses.

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