So my term started November 1, 2018. Before that I had 2 enrollment counselors. The first one, who has since left, didn't seem very interested in helping me very much. Disinterested, and a little bit short/curt. They actually left while I was in the middle of the enrollment process and I was given a second enrollment counselor, Angel Ramos, who as FANTASTIC. He answered all of my questions and more and gave me a pretty accurate idea of what the WGU experience would be like, not to mention seeming excited to have me come on board with WGU.
So my enrollment experience was pretty smooth. I was assigned a program mentor (the equivalent of an advisor at a traditional school), and I took off from there. My mentor was Valery Castro and she, like Angel, was amazing. I had the chance to finish my first two courses in the first two weeks. And then, my dad had a stroke, right at the beginning of my term. I spent the next two months putting school to the back burner, and Valery checked in on me without pressure to keep going. She was empathetic and understanding to my situation and it gave me a great impression of her. It went on like that through my entire experience.
Now for the content. The actual educational content is high quality and in-depth. These education programs WILL make sure a teacher is well-prepared as far as teaching theory with many tools in the toolbox. WGU emphasizes Constructivist theory but leaves room for the others as needed. Performance assessments will have you evaluating lesson plans, other teachers' teaching, and research on education.
Where I think WGU falls short is the actual content. I chose Secondary Earth & Space science and when I compared WGU's science content classes with traditional universities, WGU's science content didn't even cover an Earth science minor at a traditional university. As educators, we should be knowledgeable in DEEP content knowledge AND science methods - not just teaching methods, but modern research and data. In fact, Geology I and II BOTH mention GIS as a valuable teaching tool but there is no GIS course at WGU. ArcGIS and other software cost money that isn't available to the average student, not to mention actual training for it. All of the science content classes were the equivalent of introductory science classes for science majors - extremely broad in scope with little depth.
In contrast, the Chemistry major at WGU goes into several subcategories of chemistry - it starts with general chem (two classes of it, in fact, whereas the other degree programs only have one), moves onto physical chem, organic chem, inorganic chem, biochem... so the Chemistry major gets in depth but other programs suffer. It makes the choice between programs inequitable. Not every program needs all of that chemistry, but every program should go that far in depth, at least, in their subject. Earth science should get separate mineralogy and petrology classes, maybe even soil science or sedimentology. Biology should get a separate ecology class (rather than lumping it in with an intro environmental science course). Not to mention electives. Electives should be offered (even if it's only a few) for each subject for further investigation and student interest. Yes, each subject can pass the PRAXIS/NES tests. Yes, each subject knows the bare minimum to teach at the secondary level. The bare minimum shouldn't be the target though, the target should be above and beyond. Some students struggle with the PRAXIS because they can't make certain connections. There is a gap that further depth would likely fill. Not to mention their peers will have gone to traditional universities and will often have an ACTUAL geology major or an ACTUAL biology major, making their content knowledge more competitive compared to the WGU graduate.
It's not that WGU needs to go all out and make their programs entirely science. They just need to go more in-depth. It'll be beneficial for both WGU AND to students in the classroom.