EXPERIENCE LETTER AT AIU, BY ETTIEN ASSOA, Ph.D.
For several years, I had been looking for a suitable university where to start some courses leading to the doctorate degree in Education. Living in a French speaking African country, I decided to register on the DEA, a pre-doctoral degree that I passed with distinction. For my doctoral dissertation, the only professor in Education who used to supervise students’ research works correctly had just retired and I did not want to repeat the bad experience of a master’s thesis that took me three years to complete for lack of appropriate scientific supervision. If a thesis took me three years, how much time would a dissertation take me?
Another discouraging reason was that the University library was absolutely poor and the stock had hardly been renewed since its creation in the 1960s. In a word, we have a kind of library of the antiquity!
The last thing I did not want to be submitted to was the unnecessary delays created by our Education system for research degrees like the doctorate degree. Why should I be obliged to complete a Ph.D. in five years because our system organizes three seminars of two hours a week? Why not twenty hours a week or more and finish in one or two years?
For example I hardly accept the idea that a dissertation should take from three to five years. If it is true that some topics and researchers request or need such a long time, it is surely not the case for every student.
A research work is for me an answer to a question. Its length and the time devoted to find this answer should not be imposed. What matters, is the researcher’s answer to the question and his contribution to knowledge. Thus, the most intelligent and motivated master’s degree holders should be allowed to complete their doctorate degree as early as two or three years. For me, after determining what is to be learnt, the time factor should be left open.
The type of University I was looking for and which would take my specific needs described above as well as my need to be near my family did not exist. Consequently I dropped the idea of completing a doctorate degree and in so doing I accepted the consequent frustration as far as my career was concerned.
Then, my children started growing, with their new needs among which the need to own a computer at home. Later, the children requested for the internet at home, and progressively, they proposed to initiate me to the use of computers and the internet, which I accepted.
It is on the internet that I discovered on-line universities. American universities were making a common mistake: the first information sheet to fill in to have access to them has to be completed fully, including the applicant’s Zip code, thus unconsciously excluding non American residents who have no Zip code!