Groups vs. the Individual
Several prominent institutions have adopted a strong group focus to their online and offline programs, with students assigned to a cohort throughout their degrees, and that cohort having a considerable effect on each member’s progress and outcomes. Murray N. Rothbard has written about this approach in schools,
“Individuality is suppressed by teaching all to adjust to the “group”. All emphasis is on the “group”, and the group votes, runs its affairs by majority rule, etc. As a result, the children are taught to look for truth in the opinion of the majority, rather than in their own independent inquiry, or in the intelligence of the best in the field…the…effect is to substitute slogans and superficial opinion for considered individual thought. And the opinion is that of the lowest common denominator of the group.”
[Source: “Education: Free and Compulsory”, Murray N. Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises Institute (1971)]
European-American University believes in an individualized model of programme delivery, not a group model. We believe that our students will be effective team members because of the skills and attitudes they will have developed, but we do not impose a team construct for programme delivery. This is because we believe that it is inherently fairest to students to judge them on their individual merits, and most of our students, who in general have at least three years of professional experience at the time of enrolment, will already possess effective team-working skills.
In taught courses, we will endeavour where possible to assemble cohorts of students working in parallel with the intention that this will enhance the student experience. However, cohort participation is strictly voluntary and no academic penalty will arise from a decision not to participate. No academic process risks penalizing the individual through the actions of other members of the cohort to which they have been assigned.
The Adult Learner
Research indicates that working adults have considerable experience to bring to their studies that makes them more effective learners. Their skills in organization, strategic planning and interpersonal contact are just some of the aspects that place them ahead of the game in relation to younger students. However, the counterbalance to these strengths is that working adults have less time to devote to educational programmes and, because their studies are not subsidized by the state, they have fewer financial resources at their disposal.
European-American University has sought to develop educational methodologies that offer a tailored response to both of these issues. At the heart of this is understanding learning as both a cognitive and an affective process. Where the realm of the cognitive is that of facts, theories and concepts, that of the affective is concerned with a person’s “soft skills” – their interpersonal relationships, their approach to situations and their understanding of the full impact of professional practice within their chosen field. The outcome of this understanding in pedagogical terms is a programme where the emphasis is highly individualized and practically-based, and where the focus is on assessment of existing competence and the holistic ability of the student rather than on instruction as such.
Our aims for our students are that they will:
- Be effective professionals
European-American University graduates will be strongly equipped to deal with real-world problems and situations and will possess a specific skillset of professional competencies.
- Be effective communicators
European-American University graduates will be able to communicate information and concepts effectively and concisely, taking into account the level of the recipient.
- Be effective researchers
European-American University graduates, even at the associate’s or bachelor’s levels, will be able to gather information from a variety of sources and present it effectively in response to specific tasks. They will be able to make judgments on the basis of evidence and analysis.
- Be effective both in teams and on their own
European-American University graduates will possess skillsets that will make them valuable additions to teams as both team leaders and team members. They will have an awareness of the needs of others and also be able to work effectively in an independent setting.
The Active Learner
European-American University, perhaps like no other institution, places the learner at the centre of his or her own learning process. As such, the student is active, not passive, in both learning how they learn best and in the demonstration of that learning through the presentation of evidence for assessment. This is the antithesis of the traditional spoon-feeding style of instruction that many find alienating and unproductive.
As a direct result of this educational approach, European-American University achieves an unparalleled diversity within its learning styles and encourages the student to explore and respect this diversity. By achieving consistency of academic standards in assessment, the University can embrace the widest range of scholastic approaches without needing to impose a centralized or authoritarian viewpoint as to the process by which something must be done. Judgment is instead made on the basis of results – just as it is in the business world, for example.
European-American University is committed to equal access and opportunity in its programmes. By allowing the student to choose the method and the timeframe in which they earn their degree, the University offers much greater flexibility than other institutions. Students who are based within the home environment can complete their degree wholly online. Our Institutional Partners, which offer campus-based programmes, often design their schedules around the availability of working adults. Our goal is to be able to accommodate all who wish to take advantage of the opportunity to earn a degree.
European-American University does not use terms or semesters and operates a year-round enrollment schedule. Students may enrol at any time and work until their degree is completed, graduating when requirements have been met on the first day of the appropriate month. Because each student schedule is individualized, there is no waiting around for others, and no requirement to progress at the same speed as others in a group.
Technology Competency Requirements
European-American University requires of students that they possess the following competencies and facilities in respect of all programmes via distance learning, and also asks that International Partners comply on a corporate basis with these guidelines:
- Computer and Worldwide Web access, and an individual email account
- The ability to identify, locate and download information from the Web, and to use a search engine with precision
- The ability to use an appropriate antivirus product to ensure that files transmitted are virus and spyware-free.