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IOU Open University online Ph.D programs

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Is self-directed learning right for you?

If you are new to the Intercultural Open University Foundation (IOUF) community you may have heard that our degree programs are "self-directed." That's a term not all universities use and it's one of the many aspects of our program that make us unique in the world

But what does it mean?

In our language, a self-directed degree means a learner carries considerable responsibility for developing and following their own intellectual exploration. Although they are mentored by a senior member of our faculty, they enjoy considerable freedom in their academic pursuits.

Each learner starts by creating an individualized curriculum of proficiency areas that are relevant to his or her chosen specializations. They then identify a research area and a plan for developing the skills needed to carry out the research.

In order to succeed at a self-directed learning program, a learner is expected to make careful and consistent use of journals that reflect the learning activities they have undertaken. Goal setting, planning and a pro-active approach to learning are also important, since a key tenet of self-directed learning is that learning can occur at any time, in any place and through any means.

The IOU Foundation encourages the "scholar-practitioner" model of learning where learners inquire about and reflect upon their own work and its social relevance. They are mentored by their faculty advisors to investigate important practical problems, to disseminate their research results to varied audiences, and to work with practitioners to implement and test research findings in their fields. At the same time, our learners perform important and socially relevant work as they undertake their studies and develop their professions.

Experience has shown that our program appeals to individuals who are highly responsible, generally creative, and very independent. It takes a fair bit of self-confidence and determination to direct one's own learning program and in an IOUF PhD program, you don't have someone standing over you calling your every move. But you are still fully accountable for the results of your academic efforts.

Self-directed learning may not work for everyone. Some people feel they need the external structure that outside expectations can provide and others find that the time and process management aspects of self-directed learning are difficult to maintain. Those who are comfortable with self-direction, however, such as the people who choose to complete their degree through the IOUF, appreciate the flexibility the method provides, and the independence it affords them. If you feel a self-directed post-graduate degree program would help you achieve the career and life goals you have set for yourself, then we invite you to connect with us to explore this option in more detail.  We'd love to help you make a difference in the world.

 

 
Partnering for Success in Distance Education

As an educational foundation focused exclusively on distance education for social change, the IOUF has a unique perspective on the world of learning. Other educational organizations certainly educate people to a PhD degree. Other institutes and associations work diligently to make the world a better place. And certainly other excellent opportunities exist for people to complete their doctorate through online education.

But as far as we know, the Intercultural Open University Foundation (IOUF) is the only organization that brings it all together in a caring academic environment that effectively gives people who have a desire to learn an opportunity to do so in a way that benefits humanity as a whole.

The IOUF community is teeming with outstanding academic and technical advisors and we are bolstered in our mission by academic partnerships with the Universidad Azteca and the Universidad Central de Nicaragua. Each of these universities is recognized and accredited by their own country's federal department of education. They are also both listed with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Handbook of Accredited Universities which is published by the United Nations and the International Association of Universities (IAU).

In exploring these partnerships, IOUF representatives were initially hopeful that the academic and other benefits to our learners would be substantial; the affiliation has exceeded our expectations and we are very pleased with the results to date.

These academic partnerships mean that the academic work our learners complete is reviewed and ultimately approved by representatives from two other social-change oriented academic institutions that we respect and trust.

We are a non-traditional academic foundation that attracts learners whose world view tends to be different from that of students at most other universities. For the most part, our learners are well into careers and charitable works that are high priorities for them. Often their activities are of key importance to their home communities, if not the world as a whole. They are already playing full out and we help them fit their post-doctoral work around their lives and their missions.

This is not how most universities work, and it was challenging to find academic partners that were sensitive to the needs of our learners while still supporting high standards of academic excellence and the imperatives of social change work.  We are most appreciative of our connection to the Universidad Azteca and the Universidad Central de Nicaragua as a result. What makes our connection to these two fine universities even more exciting is the fact that they both have an international outlook that integrates well into the global perspective inherent in the IOUF's teaching philosophy and administrative practices.

Upon completing the requirements to obtain a PhD degree, IOUF learners are awarded degrees from our partner universities as well. There is no additional cost to the process for our learners, nor is any additional work required.

If you would like more information on how you could undertake a PhD degree through the IOUF we invite you to explore our website and contact us with your questions.

 


 
Scholarship Talk and How Times Have Changed!

The high cost of education is an issue that concerns many of us in the field of higher learning and it is especially concerning for people on the "receiving end" of a degree program.

Earning a Master's or PhD degree is a big undertaking that requires a great deal of effort. It also takes time, organization, dedication and, increasingly, an awful lot of money.  This is an issue with which universities around the world struggle: governments are becoming less willing to fund institutions of higher learning, and sources of private funding are hard to come by.

The results include higher tuition fees for students and a concomitant increase in the length of time it takes a student to earn their degree: balancing work and study is a tricky task.

 
IOU Foundation at Work in the World

The founders of the Intercultural Open University Foundation (IOUF) believed that supporting the higher education of people who were dedicated to making the world a better place was crucially important. They believed in peace, harmony and justice. For all of us.

The global vision at the heart of the IOU Foundation's charter declaration is alive and well today and, in fact, we are one of very few educational foundations dedicated to international social change initiatives. Peaceful global change can only take place in the minds and hearts of people who are open to new choices. IOU Foundation helps educate the folks who can contribute to both the opening and the choosing.

 
Your IOU Foundation Degree: Four Tools for Success

We have one question for people who have been thinking about registering for a PhD degree through the IOU Foundation: What's stopping you?

For people who are academically inclined, or whose mission in life is to contribute to a better world in whatever way they can, the achievement of a PhD degree is a powerful way to open doors and generate respect for your work and your philosophy. It represents a major contribution to the world's understanding of your field and it can help you make a big difference in the lives of the people you would like to help.

 
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