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WGU MSCSIA update.
#1
DISCLAIMER: My experience at WGU is based from the perspective of being an I.T. Professional for over 20 years, and working for nearly 8 years in Corporate Cybersecurity Policy. Results may vary.(Thought I should note this after seeing another post raging about people disclosing fast completion times).

I decided to take a little time and make a contribution, here, as I have made very few within the past year.  If anyone is interested in the MSCSIA program at WGU, I hope this info helps.

My term started on 12/01/2019.  I am just a bit over 7 weeks into my first term, getting ready to close out my second month.  I have completed all requirements for my first term, in entirety, in 7 weeks.  That includes taking a week off for Christmas and doing absolutely NOTHING school related over the holidays.  Five courses, including orientation, are in my rear view mirror.

My mentor has opened several courses from my proposed second term and I am close to completing the course requirements for the second term, already.

If you are an I.T. professional, already, or have completed undergrad in CompSci or Cybersecurity, I highly recommend this program for anyone that needs to check the proverbial Masters box, or would like to move quickly through a program based on your existing experience.

Here are some observations from the program so far:

1)  Pre-assessments do not reflect the actual content of the final Objective Assessment.  Before my term started, I was given access to every pre-assessment for every class.  I passed every pre-assessment in one day.  I later found out that this did not necessarily mean you would pass the final O.A.  I became cocky with my very first class, and decided that I was going straight to the O.A. immediately after passing the pre-assessment.  I failed.  LOL!  Once you fail an O.A., your instructor gets involved, and he\she will set benchmarks that you need to complete in order for him or her to open the exam up again.  I find the Knowledge Checks in the course material, and the flashcards to be a much better gauge of my readiness for the exam.  I have not failed one since that first attempt.

2) Proctoring is done through Examity, and I find their proctoring much quicker to set up and get through the verification process than Proctor U.  I love the fact that I can schedule a test less than a half hour before I decide to take it.  I have come home from work on a Friday night, and decided on a spontaneous whim that I was ready for the test.  Login to Examity, schedule my test for 45 minutes later, and BAM!  Test is complete and passed 90 minutes after deciding to take it. 

3)Some courses require writing projects.  They are called Performance Assessments.  I fully expected them to be APA or MLA format writing projects, much like the TESU Capstone.  Not even close for this program.  All writing projects, so far, have been templates that they provide, and you simply fill out.  As long as spelling and basic format is good, you are not going to fail it on mechanics.  I fully expect that this program's Capstone will be more difficult.  Writing projects in this program are graded very quickly.  I have had one submission graded in under two hours.  The longest has taken 8 hours.  None have ever taken even close to a day.  Re-submissions for fixes are also done quickly.  Two to three hours in my case.  In my opinion, this is not "writing".  It is nothing more than filling out a form.  However, you do have to come up with the material on your own, many times at a High-Technical level.  One project, I built a database solution using HAPROXY front ends, SQL Server in Highly Available configurations, etc.  Once that was created, I had to score the risk based on a DREAD scoring system.  I did it in less than a day, and passed on first submission. Keep in mind, this is a "policy" targeted course, and not strictly science or technical. Writing assessors are looking for you to hit Rubric goals, and not looking for technical accuracy. I have heard of many Redditors that have taken the course, and passed these writing assignments on totally fictional, made up hardware. The Rubric wasn't necessarily looking for you quote a real Dell Server model. It was looking for you to address the Rubric point of WHAT concept or policy that your proposal addressed. Example: "I am proposing two Dell Servers with 2019 SQL in an availability group to address the CIA Triad concept of Availability". The assessors are looking for the last portion of that sentence. They could care less if the Dell Server or if SQL 2019 actually exists. Or, in one case if you quote Windows 2019 Server, you might be doing it to address a requirement to keep an existing client on Windows platform, per their executive staff. Your sentence needs to say WHY you picked Windows, in detail. WRITE YOUR PAPERS TO THE RUBRIC. In many instances, the assessors are not even subject matter experts on the course.

4) Mentoring in my case, has been very good.  My mentor is relatively local to me and we can talk about neighborhood landmarks and other common points of interest.  Not sure if they have lots of mentors that are local to the students or if this was just a coincidence in my case.  I meet with my mentor once a week on the phone.  Meetings are seldom more than 15 minutes.  I have only consulted with an instructor once.  They were helpful and accommodating, as well as VERY easy to get in touch with.

5) Ask your instructor questions!!!!!!!!!!!  Not that you necessarily might need the help, but they know secrets that are super helpful.  My mentor keeps pushing me to talk to the instructor more.  Reason being, I am doing WAY more on my writing projects than needs to be done.  There have been some writing assignments that had very vague instructions.  I literally wrote three times the material needed.  Not knowing that an instructor would have told me to scale it back to proposing ONE system upgrade and not the THREE that I did.  The rubric said to do all three.  My instructor said that one proposal would have done the trick and passed. 

In summary, I love the Proficiency Model that WGU offers.  As a full time working father of three boys, it is incredible.  I would never want my kids to do it, at this point in their lives. They need the social interaction and structure that campus life offers.  But, for us old timers..........this is awesome.

I am positive that I could finish this program in one term, but I am giving myself two terms.  I hope to finish in the second month of the second term.  I believe it can be done without breaking too much of a sweat.

If anyone has specific questions about the program of classes, please feel free to send me a message, or ask it right here in the forum.

Thanks for listening.
Western Governor's University
MSCSIA - ~50% complete in 11 weeks time.
Thomas Edison State University
B.A.L.S 2019 
ASNSM - Computer Science - 2018 
Pierpont College
Board of Governor's AAS, AOE Information Systems - 2017
WGU Cybersecurity Scholarship Recipient.
40 Credits from Stark State College(B&M), 100 ACE credits (mix of Straighterline, Study.Com, TECEP, etc.), TESU LIB-495 Capstone.
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#2
Thank you for sharing and this is all great to hear!


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#3
(01-26-2020, 10:21 AM)ChilliDawg Wrote: Proctoring is done through Examity

FYI, Examity is not the only proctoring provider available to you. You have the choice of using Examity or ProctorU. It seems random as to which proctor you are assigned, but typically you'll stick with the same proctor service until the end of your degree program unless you ask to change it. You can switch at any time by contacting Assessment Services.

People's experience with each proctor varies, but I found them to be about the same. Of course, I never had any issues with either one. That said, there are plenty of stories about people who have had issues with Examity or ProctorU and found the other to be superior after switching.

(01-26-2020, 10:21 AM)ChilliDawg Wrote: In many instances, the assessors are not even subject matter experts on the course.

This is not normally the case. I suspect that people who are in related fields may be called in to help when a particular course is understaffed, but it is not the norm.

Assessors are hired specifically because they are experts in the subject matter of the courses they are assigned to. In most cases, they must have a doctoral degree in the subject, though some undergrad courses support assessors with only a master's degree in the subject.
In Progress: Researching doctoral degree programs
Up Next: Debating between starting on a doctorate or another master's degree

Complete:
MBA in IT Management, 2019, Western Governors University
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#4
I was not aware that Proctor U was available, although I suspected that it might have been at one time, seeing as some of the WGU proctoring instructions do specify Proctor U login screenshots.  I have been pushed to Examity each time.  Having done over 20 Proctor U sessions during my time working towards a TESU degree, and doing 5 Examity while with WGU, so far......I really prefer Examity.  The set up time, and verification time seems shorter to me.  Not sure if Proctor U has changed in the past year, but I do not remember them allowing me to schedule a test 45 minutes out.  I love that whole spontaneous testing thing.

As for my comments on Subject Matter Expert assessors, I will admit that my source was some of the folks on Reddit who said that.  So, I should clarify that.

I was looking at Cybersecurity job listings on Indeed the other day, just to see what the jobs were demanding for education and experience.  I noticed that WGU is hiring assessors, and as you stated, the specified a minimum of a Masters Degree.

In any event, I love the format of this program.  I am able to move through it at a steady and brisk pace.  I look forward to maybe trying the MBA program next, before I move on to a Brick and Mortar Grad Degree, which is my ultimate goal.
Western Governor's University
MSCSIA - ~50% complete in 11 weeks time.
Thomas Edison State University
B.A.L.S 2019 
ASNSM - Computer Science - 2018 
Pierpont College
Board of Governor's AAS, AOE Information Systems - 2017
WGU Cybersecurity Scholarship Recipient.
40 Credits from Stark State College(B&M), 100 ACE credits (mix of Straighterline, Study.Com, TECEP, etc.), TESU LIB-495 Capstone.
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#5
In related news, WGU just announced that starting in February all students will begin a phased change to Examity for all online proctored assessments. My guess is that WGU just renegotiated their OLP rates and Examity is giving them better pricing.

After the switchover, ProctorU will still be available on a limited basis (in a reduced capacity). They are probably leaving it open for people who cannot get Examity to work for one reason or another.

A lot of people are up in arms about this change in the WGU communities because they either don't like Examity or have had problems with their service in the past and specifically requested ProctorU.
In Progress: Researching doctoral degree programs
Up Next: Debating between starting on a doctorate or another master's degree

Complete:
MBA in IT Management, 2019, Western Governors University
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#6
I only ever used Examity at WGU, but have used ProctorU with a few alt-credit providers. Both of them can be a pain, but I much preferred Examity.
In Progress: MS Cybersecurity, Georgia Tech (12/32cr), 2021?
BS IT Security, Western Governors University, 2018
BA Psychology, Thomas Edison State University, 2016
AA Sociology, Chaffey College, 2015

View all of my earned credits on my Omni Transcript!
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#7
(01-30-2020, 07:31 PM)jsd Wrote: I only ever used Examity at WGU, but have used ProctorU with a few alt-credit providers. Both of them can be a pain, but I much preferred Examity.

I have never used Examity, but I’m all for as many schools as possible to phase out ProctorU since they aren’t fun to work with.
Current Goal: Working on final courses before starting SOS110 and Capstone — BALS in Social Science (TESU — 114/120)
Future Goal: MBA in IT Management or MBA in Mass Communications


Current Course(s):  Capstone and SOS-110 (Beginning May)

Sophia (3); Institutes (3); TEEX (21); CSM (3); CLEP (12); SL (45); InstantCert (6)Study (21)
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#8
(01-30-2020, 06:45 PM)Merlin Wrote: A lot of people are up in arms about this change in the WGU communities because they either don't like Examity or have had problems with their service in the past and specifically requested ProctorU.

They are crazy.  ProctorU is like torture.  It makes me angry and then puts me at a disadvantage when testing because something ALWAYS goes wrong.  They take forever, every time.  I've had it take as long as 60 minutes, and the shortest time I think was 25, to set up.  It's like reinventing the wheel every time you take a test, and I had the "gold" thing when I was taking a lot, and it STILL took a long time.  I loathe them.  After using RPNow, I can't imagine going back to ProctorU. Ugh.
TESU BSBA/HR 2018 - WVNCC BOG AAS 2017 - GGU Cert in Mgmt 2000
EXAMS: TECEP Tech Wrtg, Comp II, LA Math, PR, Computers  DSST Computers, Pers Fin  CLEP Mgmt, Mktg
COURSES: TESU Capstone  Study.com Pers Fin, Microecon, Stats  Ed4Credit Acct 2  PF Fin Mgmt  ALEKS Int & Coll Alg  Sophia Proj Mgmt The Institutes - Ins Ethics  Kaplan PLA
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#9
(02-01-2020, 12:58 AM)dfrecore Wrote:
(01-30-2020, 06:45 PM)Merlin Wrote: A lot of people are up in arms about this change in the WGU communities because they either don't like Examity or have had problems with their service in the past and specifically requested ProctorU.

They are crazy.  ProctorU is like torture.  It makes me angry and then puts me at a disadvantage when testing because something ALWAYS goes wrong.  They take forever, every time.  I've had it take as long as 60 minutes, and the shortest time I think was 25, to set up.  It's like reinventing the wheel every time you take a test, and I had the "gold" thing when I was taking a lot, and it STILL took a long time.  I loathe them.  After using RPNow, I can't imagine going back to ProctorU. Ugh.

Examity is pretty much a carbon copy of ProctorU. There are plenty of reports of people having the same kinds of issues with them that people had with ProctorU. If anything, I'd say Examity was even more picky than ProctorU in terms of the testing environment, etc. Neither of them hold a candle to RPnow in terms of convenience or ease of use.

The main advantage that I saw with Examity was that they don't require scheduling exams multiple days in advance. You can generally schedule an exam during the next available slot, which start every hour and half-hour. The next slot might be a few hours away, but it's not like you have to plan things 72 hours in advance. That was the thing I hated the most about ProctorU. Well, I suppose you could schedule using the "take now" option with ProctorU, but that cost more.

That said, I personally never had any major issues with ProctorU or Examity. In fact, the only OLP provider I ever had an issue with was RPnow, but that was mainly because of a software compatibility issue when I first started testing with them. It was because I was using an external webcam on my Mac, which they don't support. Once I switched over to testing on my PC, everything was fine.
In Progress: Researching doctoral degree programs
Up Next: Debating between starting on a doctorate or another master's degree

Complete:
MBA in IT Management, 2019, Western Governors University
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#10
***** UPDATE *****

I tried the new feature that Examity is offering now, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted to take an exam, on demand last night. WGU had sent me an email telling me that we could now go into the Examity scheduling portal, and choose an appointment time that is in the past. For example, it was 6:15 p.m., and I picked 6:00 p.m. I was launched directly to a proctor. Given my compulsive nature, I REALLY like that feature. One more Objective Assessment knocked out in under 40 minutes last night.

I am now at around 50% complete with my MSCSIA in just around 11 weeks. Now hoping to complete the entire program in one term, assuming that the Capstone does not look too overwhelming. WGU's platform really seems to work for me. Enjoying the experience.
Western Governor's University
MSCSIA - ~50% complete in 11 weeks time.
Thomas Edison State University
B.A.L.S 2019 
ASNSM - Computer Science - 2018 
Pierpont College
Board of Governor's AAS, AOE Information Systems - 2017
WGU Cybersecurity Scholarship Recipient.
40 Credits from Stark State College(B&M), 100 ACE credits (mix of Straighterline, Study.Com, TECEP, etc.), TESU LIB-495 Capstone.
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