Caveat Emptor




My experience is that design of a competent, individualized degree plan, requires studied effort, effective communication, and detailed research. It cannot be done on the cheap. I’ve read claims by some to experience and expertise they clearly do not have, and listened to their declarations of “fact”  about distance learning that are demonstrably false. As a rule of thumb, it may be better to eschew the cut-price operations entirely and do due diligence on the rest. Take nothing at face value; check, check, check.



Every so often I’m asked to trawl cyberspace for pirated versions of BA in 4 Weeks. Sadly, I’ve yet to embark on such an exercise that did not net something slimy. Usually, it’s not the complete work that is taken (though that has happened) but a page or two from a fundamentals chapter, augmented by book and exam lists, and passed off as original work in furtherance of some nefarious scheme or bid for self promotion.  And sometimes the end result of this plagiarism is down right funny.




One enterprising individual, a  Mr. Tri Huynh,  whose first language was not English had used cut’n’paste to join large sections of the text of BA in 4 Weeks to his own musings about distance learning. The effect was an entertaining blend of relative coherence punctuated by jolting conjunction, misspellings, factual error, and ESL 101.


An equal opportunity plagiarizer, he incorporated the work of two other writers into this manual of instruction. As the DL head of an impressively named online institute, with academy in MA. and headquarters situated in the Nation’s capital, this distance learning guru offered a initial consultation free, and subsequent services at a cost of several hundred dollars and up. Though I haven’t verified this directly, my understanding is that those who signed up, received an adulterated bachelor’s guide, ripped directly from BA in 4 Weeks, as their custom-designed degree plan (a document of unparalleled scholarship, no doubt).


There are any number among the unscrupulous far more sophisticated than this man, and it is not always easy to see through a well constructed veneer of professionalism. Still if you have read and digested the contents of this website, you should be more prepared for the fray.




Plagiarism and the bozo


Mr. Tri Huynh, pitched his sales spiel to foreign students wherever they might gather. Many of them may not have recognized the inconsistent cadence, the butchered grammar, or the tortured syntax, of his prose. Many may have bought the fraud.


Blue text marks  Mr. Huynh’s  extemporization, a free-flowing stream-of-consciousness riff on the original text. The text in red was ripped directly from the BA in 4 Weeks website without even the pretense of camouflage.




Mr. Huynh writes:

2. Knowledge-based assessment

This method is for who are currently living in US want to look for a degree in the fastest way. Those adults who, for whatever reason, failed to start or failed to complete an undergraduate BA or BS degree, and who now seek some method of demonstrating and translating current competencies into academic credit and thence into an accredited, and widely recognized college degree. The core of this technique is gathering credits by examination and converting it into a bachelor's diploma. I have seen a lot of motivated students will likely succeed in that endeavor. I had a change to consult a very high activated student from India who went to US for a 4 months working contract as a programmer. He decided to get a US degree while he was in the states. There was no way for him to do it in traditional ways so I suggested him using the Knowledge-based assessment technique. After 4 weeks hard studying and passed all the required exams, he got the “Bachelor of Sience in Computer Science” from Thomas Edison State College. Of course he could apply for a job in the US after that and extended his visa.

After my experience with that talent student, I have consulted many more students to using knowledge-based assessment technique to take their degrees but no one could beat the time “4 weeks”. According to my experience, I thought four weeks is the practical minimum amount of time in which this process can reasonably be completed. The process includes the completion of all degree credit requirements. There will probably be an additional delay while administrative gears whir and turn, before the actual degree diploma is cranked out. It's estimated that 15% to 20% of motivated adults could complete the process in under a month if inclined to do so. I think it entirely likely that fully 60% of motivated adults taking on this technique, could complete degree requirements within six months. I am as sure as I can be that close to 90% of motivated adults could complete degree requirements within a year. Of course if you have less knowledge coming into the process, it will take you longer to complete it. How much longer depends on your existing knowledge base, how efficiently you study, and your native wit.

Although as I already said, the core of this technique is gaining credit through examination but there is also portfolio credit. But the maximum of portfolio credit is 30, so you can’t get your degree only with portfolio. The first part of this article I have talked about “experience-based assessment” technique, which would show how to get your degree based on portfolio.

When you decided to use your portfolio to gain the maximum 30 credits, you must know how to pay the game. Portfolio assessment is one alternative. This method requires that you map some demonstrable skill to a college credit course. For instance, assembly language programming 301 and (say) microprocessor systems design and peripheral interfacing 457 (from XYZ university) course requirements might be met and competency demonstrated by presenting narrative, source code, and schematic, of a Z80 based single board computer you designed in the 1980s (liberal arts credit - engineering credit would be time limited). You may have written a killer budget report for financial year 1995/1996 that could be used in evidence to garner credit in the equivalent Financial Management course FIN3AXD at UCLA. Alternatively, you may just play the banjo like a banshee and have sniffed out a college credit course that maps to that demonstrable skill. The key point is that the competency for which you request credit must have a corollary in some accredited college course. You choose the course and the college. Very flexible !

Currently, there are only three colleges agree to give degree by using knowledge-based assessment method. They are Charter Oak State College (COSC), Excelsior College, Thomas Edison State College (TESC). These three are known as assessment institutions, since they can be used to collect and collate credit from disparate origins. When enough credit of the correct type and in the correct proportions has been earned, these institutions will then award the student an accredited bachelor's degree that will enjoy wide recognition in the United States.

If you decide to get your degree by using knowledge-based assessment technique, the first important step is choosing the right school from one of three colleges mentioned above. A number of factors should be considered before that decision is made :

1. COSC and TESC are state funded, Excelsior is not. If money is tight, COSC and TESC can sup at the public trough but Excelsior cannot.

2. Both COSC and TESC evaluate portfolio credit. Excelsior accepts portfolio credit but does not evaluate it, that is done elsewhere.

3. Excelsior has a very comprehensive and easily accessible online library of catalogs, sample test papers, and other student related reference documents. These make life much easier for self-starters to act as their own best advisor. This is a big factor in favor of Excelsior in my opinion.

4. Excelsior awards generous credit for a good pass in GRE subject exams. COSC awards less generous credit in GRE subject exams but accepts a mediocre pass score. TESC awards no credit for GRE subject exams.

After enrollment in one of these three colleges, you will have to make a plan to study and take all the appropriate exams. If you have already taken GRE, CLEP or DANTES, you are already having some credits.

Those exams you are going to take are not difficult as much as GREP. The key point is you have to study in the right way and straight to the main point of the exam. I highly suggest you to have a counselor to help you along the way because they know what they are doing and certainly find out the most effective solution. I am currently working as an Education Director of the “non-traditional degree” program at Kylincampus Online Technology Institute. You can reach our program at . If you need to know what is the best option for you to get a degree, please submit your profile at our site and our consultants will help you for free.

. . . . .

Tri Huynh
Education Consultant
KylinCampus Technology Institute
101 Acton Road
Westford, MA
USA 01886