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University of Phoenix began offering online degree programs in 1989 and awarded degrees to its first online class of MBA students in 1991. Online programs operate independent of time, allowing students to log in when it is most convenient for them.
Each student must participate in class at least four days a week and faculty are required to be present in the classroom five days each week to provide instruction and timely feedback to students.
In order to encourage extensive online discussion and collaborative work, class sizes are kept small, around 14 to 20 students. The online program model was developed from academic research that delved into how students learn online and the University has continued this research, enhancing programs based on the findings.
Online students, just like their classroom counterparts, participate in assessments that measure cognitive and affective achievement. University of Phoenix helped pioneer many distance learning best practices that are incorporated in accreditation guidelines today.