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Launched last October to some fanfare, Steve Wozniak’s online technology training institute Woz U is coming under fire after student complaints prompted a CBS News investigation of the program. The investigation suggests the Apple cofounder is dodging questions about the program, which has apparently been troubled by quality control issues.
Woz U promised to start by training software developers and tech support specialists for “high-paying technology” jobs, using a “new approach” that wouldn’t put students into “years of debt.” Personally unveiled by Wozniak in Phoenix, Arizona, the institute offers a 33-week, $13,200 program conducted entirely online that can be covered at least partially by student loans.
According to the investigation, dozens of students and employees have reported a wide variety of issues with the program, including outdated and prerecorded “live lectures,” unqualified mentors, and at least one course without an instructor. Unnamed students described lessons as “extremely flawed” and not of “good quality” for the price.
A couple of people went on the record with complaints. Bill Duerr, a Woz U student, described the program as a “$13,000 ebook” that’s broken and often just linked to Microsoft and Wikipedia pages. Former Woz U salesperson Tim Mionske claimed he felt pressured to do things that weren’t right to convince prospective students to sign up and was laid off when his enrollment numbers declined.
Normally very outspoken, Wozniak reportedly declined multiple CBS requests for an interview, saying he was busy as a public speaker, and he walked away when confronted by a reporter at a conference. In a statement, Woz U president Chris Coleman said a system has been implemented to catch issues with course content and denied pressuring students to enroll in the program.
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