Thursday, October 1, 2009

WDW Basics: Learning

This is the Disney College Program after all and many many students are on strict graduation plans, so Disney has devised a way to cooperate with your school in order to keep you on track while still allowing you to participate in the CP.

Disney offers a number of courses available for you to take on property to learn life skills, career skills, and to have an in depth look at aspects of the Walt Disney Company. These are not your average college courses. There are no english, math, science, or history courses. Herein lies the difficult part.

It is up to your school entirely whether they will accept the courses you've taken at Disney as transfer credits or not. Most of the time, the courses have to strongly resemble likeminded courses at your home university. Print out the syllabi of each of the courses and make an appointment with an advisor at your school. Have them go over the syllabi and determine if you can get credit for any of the courses.

Here is a list of the courses available to everyone:
Advanced Studies in Hospitality Management
Corporate Analysis
Corporate Communication
Creativity & Innovation: Gaining the Edge
Experiential Learning
Human Resource Management
Marketing You
Organizational Leadership

Each of these courses are recommended for credit by the American Council of Education, so you at least have that on your side.

If you cannot receive credit for the courses themselves, ask about getting credit for the internship in general. This works mostly with those who need an internship to graduate (some hospitality or marketing majors for example), but it doesn't hurt to ask no matter what your major is.

If your school doesn't accept credit from Disney directly, maybe they'll accept credit through another school that accepts Disney credit. Confusing, I know. I still don't quite get it, so here.

Lastly, if they will not give you credit in either form, and you have to remain in classes for insurance or financial aid purposes, look into taking Distance Learning or online courses from your home university. This is what I'm having to do because my school does not award credit for Disney courses. Most of the time, you'll have to contact the professors of your potential classes directly and ask if their courses can be taken entirely online. Some can, others will require you to take tests in a testing center. This can pose a problem when your testing center is in Texas (in my case) and you're in Florida. Some professors will allow you to take tests given by a proctor somewhere else (ie: Orlando). Disney offers test proctoring at Disney University on property but they generally need the test a week in advance. Another proctoring option would be to go to Valencia Community College and use their testing center. You'll then have to pay for them to mail your test results back to your University. As you can see, its definitely easiest if you can find a course that is entirely online and doesn't require outside proctoring/test taking.

All courses at Disney are optional. If your school gives credit for Disney courses, you'll generally have to pay your school's tuition for those credits, along with textbooks and school supplies. Any required course materials outside of textbooks will be paid for automatically through payroll deduction. You are also welcome to take the courses even if you don't receive credit for them and you just want to see what the course is like.

Other learning opportunities to note:

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