Competency-Based Education: What It Is, How It’s Different, and Why It Matters to You

skillsEveryone is talking about competency-based education, and for good reason. New competency-based programs such as the UW Flexible Option have the potential to revolutionize higher education by personalizing student learning and making it possible for millions of adults to at last earn a college degree while balancing work and family.

But what is competency-based education, and how is it different from the traditional model? Most importantly, what does it mean to you?Read more…

Flexible Option Student Hits His Stride as His Journey to a Degree Continues

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UW Flexible Option student Aaron Apel with UW System President Ray Cross at the UW Flexible Option application launch celebration in November 2013.

Aaron Apel set out to “flex his potential” in January, when he became the first official applicant to the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option program. Just three short months later, Apel says his Flex experience is picking up steam.

“I wanted to start out slow, to see how things would work, especially since this is a new experience for everyone,” Apel says. “It’s going really well. I’m happy with the process and am looking forward to starting my second subscription period in April.”

Apel has worked for UW-Madison for nearly a decade and currently is an employee in the Office of the Registrar. But while he’s no stranger to the higher education scene, Apel himself never completed his bachelor’s degree. His desire to grow his career is why he jumped at the chance to try out the new Flex program and earn his degree. He is a working, married father of three, and flexibility is critical to his schedule. So far, he says, the Flex program has lived up to its name, allowing him to work toward his bachelor’s degree in Information Science and Technology on his own terms.Read more…

UW Colleges & UW-Extension leader responds to Gov. Walker’s interest in UW Flexible Option as a path to complete his degree

MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin Colleges and UW-Extension’s top leader noted Gov. Scott Walker’s recently announced personal interest in the new UW Flexible Option.

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Aaron Brower, interim chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension.

“From day one, Gov. Walker has been among the strongest supporters of this innovative approach to educate our workforce,” said Aaron Brower, interim chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension. “UW Flex is a way for Wisconsin residents like him to complete a degree.”Read more…

Working Adults Can Finally Earn That Degree – and Why They Should

grads(1)If you are a working adult who has dreamed of a college degree, you will be thrilled to know that colleges are tailoring programs just for you. But you should also understand the trends that are driving these changes, and why it is so important to take advantage of them.

Today, a small number of forward-thinking colleges and universities are creating online courses and grading systems designed for the working adult student. They’re moving in response to statistics that indicate the growing need for advanced degrees in the workforce.

“Research shows that by the year 2018, 63 percent of jobs will require some sort of post-secondary education,” says Aaron Brower, Interim Chancellor for the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Wisconsin-Extension.Read more…

Competency-Based Education Offers an Important Alternative to Higher Education’s Problems of Access and Cost

David-58sDavid Schejbal, dean of UW- Extension, Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning, recently wrote for Inside Higher Ed about the ways in which competency-based education addresses the needs for quality, affordability, efficiency, and individualized learning at the college level. At the heart of the piece, he asserts that competency-based education is not intended to be a cure-all for the challenges facing higher education today, but rather, a viable and compelling alternative that “expands students’ options for learning and most importantly, expands their access while focusing on what they know and are able to do.” With expert faculty leading the design of curriculum and setting the standards for success, competency-based education gives students who otherwise might not pursue a degree one more option for obtaining a quality education, on their own terms and potentially at lower cost.

Read the full article here.

The UW Flexible Option Puts You In Control [video]

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.05.28 AMA respected degree, personalized education plans, on your schedule…is that possible? As the world of competency-based education grows, the opportunities to advance your education are plentiful, but not all equal. Earning a degree from a trusted university, at a lower cost, through a program designed to provide a tailored learning experience, while working at your own pace, is the reality created through the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option.  

The UW Flexible Option focuses on providing a positive and effective student experience. Students will find a support network built to help them work through the program at their own pace, with access to a team of advisers, learning services, and a personal academic success coach. This process is outlined with our “student” Brooke in the Flexible Option information video, and shows how our UW Flexible Option staff is charged with building these support teams to assist a student in his or her quest to earn a bachelor’s degree, with the hope that this new degree will lead the student to earn a promotion or raise, and essentially create better a life for his or her family.

Read more…