As part of the UW Flexible Option development process, the University of Wisconsin Extension offered a pilot version of the competency-based delivery model in early 2013. The pilot, now closed for enrollment, is scheduled to last six months and will supply faculty and administrators with program-specific feedback that will help them finalize the UW Flexible Option program.
Janet Flisram is one of the students participating in the competency-based algebra program and providing feedback. Because the UW Flexible Option is committed to being a flexible educational experience, every student’s learning path will be personalized to fit their unique needs. Each degree and certificate program will use a variety of assessment methods that best measure each competency.
We checked in with Janet to see how the pilot program is working for her.
How will the UW Flexible Option fit into your education goals? your career goals?
I’ve spent the last 15 years trying to figure out a way to finish my college degree. I’ve dropped out of college twice before because it was just too difficult to maintain a traditional college schedule and work full- time. I also attempted an accelerated program that was more fitting, but eventually that became overwhelming as well. This is the first time in years that I have hope for finishing my college education. The UW Flexible Option is simply that…flexible! If the program eventually offers a degree that I’m interested in, I hope to be able to attend, finally get a college degree, and work in a field that offers me more job satisfaction and pay, and allows me to find more balance between my career and my home life. That’s the ultimate goal.
What interested you in the algebra class?
Math is my favorite subject!!! For the first couple years of my college career I majored in math. Eventually it became my minor. I thought starting off with the algebra class would be a good way to find out if I could still manage taking a class – since I am familiar with the subject content.
How did you like the proctoring of the exam?
The proctoring of my first exam was so easy! I thought it would be weird to have someone watching me, but once the test actually started I had no idea the proctor was even there. I had a few technical difficulties when first signing on to the module exam, but the proctor was so helpful and patient and fixed the problem very quickly. I didn’t really have to do anything.
What surprised you about the pilot?
What surprised me the most was that you can start a class whenever you want to, when the time is right for you. I don’t have to wait for a semester to start. Also, that there are practice exams that I can take over and over until I get it right. I’m not sure if that’s normal for an online course, but I love it. And that there were no “assignments”! I just have to learn the material and take the test.
What’s next for you after the pilot?
When the actual program begins, I want to explore the degree programs offered and any other general education classes that might be available. I’ll be interested to see how subjects other than math are handled in the program.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I really enjoy this program. I passed the Module 1 exam with 99% and I am greatly looking forward to Module 2. This program is ideal for anyone who is busy working and/or with a family. The flexible learning option adapts to your lifestyle and opens a range of possibilities I never dreamed would be available to me. This is a great idea, and thank you so much.