UW Flexible Option degree programs, the University of Wisconsin’s acclaimed entry into competency-based education, are back in the news—this time in a feature article at IBMadison.com, the online news site of In Business magazine, south-central Wisconsin’s leading business publication.
The article points out the well-documented lifetime financial advantage of a bachelor’s degree and the challenge of earning one later in life as a working adult. The author sums up how this innovative, online, competency-based degree program helps adult learners overcome this challenge and meet their goals.
First of all, students learn at their own pace, and they aren’t limited in the number of credits they can earn during a given subscription period. For a flat tuition fee of $2,250, students sign up for a three-month subscription, and during that time they can advance through the program as quickly (or slowly) as they like—and they can do their coursework whenever they want to. That creates not only a high degree of flexibility for students who need to create a work-life balance, but also a greater degree of efficiency for students who are prepared to “show what they know.”
Although UW Flex has only been up and running for six months, early results show that students are tending to accelerate progress toward their degrees. So says Aaron Brower, interim chancellor of UW Extension and UW Colleges, in the article:
“On average, students are completing about 1.2 competency sets per subscription period,” said Brower. “So that’s a lot faster as a way through than if you were doing this at a normal course pace.”
A competency-based degree program with no constraints on pace coupled with a motivated and skilled student means a University of Wisconsin degree can now be earned faster, and at a lower cost than its traditional brick-and-mortar or online degree counterpart. But that potential speed and cost advantage doesn’t mean earning a degree is any easier, as a UW Flex student interviewed for the article notes.
“The couple of courses that I’ve taken so far have been pretty straightforward, but the knowledge and the rigor of the assessments are on par with what I’ve experienced before in the traditional delivery method,” said Apel, who’s enrolled in the information science and technology bachelor’s program. “So it’s not a cakewalk.”
Read the full IBMadison.com article here.