Category Archives: Competency-Based Education

Link: Competency For The Traditional Age Student

Purdue University is launching a competency-based interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree, which will combine technical and humanities fields. It was recently approved by Purdue’s regional accreditor.

Purdue’s degree track is based on the credit-hour standard, in which the demonstration of competencies is linked to corresponding college credit. This approach differs from relatively new competency-based offerings from a handful of other institutions, which use a method called direct assessment. That model is completely untethered from the credit hour, and students can move on as soon as they demonstrate mastery of required concepts.

At Purdue, however, studio and seminar-style “learning environments” will account for 35 percent of students’ plan of study.

Fain, Paul. “Competency for the Traditional Age Student.” Inside Higher Ed, March 30, 2016.

An Evolving Technology Landscape for Competency-Based Education

A report on a Gates Foundation-funded effort to encourage technology vendors to prepare to better support the anticipated growth in CBE initiatives.

Institutions should press their vendors to provide demonstrations of their CBE capabilities in real-world scenarios. They should not rely on generalizations or broad assurances about CBE being supportable by features not designed to support competencies as full-fledged entities in the product’s integrated database.

Leuba, Mark. “An Evolving Technology Landscape for Competency-Based Education.” EDUCAUSE Review, February 22, 2016.

EQUIP Round-Up: Slides, Articles, and Links

EQUIP, or Educational Quality Through Innovative Partnerships, is a new program from the U.S. Department of Education. The department will provide access to Title IV funds to chosen partners (both traditional and non-traditional), while waiving the rules about the use of content from other entities.

The goal of this experimental program is to allow traditional schools to lower educational costs and increase access by partnering with nontraditional providers, such as MOOCs or code academies or boot camps, by creating hybrid programs that are eligible for enrolled students to access financial aid.

Introductory PowerPoint slides created by the Department of Education are embedded below:

Want to know more? Here are some starting points:

File: 7 Things You Should Know About The Evolution of the Transcript

A comprehensive overview of recent efforts to transcript digital badges, competencies, internships, and other non-traditional sources of educational experience.

Efforts are under way to capture a broader range of learning experiences and create frameworks to curate them, providing a more holistic view of student learning.

Link: 4 Ways ePortfolios Are Going Beyond College Resume Building

What happens when you take the original ePortfolio concept and expand its horizons to include other purposes?

This roundup summarizes recent case studies in the use of portfolios in undergraduate education. Read the full article here.

Link: The Quest for Demonstrable Outcomes

Schejbal, D., (2015) The Quest for Demonstrable Outcomes.

There is a buzz, even a frenzy, about competency-based education (CBE). Brought together by the Lumina Foundation-sponsored organization C-BEN (the Competency-Based Education Network), 30 institutions and 4 university systems have developed or are developing competency-based programs. About another 600 schools have claimed to be developing CBE programs, though there is no accurate data to substantiate that number. Why and why now?

Link: Keeping Up With Competency

The rapid growth of competency-based education programs has prompted concerns about academic standards and quality. Representatives from numerous institutions participated in the CBExchange, a conference designed to share ideas and information about leading efforts in the field.

The meeting’s agenda features speakers who are experts on competency-based education from various organizations — including some who are skeptical about the emerging form of higher education.

Fain, Paul. “Keeping Up With Competency.” Inside Higher Ed, September 10, 2015.

Link: University-Run Boot Camps Offer Students Marketable Skills — but Not Course Credit

Boot camps have become the activities of choice to build new skills through intensive, engaged training, especially in tech and information management fields, for individuals who do not want to commit to the longer – and often more expensive – graduate degree programs. Until recently, these have not been associated with formal colleges and universities. Northeastern University is deploying one of the first boot camp programs from a traditional university, called “Level”, as a non-credit, two-month long program on data analytics. Northeastern’s boot camp will run alongside of its existing graduate degree programs in urban informatics and information design and visualization.

Ellen Wexler. “University-Run Boot Camps Offer Students Marketable Skills — but Not Course Credit.” Chronicle of Higher Education. October 13, 2015.

Link: Facing Flattening Enrollments? Alternate Student Pathways Might Help

David Godow, “Facing Flattening Enrollments? Alternate Student Pathways Might Help.” Education Advisory Board, October 2014.

Godow argues that enrollment growth can most sustainably be sourced from four previously underrepresented populations: international undergraduate students, community college transfers, adults returning to complete degrees, and professional master’s degree students. While institutions have historically shied away from targeting these populations due to the perception that such students have inadequate preparation for the university environment, developing targeted programming for these groups, including alternative paths to the degree, has proven successful.

Successful institutions have found that the different needs of these populations can often be met through “pathways” offering an alternative route to a degree. Pathways acknowledge that these students start from a different point and need a unique set of services and pedagogical approaches to be successful.

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