This blog post from the Education Advisory Board articulates the key factors (and their definitions!) that UW-Madison leaders used to determine which of their undergraduate courses were impeding timely graduation. These factors might serve as inspiration for UO or other comparable institutions.
Step One in Eliminating Course Bottlenecks: Find The Cause (EAB, January 2016)
An overview of UW’s Integrated Social Sciences bachelor’s, launched in 2014 as a degree completion program delivered online, with the story of one active military member who is enrolled.
…ISS courses are part of a carefully constructed degree program with five core courses and dozens of upper-level electives. The program culminates with a capstone project in which students curate their best work—learning plans, articles, self-reflection essays, maps, and other materials—organizing them in an electronic portfolio that showcases their learning and achievements.
Nancy Joseph. “A Sergeant Works Toward A UW Degree–In Korea.” UW Perspectives Newsletter, November 2015.
Op ed blog post commending a November 2015 report from New America entitled “Flipping the Paradigm: Why We Need Training-Based Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree and How to Build Them” which advocates “flipping” the bachelor’s degree path to “start with applications and work upwards towards theories.”
We build degrees that move from the broad and general at the beginning — the theory, the survey — to the specific at the end. That structure pretty much guarantees that initial encounters with large and sweeping theories will be shallow at best, since they lack both context and a sense of why they matter. By the time students get to specifics, they’ve left the big questions behind. If they return to the big questions later, it’s despite, rather than because of, the way we’ve organized degrees. They rarely get the benefit of coming back to the big questions with the benefit of context, and that’s our failure.
Download the PDF of “Flipping the Paradigm: Why We Need Training-Based Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree and How to Build Them” by Mary Alice McCarthy. November 2015.
Matt Reed. A Different Vision of the Bachelor’s Degree. Inside Higher Ed. November 12, 2015.
Straumsheim, C., (2014) An iPad in Every Home
Lynn U.’s tablet revolution marches on. Its next initiative: affordable online degree programs delivered exclusively through iPads — at tuition rates that are a fraction of what the university regularly charges.Since its moment in the national spotlight, Lynn has replaced textbooks with Apple’s iPads and iBooks, adopted iTunes U as its learning management system and built its own attendance and gradebook app. Its revamped distance education programs, launching next fall with seven degree options, will extend the tablet revolution to Lynn’s online students at a fraction of what the programs used to cost.
Read full article here.
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?
Comprehensive report on adult students and college completion. Sections include: demographics, marketing and outreach, institutional services, promoting academic success, and strategic partnerships. Published June 2015.
Interest in adult college completion, both for adults with some college credit and those who have never before attended college, has dramatically increased across the higher education community. This report draws from the considerable body of recent research focused on various populations of adult learners, including data gathered during Higher Ed Insight’s recent evaluation of Lumina Foundation’s adult college completion efforts. The goal of the report is to synthesize what has been learned about the needs of adult college students, particularly those returning to college after stopping out, as well as to identify areas where further inquiry is needed in order to demonstrate effective ways to support degree completion for adults.
Erisman, Wendy and Patricia Steele. “Adult College Completion in the 21st Century — What We Know and What We Don’t.” Higher Ed Insight. June 2015.
In August, UPCEA and OLC sent a letter about online learning to the leadership of the House Committee on Education and Workforce as well as the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in response to recent public statements which appear to question the integrity of online education.
As early as 2010, a Department of Education meta-analysis of research into the relative effectiveness of online and classroom-based learning put to rest any remaining question that what goes on in a classroom is inherently superior to what can be accomplished online; indeed, that study, and others that have followed, indicate that online learning is often superior in achieving measurable learner outcomes2. To question the inherent “integrity” and “quality” of online learning in 2015 is simply unsupported by overwhelming evidence.
UPCEA and OLC Joint Letter to Congress, August 28, 2015.
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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Dooley, Elizabeth. “Access to Learning: Opportunities for Adult Learners to Excel Beyond the Baccalaureate.” The Evolllution, May 2015.
This article presents an overview of West Virginia University’s Regents Bachelor of Arts, a flexible degree completion program for adult learners that has embraced competency-based education and industry partnerships. WVU is now connecting those learners with further education options, creating articulation agreements with various graduate degree programs to provide a transfer pathway for motivated adult learners.
One of the compelling results of the RBA program is having adult learners fully understand the value of their life and work experience and how those experiences form the basis for a robust educational experience. The RBA has provided many of our students with the confidence and the credentials needed to compete for jobs that require a postsecondary credential.