The UW Flexible Option is the University of Wisconsin System’s version of a self-paced (progressing at the individual student’s own speed through a UW Flex faculty-led highly structured program), non-term, direct assessment competency-based education model. It does not rely on credits, courses, or semesters.
UW Flex is a partnership across UW System institutions. UW-Extension provides administrative, operational and academic design support. Faculty come from across UW. Degrees and certificates are awarded by several UW institutions.
By design, UW Flex:
- Targets nontraditional adult learners, including those with some college but no degree.
- Emphasizes what students know and can do rather than “seat time” in courses.
- Integrates best practice educational principles.
- Blends technology with human interaction.
UW Flex allows students to:
- Start UW Flex programs any month.
- Work at their own pace through a faculty-led highly structured program, with support from an Academic Success Coach.
- Build upon the knowledge, skills, and abilities they’ve already gained through prior coursework, military training, on-the-job training, or other learning experiences.
- Progress by demonstrating mastery of learning outcomes, assessed through a range of rigorous assignments and projects.
- Transfer competencies to credit-based courses.
UW Flexible Option
|Fixed term of study such as a semester||3-month subscription periods, new start every month|
|Pace set by semester-based course||Self-paced (for UW Flex, meaning individual students progress at their own pace through a faculty-led highly structured program)|
|Progress made by completing courses with passing grades||Progress made by demonstrating mastery of student learning outcomes (competencies) through rigorous assessments|
|Faculty members instruct students in course-based settings.||UW Flex has no courses. Faculty members set up the educational environment via the curation of materials, development of assessments and rubrics, scaffolding and sequencing, and evaluation of student work.|
|Students follow the course syllabus.
||Students follow an Individualized Learning Plan.
|Advising varies by institution, campus and program.||Each student is assigned an Academic Success Coach who serves as a proactive mentor, resource specialist, problem-solver and student advocate.|
We’re still there. We’ve baked ourselves into the curriculum.
Kim Kostka, UW-Rock County chemistry professor and UW Flex Associate of Arts and Science program coordinator, quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education on the role of faculty in UW Flex