UW Flexible Option and Competency-Based Education Definitions
|See the definition for “Competency” in this glossary.
|Academic Plan of Study
|An Academic Plan of Study provides each student and the Academic Success Coach with a road map to help the student arrive at the desired destination–graduation or program completion–in a timely manner and with few detours. The APS is based on the student’s goals and desired timeline for program completion. The APS reflects a strategic selection of course equivalents to be taken over the next four subscription periods. This format is designed to assist students with degree planning, while documenting current and future registrations required to calculate federal financial aid amounts and eligibility. At the conclusion of each subscription period, the APS is reviewed and updated to reflect successfully completed (mastered) course equivalents.
|Academic Success Coach
|Upon admission to the UW Flexible Option program, the Academic Success Coach (ASC) provides a unique blend of academic advising, success coaching, administrative direction and mentoring support to students. The ASCs help students understand their curricular paths and how best to succeed in a competency-based model. The ASCs work closely with both students and faculty.
|One of two options available to UW Flexible Option students, the all-you-can-learn subscription allows students to master as many competencies as individually feasible within a three-month period for one tuition amount.
|The evaluative method by which students’ knowledge, abilities and skills are measured as evidence of mastery.
Authentic assessments require the application of knowledge and skills in the real world.
|Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning
|The Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning, one of four divisions within the UW-Extension and home of the UW Flexible Option.
|The skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that students are expected to demonstrate in order to achieve mastery in the UW Flexible Option.
|An educational method focused on learning outcomes and the demonstration of knowledge and skills by students rather than on seat time and traditional credit-hours. Competency-based education is often designed to be self-paced.
|A grouping of competencies within a specific educational area.
|A collection of competencies, learning outcomes, assessments, and curated resources that correspond to a traditional online or brick-and-mortar course.
|Credit for prior learning
|Learning gained from experiences outside postsecondary education that merits college-level academic credit.
|Created in the late 19th century as a way in which to standardize postsecondary education, the credit hour has become the traditional educational unit of measure in the United States. This unit of measure is based upon the number of hours per week that a student spends in a traditional classroom setting during a minimum of 16 weeks. It is not based upon learning outcomes or objectives. Time spent in the classroom is assumed to coincide with a pre-defined number of homework or laboratory hours.
|Credit hour equivalency
|Student learning is measured solely through assessments based upon discipline learning outcomes. A credit hour equivalency is the amount of student learning being directly assessed, translated back through a traditional credit hour calculation for the institution.
|Customer relationship management system
|A broad set of applications and software designed to help manage customer/student data and customer/student interaction, access various pieces of information about the student, automate communications and workflow, marketing and customer/student support.
|Open source and low cost academic resources that are vetted by University of Wisconsin faculty and then made available to UW Flexible Option students. Connected to a specific academic program offering, these resources are deemed sufficient for mastering associated competencies.
|The broad academic areas that comprise the UW Flexible Option.
|Desire2Learn is an integrated learning management system used by the UW Flexible Option. D2L provides the infrastructure within which academic content is delivered and managed. In addition, simple tracking and reporting on other administrative functions are possible.
|A formal data management plan that includes the identification, approval, and implementation of accountability procedures. This usually includes the areas of data availability, usability, integrity and security.
|Direct assessment CBE
|The specific type of competency-based education based on the direct measurement of what a student knows and can do, regardless of the source of that knowledge and skills or the time spent learning it. (See Code of Federal Regulations definition. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2014-title34-vol3/pdf/CFR-2014-title34-vol3-sec668-10.pdf.)
|Distance Education and Technological Advancements
|The National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements located at UW-Milwaukee and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.
|Electronic Application for Admission
|UW System Electronic Application for Admission.
|The systematic implementation of strategies and tactics by an educational institution in order to shape student enrollment in a way that more effectively meets its goals. This usually includes data informed decision making within the areas of admissions, registration, financial aid, and student services.
|Evidence of learning
|The body of knowledge, skills, and experience achieved through formal and informal paths that has been validated and aligned with learning outcomes.
|Experimental Sites Initiative
|The Experimental Site Initiative was created as a contained space within which institutions of higher education may test specific flexibilities within statutory and regulatory rules for disbursing Title IV student aid. Institutions apply for approved participation as an Experimental Site. UW-Extension received such approval. The longer range goal is for the U.S. Department of Education to compare results within the Experimental Site Initiative to results from parallel processes outside the Initiative.
|Formative assessments generally have no or low point value for a student (i.e., low stakes). The purpose of these assessments is to provide real-time feedback to a student and to an instructor as learning is occurring. This well-timed, targeted feedback facilitates the learning process and aims to improve learning outcomes.
|Goals (for example, to get a job, promotion, acceptance to a higher degree program) drive students’ enrollment decisions. Upon enrollment students establish personal learning goals and the Academic Success Coach includes those in the learning plan. Measures would assess not only goals achieved but students’ satisfaction with the educational experience.
|Indirect assessments gather perceptions and opinions about student learning and the value of that learning.
|Individualized Learning Plan
|Working closely with the student, the Academic Success Coach crafts an approach tailored to meet the student’s needs and goals. This plan outlines degree/certificate requirements and student goals for timeline of completion, student progress, and enrollment intentions as reflected in an Academic Plan of Study. Added to this document are study strategies designed to optimize student success.
|The practice of creating online learning environments that facilitate and support the learning process for students. Best instructional design practices are rooted in established theory and utilize an array of tools to support different learner styles.
|Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
|The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System was established in 1992 by the U.S. Department of Education. All institutions applying for or receiving Title IV dollars are required to complete IPEDS surveys at regular intervals. Data collected includes, but is not limited to, institutional characteristics, institutional price, admissions, enrollment, student financial aid, degrees and certificates conferred, student persistence and success, and institutional resources.
|See the definition for “Competency” in this glossary.
|Learning management system
|A learning management system is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of electronic educational technology (e-learning) courses or training programs. It provides the infrastructure within which academic content is delivered and managed. The UW Flexible Option uses Desire2Learn as its integrated learning management system (as of 2016).
|Mastery is the required level at which discipline experts agree comprehensive knowledge, skill, and application is required of a student. Mastery level is set by faculty experts and may vary depending upon the discipline and type of knowledge (such as foundational or higher level thinking) being assessed.
|Unique programs or courses offered in institutions that offer more flexibility in course length, start dates, and date of completion.
|The National Center for Education Statistics defines this as someone who meets one of the following characteristics: delayed enrollment into postsecondary education, attends college part-time, works full time, is financially independent for financial aid purposes, has dependents other than a spouse, or is a single parent.
|Open educational resources
|Openly licensed, online educational materials.
|Pace reflects the rate of progress compared to the student’s learning plan, as measured by assessment/competency completion within subscription periods.
|Knowledge and skills acquired from anywhere that students can draw from to complete competencies and achieve their educational goals.
|Prior learning assessment
|The evaluation of learning gained from experiences outside of postsecondary education to determine if such experience merits college-level academic credit.
|A scoring tool that explicitly represents the performance expectations for completed academic work. A rubric divides the academic work into parts and provides a clear description of the accomplishments required to achieve mastery within each part.
|Refers to the required amount of time students are in class with an instructor. This is commonly measured through the credit hour.
|Progressing at the individual student’s own speed through a faculty-led highly structured program.
|Single competency subscription
|One of two options available to UW Flexible Option students, the single competency subscription allows students to master one pre-determined amount of competencies at a time during a 3-month period.
|Student engagement system
|A traditional student information system (SIS) turned upside down. An SES fundamentally puts the student interaction with the student’s own data at the core, with administrative functions being part and parcel of the student data. This includes the same fundamental functionality as an SIS. For the UW Flexible Option, it includes custom built modules stitched together with off the shelf software.
|Student information system
|A management information system for educational institutions to manage student data. Typically these systems provide capabilities for admitting students, registering students in courses, documenting grades, and producing transcripts, as well as student billing and cashiering functions and other like functions.
|Student learning outcomes
|See the definition for “Competency” in this glossary.
|Credentials that can be accumulated over time as part of a sequence.
|Subscription or subscription period
|See the definitions for “All-you-can-learn subscription” and “Single competency set subscription” in this glossary.
|Summative assessments have high point value for a student (i.e., high stakes). The purpose of these assessments is to evaluate student mastery of material in a comprehensive and holistic manner.