News You Can Use

eLearn Magazine: A Recap of the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference on Online Learning


New Issue of JALN released, featuring 2011 Best in Track Award Winners.


Creating an Institutional Culture that Embraces Accessibility and Supports Online Student Success  - By Kristen Betts, Director of Online and Blended Learning, Armstrong Atlantic State University. Kristen Betts will be presenting “From Compliance to Culture: Building an Effective Infrastructure to Support Accessibility and Online Student Success” on October 11, 2012.


Online and On the Move - By Emily Boles, Senior Instructional Developer, University of Illinois, Springfield. Ray Schroeder will be presenting "Online and On the Move: Mobile Online Learning" on October 10, 2012.

Conference News

Today's Campus Highlights Sloan-C Annual Conference in Nov-Dec Issue

Missed the event? Purchase the full set of recordings now – 65+ sessions for just $119!

Download the Proceedings

View the pictures of the conference

Watch the keynote and plenary recordings:

Keynote Address: Democratizing Higher Education
Sebastian Thrun, VP & Fellow Google

Plenary Panel: Evolution or Revolution? What's Happening with Traditional Online Learning?
Jeff Young (The Chronicle of Higher Education, US) - Panel Moderator
Jose Cruz (The Education Trust, US)
Alan Drimmer (University of Phoenix, US)
Jack Wilson (University of Massachusetts, US)

Plenary Address: Citizen Science - Authentic Participation in Research
Arfon Smith (Citizen Science-Adler Planetarium, US)

Press Release: October 9, 2012
Sonic Foundry Partners with the Sloan Consortium to Webcast International Conference on Online Learning

Best in Track Awards Winners Announced. Read the Press Release.

Call for Presentations for the 2013 conference will open in February 2013.

Check out last year's conference.


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Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

The Benefits and Challenges of Converting to a Competency Based Curriculum Model

Patricia Neely (Higher Learning Institute, US)
Jan Tucker (Higher Learning Institute, LLC, US)
Session Information
October 10, 2012 - 2:15pm
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Online Learning and Community Colleges
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere A3
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes

Creating competency-based programs: Fitting a square peg in a round hole.

Extended Abstract

As the focus on lower college costs continues to take center stage, several colleges and universities are exploring creating competency-based programs. Although competency based education has been around for several decades, the success of Western Governors University has captured the attention of policy makers as one approach for creating lower cost options for students. Competency based education (CBE) focuses on the outcomes of the learning process and addresses what the students should do, not on seat time. To develop a competency based education program, specific measurable competency statements are developed and curriculum is developed which allows students to demonstrate their mastery of each of the competencies. A variety of instructional techniques can be used to help students gain and demonstrate their competencies. The integration of competency based education requires re-engineering an institution's educational policies, pedagogy and infrastructure from the top down. This type of radical change in system design requires buy-in at all levels of the institution as well as a phase-in plan which may take several years to successfully implement. When the implementation is not done correctly, any traction gained by developing the new curriculum can be lost and the institution may face failure.

This presentation focuses on the change process necessary to successfully implement a competency based education system while examining the challenges involved. An overview of strategies and suggestions for successfully creating competency-based programs will be discussed.

Lead Presenter

Dr. Patricia Neely has an Ed.D from the University of Virginia, an MBA from Averett University and a BS degree from Radford University. Dr. Patricia Neely joined Higher Learning Institute in 2012 as the Director of Assessment. Dr. Neely has a varied background in higher education administration working primarily in distance and online learning. Her recent experience includes administrative roles at New Charter University, Western Governors University, and Kaplan University.