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American Higher Education in Crises book cover

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Conference Program now posted! This year's line-up includes:


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Join Keynoters Goldie Blumenstyck (Chronicle of Higher Education) and Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein (MindWires Consulting)

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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

Designing an Online Competency Based Capstone: Processes, Partnerships, and Pivots

Robin Berenson (Excelsior College, USA)
Scott Dolan (Excelsior College, USA)
Session Information
October 16, 2015 - 10:45am
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 3
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 10

How can the design of the CBE capstone become the signature course that integrates learning and prepares students for the 21st century workplace?

Extended Abstract

Colleges and universities across higher education are working to develop competency-based programs. Competency-based education emphasizes the demonstration of knowledge for degree completion, while addressing issues of industry alignment, personalized learning, scalability, and cost effectiveness. What problems are we trying to address is the question we considered before implementing solutions.

Design is an iterative process that creates something of value based on imagining what things could be; not what they currently are. As educators and workplace leaders become increasingly concerned about the demonstration of knowledge and competency, how can the design of the capstone become the signature course that integrates learning and prepares students for the 21st century workplace?

Whether students focus on accounting, marketing, management, or strategy, they need to be able to assess their competencies, practice what they have learned, and apply what they know across a wide variety of contexts in order to develop their core business knowledge and critical workplace and professional skills. The BSB capstone model utilizes a three-phase approach (foundation, practice, application) to integrate student learning across 15 key business competency areas validated by industry experts. The integrated design is 15-week, term based experience that is instructor-led. The capstone is differentiated through its inclusion of pre-assessments of business knowledge and professional competencies, simulations, adaptive learning, and open educational resources that enrich the learning environment and provide an individualized learning pathway.

Sharing their experiences, the presenters will:
- Discuss the design process and considerations
- Examine the importance of partnerships required to ensure it addresses key components of CBE program
- Highlight the challenges associated with developing an innovative program, and
- Explain the ways we pivoted to deal with the challenges of implementation