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The Integration of Competency-Based Education Into Existing College Structures: Lessons Learned From Community Colleges

#Twitter: 
#CBE4CC15
Presenter(s)
Becky Lopanec (Western Governors University & WGU, USA)
Christi Amato (Sinclair Community College, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 9:15am
Track: 
Institutional Strategies & Innovations
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Community Colleges
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Oceanic 5
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Session: 
Concurrent Session 5
Abstract

Take a glimpse into the competency-based education approaches and lessons learned as community colleges developed and launched CBE programs within their own campus cultures.

Extended Abstract

Awards from the U.S. Department of Labor's TAACCCT program and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation enabled Western Governors University (WGU) to partner with almost a dozen community colleges across the country to discover how they could create competency-based education (CBE) programs within the campus systems and structures they already had in place. Administration, faculty and staff members at these colleges worked at an incredible pace to incorporate the basic tenants of CBE into their new programs. They were all faced with challenges from both within and outside their institutions: program development, course development, assessment development, course delivery, recruitment and intake, learner support, career services, financial aid, and accreditation, to name a few. Each partner college met these challenges creatively and within the context of their own campus cultures.

Each of the colleges have enrolled students and learned from them what seems to work, and in some cases what did not work. There were some unexpected requests from students for which staff members developed solutions and then shared them with other partner colleges. Many of the solutions developed are very creative and helped students succeed in their programs. Among them, they now have over 3,000 students enrolled in CBE programs.

One of the most remarkable aspects of all their work is that they integrated CBE into their regular campus operations. That effort has enabled several of the colleges to expand their CBE activities from a single degree or certificate program to include other academic areas.Ê

Each of the colleges have enrolled students and learned from them what seems to work, and in some cases what did not work. There were some unexpected requests from students for which staff members developed solutions and then shared them with other partner colleges. Many of the solutions developed are very creative and helped students succeed in their programs. Among them, they now have over 3,000 students enrolled in CBE programs.

This unique session will tell the stories of the community college pioneers and will focus on what worked and what did not in their journeys from being vaguely aware of CBE to launching their own programs. The five guiding principles for developing high quality CBE programs will be shared.

Participants in this session will be led through a facilitated activity focusing on their own campus opportunities and challenges. Participants will walk away with diagram of a CBE program for their own campus. Diagrams will include ideas for program development, course development, assessment development and delivery, learner support (mentoring), recruitment and readiness.

Lead Presenter

Becky Lopanec serves as the Academic Advancement Coordinator at Western Governors University (WGU) where she works on a team dedicated to assisting partner colleges across the country develop competency-based education (CBE) programs. Becky has taught in both K12 and higher education environments as well as face-to-face, hybrid, and online. Prior to joining WGU, Becky was an instructional designer for the University of Missouri. She assisted university and system administration to create infrastructures supporting online education. Becky also served as the eLearning Coordinator at Saint Louis University. In this role, Becky developed and implemented policies and practices to enhance program and course quality. She also served as an instructor at St. Louis Community College for nine years. Becky's research interests are in the areas of adult online learning and retention strategies.