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Aurora Institute

What’s New in Competency-Based Higher Education?

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Natalie Slocum

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

Competency-Based Higher Education InitiativesScreen Shot 2014-08-30 at 7.22.41 AM

  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is opening a competency-based Middle School to Medical School program, which prepares motivated students to begin accelerating their careers on a pathway toward medical school beginning as early as middle school.
  • The Woodrow Wilson Foundation announced it will create the Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning, which will be competency-based, allowing students to follow customized paths toward graduation, where progress is based on mastery rather than seat time. The school is partnering with MIT to conduct research on teacher and school leadership education. Here is an interview with Woodrow Wilson Foundation Chief Communications and Strategy Officer Patrick Richards, who discusses key programmatic differences, potential audiences, assessment of competence, and more.
  • Nevada’s Governor Sandoval signed an MOU establishing WGU Nevada to expand access to high-quality higher education opportunities. This online, competency-based university will offer accredited bachelors’ and masters’ degrees in the following four high-demand sectors: business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions (including nursing).

News, Blogs & Resources

  • The Lumina Foundation announced that it has begun a national dialogue to bring clarity to credentialing, enlisting 48 higher education, labor, and business organizations to create more transparent, connected system. Over 200 organizations will be invited to a summit this fall. The Foundation released a beta framework which draws from competency-based learning systems.
  • An article in The Atlantic suggests that MOOCs may be an effective way to reach and support educators as they build new skills and deeper knowledge of their disciplines, based on a recent study by Harvard and MIT. Chris Sturgis expanded on this idea in her recent post titled Can MOOCs Become System Builders?
  • Moving to a competency-based, blended learning education system can prepare citizens for the demands of the future workforce, according to a piece by Michael Horn.
  • The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) released a case study on Brandman’s competency-based program, including how the program is structured, the assessment approaches, use of technology and total costs.
  • Also, we’ve put together a summer reading list exploring competency-based higher education.

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