Self-Paced Online Degree Offers Washington Community College Students New Opportunities


There is good news on the horizon for college students in Washington State. The good news comes in the form of a new way of earning an associate’s degree through the surrounding community colleges. Beginning in January there will be several Washington community colleges that will be implementing a new online business transfer degree that is competency based, self-paced and offered online.

Each of the courses offered through this new program was designed with the use of open education resources (OER). This will now eliminate the need for textbooks and thus will reduce the cost of attending these schools by a considerable amount. Lumen Learning is responsible for the design of the self-paced online courses. Each course has adaptable content and activities that are based upon the amount of knowledge that each student had prior to the beginning of the course. This new course design allows students to learn the essentials and to become masters of their course objectives.

Connie Broughton, the project director for competency based education (CBE) programs at the Washington State Board Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) said, “Competency based education lets students progress at their own pace as soon as they’ve learned the subject. We expect this competency based option to a business transfer degree will save students time and money because they can move rapidly through material they have already mastered with prior learning and work experience.”

There are currently 13 Washington community colleges that have signed on to begin the CBE online degree program in January. There is also hope that by the summer of 2015 more community colleges will jump on board and try OER based courses. This is a major move for education and will open doors for many people that didn’t think college was an option for them.

 Source:
Button, K. (2014, September 19). WA community colleges offering self-paced online degrees. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.educationdive.com/news/wa-community-colleges-offering-self-paced-online-degrees/311107/

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