The University of Texas System announced a new plan to launch a competency-based education program system-wide, which will be personalized for each student. The program will be suitable for every level of student, from high school to post-graduate studies.
What makes this approach special in comparison with the already existent competency-based programs is that this one offers personalized and adaptive certificates and degrees “that are industry-aligned and — via technology developed by the University of Texas System – can systematically improve success, access and completion rates in areas of high employment demand,” said the UT System in a recent press release.
“Competency-based programs allow students to advance through courses, certifications and degrees based on their ability to master knowledge and skills rather than time spent in a classroom,” explained Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. “All students are held to clearly defined and rigorous expectations, but each follows a customized path to success that responds and adapts based on individual learning strengths, challenges and goals. And students can earn credit for prior learning and move at their own speed.”
The initiative is being developed by the Institute for Transformational Learning, in partnership with UT institutions and faculty. The Institute was established in 2012 by the UT System Board of Regents and funded through a $5o million grant to drive student success and access using innovative technology.
The first of these competency-based programs will be launched in about a year, next fall, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and medical sciences courses will be available for students. Schedules will be flexible, since the courses are taught in online and hybrid formats.
Marni Baker Stein, chief innovation officer for the Institute of Transformational Learning, stated that this is a new model of education, being developed to provide a faster, alternative pathway to acquiring a University of Texas-quality degree. She stated: “Our degree and certificate programs are designed to build on critical skill sets so that students achieve enduring mastery that better prepares them for the workplace of the future.”