Presented at: 7th Annual Spring Leadership Conference
Leading and Developing an Online, Competency-Based Degree Program
In this presentation, we share lessons we have learned in the process of developing competency-based, online courses for our institution’s cyber security program. We focus on key issues for higher education leadership when planning and preparing for an institution to implement CBE.
Attendees will learn the following: -what competency-based education is and why it is used. -who in their institution should be included when preparing to develop and implement CBE courses. -what to expect as leaders when planning and developing these courses. -what challenges arise in the process of moving to CBE courses.
Texas State Technical College (TSTC), researches and develops innovative instructional methods that better prepares students for the workforce and allow students to accelerate their learning pace. To achieve this goal, we have turned to Competency-based Education (CBE), an approach that bases program curriculum on real-world, industry-required skills or knowledge and organizes these into competencies. CBE allow students the opportunity to progress through their courses and degree plan at a more accelerated or self-paced rate. However, CBE adoption carries its own challenges for higher education and its leadership. It requires careful planning and allocation of significant resources. In this presentation, we share lessons we have learned in the process of developing competency-based, online courses for our institution’s cyber security program. In particular, we focus on key issues for higher education leadership when planning and preparing for an institution to implement CBE. These include the identification of individuals leadership should include in the process, the process itself, and potential challenges along the way. We also share resources that we have developed or used to facilitate this process. First, we discuss the personnel that administrators should involve in this process, such as project manners, faculty, and instructional designers, as well as key players in other departments and offices like curriculum, online learning, financial aid, and registration. To ensure that all parties are successful and working in a coordinated fashion, they may require explanation of what CBE is, clarification of their new or differing roles in CBE, and training for how to design CBE courses. We also discuss what to expect in the process of designing and developing CBE courses. In order to set a reasonable time table for completing this work, leaders should have a good understanding of what CBE requires. This begins with faculty and industry partners joining together to determine what skills should be organized into competencies to form the curriculum. Following this, faculty and instructional designers work in tandem to build assessments and instructional materials. Tools and guides we have created for building these courses are highlighted in this presentation. Finally, we address challenges we have faced and issues to consider when creating these courses. Among these are staffing for course creation; selecting an online Learning Management System for CBE; and testing new CBE courses, including allocation of resources to test and refine courses developed. Most importantly, we describe the financial burden of developing these courses and how we dealt with these challenges.