December 19, 2014

UW continues work on flexible degree program

University of Wisconsin officials are making progress in efforts to develop a flexible degree option, which is aimed at helping hundreds of thousands of residents sitting on some level of partial college credit earn a degree or certification.

UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross told the Board of Regents Friday that it’s a difficult program to design, comparing it to creating a “whole new virtual university, within an existing university that has long-standing processes and systems in place.”

The program will allow individuals to apply real-world experience towards a degree, using what’s known as a competency-based model. Cross said those experience and courses are like bricks, and the question is what kind of mortar can be used to tie them all together. He said that’s something they are working on, but it’s not easy.

Cross said they expect mistakes to be made when the flexible option goes online, and they will work to learn from those quickly. He urged the board to have patience with them as the program is rolled out. Cross said “we’re out in new territory, and we need your patience, we need your help, encouragement, and we also need your criticism.”

The first round of degree programs is expected to be offered this coming fall.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:15)