Online flexible degrees set to launch in Wisconsin

Prospective college students can start signing up for the University of Wisconsin (UW) System’s new flexible degree program, a statewide online learning initiative lauded by campus technologists.

The flexible degrees will be available on 14 campuses.

Admissions to the program opened Nov. 18. UW officials promoted the much-anticipated launch at a news conference.

The web-based initiative allows students to earn college credit by demonstrating knowledge gleaned from the workplace, military experience or coursework on tests. The online program is designed to help working adults earn degrees faster.

The new Flexible Option degrees initially will focus on the largest skills gaps in Wisconsin: health care, information technologies, and business and management.

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell announced during a news conference last month that the school will repackage existing courses into mostly online formats.

The program will begin at UW-Milwaukee and the UW System’s 13 two-year schools. UW-Milwaukee is offering the option for its nursing program, biomedical diagnostic imaging program, and IT program. The two-year schools are offering it for a number of associate degree programs, including biology, chemistry, computer science and engineering.

Other campuses plan to offer flex options later next year.

About 20 percent of Wisconsin adults have some postsecondary course credit, according to state statistics. These adults, if enrolled in the new online competency-based model, would not have to begin their higher education in the most basic classes, saving them money and time.

See page 2 for why one educator says a competency-based online model “never felt smarter”…