VIDEO REPORT: UW to Offer Online Flexible-Degree Program

UPDATED Tuesday, June 19, 2012--5:30p.m.
MADISON--"This is the first public university in the country, actually in the world, to do this," said Ray Cross, the chancellor of U-W Colleges and U-W Extension.

What it is, is a self-paced, competency-based degree program. What that means is: this flex degree program will incorporate giving students credit for applicable on-the-job skills they've already acquired--or classes they may have taken--as long as they can prove they are proficient in the area. "You can take courses online traditionally, you can take courses face-to-face in a classroom, you can bring in credit for prior learning," said Cross. "Remember, if you know it, you can do it and you can prove it, we can give you credit for it."

They say those courses could be from free online classes provided by other universities."They're being offered all over the place," said Cross. "In fact there are thousands of them, they're even on iTunes. Lectures from Harvard and Stanford and Princeton and Yale."

Students who take them and want to apply that learning towards credit for a U-W degree can do so if they pass an assessment.
As for what the assessment would look like--and what the cost could be--they're still working those things out. We're told the assessment could range anywhere from a test to a thesis-like paper--even to something like a portfolio.

And they say this program could help the state increase its number of college graduates. "We've heard time and time again from people who say the difficulty is I don't have the time or the money to go back to school," said Gov. Scott Walker. "This allows the flexibility to adapt to their time frame, it makes it much more affordable because they can get credit without having to pay for the additional time if they are competent, proficient in a given area."

As for when the program will be up and running, we're told they're hoping to have some courses up this fall--and within a year have several programs online capable of this model.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 -- 10:15 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker and others have announced a flexible-degree program for University of Wisconsin System students. The program aims to give college credit for knowledge that students have gained from the workplace or other life experiences.

Walker on Tuesday said the program provides a new model for delivering higher education. He says it will help the state give students necessary skills gap at an affordable price.

The classes would be conducted online, allowing students to work at their own pace and giving working adults easier access to higher education.

The program is being led by UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross.

AP-WF-06-19-12 1456GMT

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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