New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
In Fall 2014, a large Midwestern land-grant research university piloted a competency-based model as the foundation for an undergraduate transdisciplinary program focusing on connecting engineering and technology with humanities and social sciences. Students enrolled in this program progress through a set of competencies that require them to master cross-disciplinary and cross-functional skills needed to be successful in a 21st century workplace. Now in its second year, the competency-based program has undergone significant changes that include a more substantial definition of competencies at each of the three levels of competence (developing, emerging, and proficient), scaffolding needed to support students on their path towards gaining competencies, and significant mentoring by faculty, TAs, and professional advisers to support competency attainment.
In this paper, we will share challenges and discoveries made by the faculty throughout the first two years of the novel Competency-Based Education (CBE) experience, including a reflection on how such experiences impacted modifications of the CBE model from Year 1 to Year 2, the ways in which the program supported individual attainment and management of competencies by students, and the value of the mentorship program in supporting student-driven learning paths. We will also share insights into students’ perceptions of the benefits, challenges, and frustrations of being part of this pilot program based on interview and survey data provided by the 33 members of the initial cohort. This overview of the ways this program supported students in attaining competencies through coursework, individual mentoring, and scaffolding may be instructive as institutions seek to bring CBE to scale and increase holistic student learning for the 21st century.
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