Flexible options available for non-traditional students, considered at UWEC, Stout

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A new program gives UW System students a chance to take all the courses they want in a three-month period, without even going to campus.

Both UW Stout and UW Eau Claire are looking to add courses and programs of their own under the new Flexible Option format.

Stout graduate student Jeff Ludowissi said he's close to getting his degree, which was made easier by taking some courses online.

“Having to make sure you don't need to be in a three-hour lecture, you can schedule it in at your own time, if it's late at night or early in the morning, or times that are available to you, it gives you a lot of options to do the work that you need to do,” Ludowissi said.

Providing those options is something the UW System is expanding.

Stout's Associate Vice Chancellor Glendali Rodriguez said she hopes it draws in more students who might not consider it otherwise.

“Understanding life happens, and some students have stopped somewhere along the path, it's truly an untapped market. We have a lot of adult learners that don't necessarily just fit that standard process of getting admitted to college and with the evolution of online education. This offers opportunities on how you can deliver that curriculum.

The flexible options program began in Jan., offering both bachelor's degrees and certificates for students in an all-you-can learn format at one price. Students can enroll in as many classes they can handle within their program over a three-month period, with all classes available online.

For now, programs are limited to one hundred students through UW-Milwaukee and the UW Colleges, but range from bachelors and associate degrees to certificates.

“You really want to have the people that are assessing that they've gained those competencies and that they've proved them to be credible and viable so that then there's no question.”

“Anytime you offer incentive for more education, and a flat rate, I think it's beneficial for anyone,” Ludowissi said.

UW-Milwaukee offers degrees in nursing and health sciences. UW Stout is hoping to offer certificates in project management and web optimization in the next two years. UW Eau Claire hopes to offer a course in data management through the flexible option at about $2,250 during the three month period.