UW-La Crosse Discussing New Flexible Degree Programs

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LA CROSSE, (WEAU)- This fall a new program where students will be able to get college credit for what they already know through work or life experience; will be available to UW-System students.

UW-Milwaukee will be the first school in the system to offer a so-called "flexible degree" program. In a press conference Tuesday morning we learned it will be available in nursing, diagnostic imaging and information science.

There will also be a certificate program in communications.

The UW-System says it's a cheaper way of gaining credit online and more flexible, as the name suggests.

Other UW-System schools are talking about adding the program to their campuses too.

"It's very new and different in how these degrees would be offered to students,” said UW-La Crosse Director of Online Education Brian Udermann.

UW-La Crosse has the concept of flexible online degrees on the radar...

"UW- La Crosse had discussions a week ago about the flexible model,” said Udermann.

This isn't like traditional online degrees. UW-Milwaukee says it will assess whether its flexible degree program students know the course materials in several ways. Flexible degree student must prove that they have the knowledge and skills a traditional student would get from coursework.

"Students can start whenever they want to and they're competency based. So faculty at a given institute would come up with a set of competencies that students would need to demonstrate mastery in,” said Udermann.

The details on how the programs will be set up are still being worked out.

"This might be more attractive to those a little bit older and have previous classes or degrees built up and are working full time with families," said Udermann.

Word is that the degrees are supposed to be offered for a cheaper price than normal tuition, although exact pricing has yet to be determined.

The university promises students in the program will be held to similar standards as traditional students.

“As far as rigor and legitimates there won’t be any question to that,” said Udermann.

But for some students nothing can replace face to face contact.

"Going to classes, meeting new people and not just staying at home was really part of a key developmental stage for me," said UW-La Crosse student Lizzy Anderson.

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