Distance Ed

American Public U Adds CBE to Online Mix

This week American Public University System introduced four online degree programs that will use the competency-based education (CBE) model. These new "Momentum" offerings allow students to master competencies and move through course materials at their own pace without being held back by limitations on how much they can accomplish in a term. Assessment may be done in one of multiple formats, such as the writing of a paper, crafting of a presentation or creation of a technical document.

The "ideal" student for Momentum, according to the institution, has already earned an associate degree, can commit between 16 and 20 hours each week to studies, has on-the-job experience in the subject area and is seeking a personalized plan of study.

The first programs to be offered are:

All of them are also available in the university system's regular online academic programs as well.

APUS plans to release additional CBE degrees for launch in mid-2017.

The programs are priced at a flat rate of $2,500 per 16-week term. The more competencies finished in a term, the sooner the degree will be earned and the less it will cost. APUS advises students to pursue at least 15 to 17 competencies in each term to earn a bachelor's degree in four terms. One obstacle to the program that may stop some students from pursuing it is that these degrees aren't eligible for federal student aid, military tuition assistance or veterans' education benefits; costs are covered out of pocket by the student.

APUS, which has two institutions, American Military University and American Public University, will deliver the courses on its Sakai platform and work with Realizeit, a company with adaptive learning technology for student engagement.

"Momentum, unlike traditional academic programs, focuses on the achievement of knowledge and skills, providing a more flexible degree path to non-traditional students seeking an alternative to prevailing schedule and tuition constraints," said APUS Director of Alternative Learning, Cali Morrison, in a press release. "Instead of attending structured classes, students demonstrate their mastery of competencies at their pace with guidance from a faculty mentor and subject matter expert, allowing them to move directly into the next competency without waiting for a new term to begin."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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