Growing and Evolving a CBE Experience: Learns and Opportunities

Concurrent Session 8

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The journey to learning evolution can be difficult to navigate.  This presentation documents the exploration of competency-based education; the initial designs, learns, and current state of a CBE program.  Furthermore, the components are explored in such a way where one can see how various pieces fit together:  students, faculty, assessment, and content. 


Former faculty member in communication and college administrator. Currently applying those skills in the teaching and learning discipline of online learning.
A former high school teacher for ten years, Cory began serving Rasmussen College in 2009, first as an IT Support Specialist and eventually transitioning to the Course Development team in 2012. Specializing in the management, maintenance, revision and improvement of existing online courses, Cory became the Senior Manager of eLearning in the spring of 2016, responsible for the management, growth and advancement of the Manager of eLearning roles, as well as the continued development, innovation and advancement of the course design and development process. Cory holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Instructional Technology from St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA, a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Education from Concordia University, Seward, NE, and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Information Systems Management from Rasmussen College. Cory and his wife, Sara, have two boys, Judah and August, and reside in Chaska, Minnesota.

Extended Abstract

Over the last decade, advances in educational technology have led many institutions to examine their existing online course offerings and how they are consumed by their students.  While traditional online course offerings continue to be the norm of most institutions, today's students are calling for a greater flexibility in how they learn and are assessed on course content, as well as the need for greater affordability and time savings that can be realized during their education.

Competency-Based Education (CBE) allows students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of content at their own pace, saving both time and money.  Recognizing CBE as a valid alternative to traditional learning environments, Rasmussen College, and its technology-based solutions partner, Collegis Education, have been creating and providing students with CBE opportunities since 2013.

Participants in this session will learn how Rasmussen College first developed their CBE offerings, now known as Flex Choice, as well as the philosophy and evolution of the offerings over the last five years.

This presentation, organized in a series of learning "modules", will include the following:

The Philosophy of CBE

It is essential for an institution to develop a clear philosophy and purpose for any new educational directions.  This portion of the presentation will include the vision for the initial CBE offerings after examining the current educational landscape.


Flex Choice 1.0

The first generation of CBE offerings involved credit by assessment "test outs."  This discussion will include the design approach for these assessments and the components of a typical offering.  The presentation will also include institutional learns and brief demonstration of a typical course.

Flex Choice 2.0

Learnings from Flex Choice 1.0 offerings led to the second generation of courses, now known as Flex Choice 2.0. The presentation will focus on the course design philosophy and demonstration of a typical course.

Assessment Strategy and Faculty Involvement

CBE courses require a specialized assessment strategy as well direction for faculty involvement.  The presentations will include the assessment strategy for both generations of CBE offerings, as well as the role of faculty in each instance.


The final portion of the presentation will include institutional learns from the offerings, as well as a brief discussion on the future of CBE at the institution.

Goals of the Presentation

1.) Discuss the Rationale of why CBE programs are emerging throughout the landscape.

2.)Share the historical evolution of the institution through multiple revisions based on learns and learner feedback.

3.)Share the learns (both positive and negative) that emerged through the experience, bringing the discussion to current CBE plans at the institution.

Session Delivery

This session will be a presentation delivered both by interactive production as well as pedagogical demonstration followed by a short question and answer session. By the end of the presentation, the audience should be able to identify CBE tactics and their impact on this particular case study. Furthermore, the audience should be able to cross-apply learns to their own CBE strategies by leveraging experiential benefits (i.e. what went well) while avoiding pitfalls highlighted in the case study.