Opening the Door to Student Success: OERs, Capstones, and Faculty Mentors

Concurrent Session 1
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Brief Abstract

 It takes a campus community to promote student success. This presentation addresses competency-based degree plans and application-based capstone courses for undergraduate university students. Examples of competency-based degree plan, use of open educational resources, and capstone courses will be discussed. Included in the discussion will be prior learning assessment courses and the role of faculty as mentors. Testimonials from learners are provided along with a model for designing an effective capstone course for undergraduate adult learners.

Presenters

Carolyn Stevenson teaches the bachelor's capstone in the professional studies degree program and also serves as a faculty advisor. She oversees numerous innovations in curriculum, including competency based degree programs. Stevenson serves on several Purdue Global committees and is an Open College representative for the School of General Education Speaker Series. She previously worked in publishing for 5 years before going into higher education teaching and administration. She has been cited for her expertise in online learning, open educational resources, and prior learning. Stevenson is also a reviewer for conference papers and has served on various offices and committees for the American Education Research Association. Research Interests: Dr. Stevenson was the recipient of the 2016 Bruce Chaloux Scholarship (Online Learning Consortium), 2008 Best Paper Award (Distance Learning Administration), and received several professional development awards from Kaplan University. She volunteered as the Director of Education and developed an environmental education program for high school students in Chicago Public Schools for SeaTurst, an environmental NGO, and attended the UNFCC meetings in Warsaw and Lima. She also developed and In addition to environmental education and sustainability, her additional research are forced migration and refugee economies, social integration, and qualitative research. Dr. Stevenson also currently serves as Associate Editor International Journal of Technologies and Educational Marketing (IJTEM) and International Review Member for Advances in Educational Marketing, Administration and Leadership. Past involvement in professional organizations include: Serving as Co-program chair (2010 – 2013): Qualitative Research Special Interest Group for the American Education Research Association; committee member for AERA’s Division D: Research Methods for the Early Career Award (2013- 2014); Member: NAGC (National Association of Gifted Children), 2003-2005; member Association for Women in Communications (2007-2014); served as Clarion Awards Judge 2008 -2010 and member of the national marketing committee.

Extended Abstract

 It takes a campus community to promote student success. Across Purdue University Global, there is a collaborative effort to engage faculty and leverage faculty expertise across the disciplines. For example, our credit-for-work experience courses, EL206: Academic Prior Learning Portfolio and LRC100: Documenting Your Experiences for College Credit allow learners to build an online experiential learning portfolio, and potentially earn college credit for multiple college-level courses for that college-level equivalent prior learning. PG relies on evaluations from subject matter expert faculty – thus leveraging faculty as a resource.  Professional studies learners may also use the Portfolio Assessment of New Learning (PANeL), which is a Project-based Assessment of New Learning, to gain the knowledge and skills needed to meet the outcomes of a course described in their Individual Learning Plan (ILP). A PANeL is a portfolio created by the student that houses evidence of college-level learning that will be assessed to potentially award college credit for a PG equivalent course.

 

This flexible approach to higher education aligns with the needs of adult learners who are often limited in terms of time and financial resources to complete their degree. The BSPr degree is a competency-based degree program which is a growing trend in higher education. According to the U.S. Department of Education (2017), “Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide learners with personalized learning opportunities. These strategies include online and blended learning, dual enrollment and early college high schools, project-based and community-based learning, and credit recovery, among others,” (p.1). Relevancy is important to adult learners as they seek connections between the classroom and real-world experiences. “This type of learning leads to better student engagement because the content is relevant to each student and tailored to their unique needs. It also leads to better student outcomes because the pace of learning is customized to each student,” (U.S. Department of Education, 2017, p.1).

This presentation addresses competency-based degree plans and application-based capstone courses for undergraduate university students. Examples of competency-based degree plan, use of open educational resources, and capstone courses will be discussed. Included in the discussion will be prior learning assessment courses and the role of faculty as mentors. Testimonials from learners are provided along with a model for designing an effective capstone course for undergraduate adult learners.