Kentuckians who don’t have time to enroll for a semester-long course — or to commute to campus — can complete self-paced online modules in as little as three weeks, reports Inside Higher Ed. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s Learn on Demand, aimed at working adults, lets students earn credits that add up to certificates and associate degrees.
Under Learn on Demand, students can enroll whenever they want. There are no class schedules or assignment deadlines in the self-paced courses. And students can leave without facing problems when they re-enroll. As (Chancellor Jay) Box says, with modular courses, students have “exit points along the way.”
The program offers full, 15-week courses as well as ones that are broken into three or more “bite sized” pieces. Faculty course developers “determine the most logical competencies or learning outcomes to group together in a module,” Box says. Some of those modules come with a credit hour. Some don’t, and offer fractional credit. But all of them build toward a certificate or associate degree, including ones in business administration, information technology and nursing.
Learn on Demand also lets students avoid taking a semester-long remedial course when they only need to brush up on a few skills. Students can test out of remedial modules, taking only the ones they need.
Kentucky faculty members studied Western Governors University’s competency model and Rio Salado College’s online courses. “They also took a long look at the University of Phoenix, mostly to try to duplicate how the for-profit runs its online programs all day, every day, with instructors and student services always on-call,” reports Inside Higher Ed.
Here’s how competency works in Learn on Demand: Each module begins with an assessment, or “pre-test.” If the student scores high enough on that test, he or she can skip the self-paced course material and go directly to the modular final, or post-test. So essentially, each module can be completed by passing two tests.
. . . For students who can’t pass out of the courses, or who choose to work through them, the system has faculty members it calls “facilitators” on call to help students master the material. The online program includes several interactive features for students to work with faculty, and other students, including chat rooms and “live” class features.
The system contracts with an outside vendor to offer student services ’round the clock to Learn On Demand students — and soon to all online students. And some on-campus students are signing up for Learn on Demand modules to fill holes in their schedules.