UWM has an increasing national reputation for innovations in online and blended program delivery. Some of the most notable initiatives are outlined below.
The Flexible Option
UWM is a leading participant in the UW Flexible Option Program (Flex), a portfolio of online degrees and certificates that are offered in a self-paced, competency-based format. Administered through a collaboration with UW-Extension, Flex is designed for adult non-traditional learners. UWM’s Flex offerings (B.S. degrees in Nursing, Information Science & Technology, and Biomedical Science-Diagnostic Imaging submajor and an undergraduate certificate in Business and Technical Communications) first enrolled students in January 2014. UWM is seeking approval from the federal Department of Education to award aid in this innovative, self-paced format, and UWM has been selected to participate in the Department’s groundbreaking Experimental Sites initiative, which will enhance our capacity to support Flex students.
- EDUCAUSE Review
- WCET Frontiers blog post “Wisconsin’s Flexible Option: A System Approach to Competency-Based Education”
- Article on how UWM’s Libraries have supported Flex implementation
UWM’s U-Pace online instructional approach, co-developed by Psychology Professors Diane Reddy and Raymond Fleming, has garnered four national awards since 2011 and grants from the Gates Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education for a large-scale randomized controlled trial involving 1,900+ students across three disciplines at UWM. Instructors at more than 35 universities nationwide have adopted U-Pace.
- An overview of the results, highlighting how U-Pace has closed achievement gaps for at-risk students.
- A summary of U-Pace results.
The DETA Research Center
Academic Affairs has received a $1.48M grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a national Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA). The DETA Center will 1) develop and disseminate a national research model for online education and 2) identify and evaluate effective course and institutional practices in online learning and competency-based education for all students, including those who are economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, and adult learners. Diane Reddy, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Psychology, and Tanya Joosten, Academic Affairs and Communication, are co-directors of the DETA Center. Grant partners include UW System, UW-Extension, MATC, and EDUCAUSE.