uwmhackColleges have changed a lot in the last few years.  With modern technologies, distance learning has become a more serious part of higher education.  What they used to call “correspondence school” has more-or-less lost its stigma, especially when the school in question is a well-known university like ASU or U of A.

Of course, there are scams out there.  Unaccredited online schools charge hefty fees for degree-mill grade sheepskins.  Even some accredited schools offer degrees of questionable validity.

One college, the University of Wisconsin, has a new way of doing things.

UW has unveiled a new program called the UW Flex Option.  In this program, you can get a degree based on “assessments of competency,” instead of a particular number of units.  Basically, if you’ve acquired the information you need for a degree from our work, from open online courses, or almost anywhere, you can take their assessment tests and if you score high enough, you got yourself a degree.

The program is designed to save students time and money, and give them the degree they need to advance their career, or start a new one.  It’s geared towards professionals who know their field, and just need a diploma to prove it.

A check of the United States Department of Education website reveals that yes, this is a real college and yes, these are real degrees.  The degrees are granted through the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

Right now, the program only offers four degrees and certificates, with a few variations.  For techies, it is possible to obtain a bachelor’s of science degree in information science and technology, as well as a certificate in professional and technical communication.  The other programs are mostly geared towards medical professionals.  For example, a registered nurse could obtain their B.S.N or their M.N. through the program.  Additionally the College of Health Science offers a bachelor’s in diagnostic imaging aimed at those already certified in the field.  These programs open in the fall of 2013 through UW Milwaukee.

According to the program website, they plan on offering more and more possible degrees if this catches on.  The fall 2013 coursework includes individual classes in everything from biology to Spanish.   The college hopes to offer more options for full degrees, including associates by 2014.

 

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