Competency-based Learning Pilot to Launch in Fall 1 2015 with Three Information Technology Courses

By Shelley Dixon, acting assistant vice president for academic affairs, SUNY Empire State College

August 6, 2015

three color graphic, blue, green and red, depicting the cycle of Knowledge, Skills and AbilitiesAn exciting learning opportunity for students pursuing concentrations in information systems or information technology will launch in the Fall 1 term with three competency-based information technology courses. These courses have the same learning outcomes as traditional courses with the same titles, but students will progress through them in a different way.

The courses are:

  • Introduction to Data Management Tools
  • Systems Analysis and Design
  • Introduction to Object-oriented Programming: Java


What is competency-based learning?

In competency-based learning (CBL), the learning is the constant, while time is the variable. Students can move at their own pace, slowing down and speeding up as needed, as they complete competencies.

CBL is a highly customized and personalized learning environment for students that supports self-paced and self-regulated learning opportunities. 

What is a competency?

A competency is the application of related knowledge, skills and abilities required to successfully perform in a real-world setting with confidence and commitment. Competencies result from breaking down a job, role or function into the specific and observable skills required to perform it successfully. 

How will grading work?

Students who master the competencies of a course will receive a Pass/No Pass grade for that course. For these courses, mastery is defined as meeting 80 percent or more of the competency. 

Is the course offered in Moodlerooms?

No, the courses are offered in Flat World, a platform specifically created for competency-based learning. Students will be trained to navigate this system.

Students interested in exploring this new mode of study may email (link sends e-mail) and the competency-based learning (CBL) coach will contact them directly with more information. An email to students who may be interested in these courses will be sent from the registrar’s office and an additional notice will be posted on MyESC.

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Student Spotlight: Meet Nicholas Coppola ’91, ‘15, By Anthony Doran, student, SUNY Empire State College

Check Out Labor Writes, a HVACLS Magazine, By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Did You Know

40 percent of 2013 SUNY Empire State College graduates surveyed got jobs directly related to their areas of study.

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Article Contributors

Layla Abdullah-Poulos

Shelley Dixon

Anthony Doran

Helen Edelman

Kristina Kwacz

Nick Muscavage

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