Is plan for UW “flexible degrees” a good one?
Gov. Scott Walker, UW System President Kevin Reilly and UW Extension Chancellor Ray Cross say a new online “flexible degree” program will transform higher education in Wisconsin. It marks the first time a statewide public university system will offer such a program. It will keep students in the UW System at a time when more and more residents are signing up for online for-profit colleges, some of which offer degrees of dubious value.
While the UW System already offers more than 4,000 online courses and more than 100 online degree programs, this one will let students earn credits for what they've learned in school, on jobs or on their own. It will break down courses into small units that students can take at their own paces. These units will be built into entire degree units.
Officials expect some courses to be available this fall. They’ll focus first on areas experiencing some of the largest skills gaps—health care, information technology and business and management.
The program doesn’t come without concerns. These include start-up costs, preventing cheating and maintaining the integrity of UW degrees. Can these be overcome?
We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Wednesday.