WGU - Competency Based Learning

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Maniac Craniac, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Western Governor's University is a very interesting school. I have a question about their competency based learning.

    Woah, woah woah... does this mean that someone could study the material thoroughly before even enrolling with WGU (over the course of a year or so), then complete a degree, say an MBA, within one enrolled 6-month semester?

    I wonder if anyone has ever tried to do that- one could get a Master's degree for the insanely low $3,250 tuition.

    Is this possible, or realistic, under their methodology?
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  3. diplox

    diplox New Member

    Funny, I was just thinking the exact same thing the other day. Hopefully someone knows a little more about their system.
  4. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    Hopefully, some explanation. . .

    One of the core ideas behind WGU is that rather than sitting through lots of classes, doing lots of discussion board posting or writing filler papers you should perform certain tasks to demonstrate your mastery (competency) of a given subject. It's actually one of the things that attracted me to their program.

    For the undergrad majors, an examination (e.g. industry certification), may be the measure of having attained the necessary competency to pass a subject area. For graduate school, my understanding is that you need to complete a significant number of projects/papers to demonstrate competency in the required subject areas.

    At the graduate level, I'm told there's a fair amount of work required, and that it would be nearly impossible to wrap it all in one six-month term. I'll have to come back and post the quote later, but I saw a comment on another site from a WGU MBA candidate that he was nearly finished with his Master's at 10 months, but it required him to have nearly no life for that time.

    WGU tuition is priced well, but the MBA program is designed to take 18-24 months if I recall correctly. The chief advantage of WGU's MBA in my opinion is that you're not stuck to an artificial semester calendar-- you can go as fast or slow as you like and there are no pesky intervening summer/winter breaks, etc. For 18 months, you'd shell out $9000 and there are lower priced programs out there at that level. You could get an AACSB MBA for Jacksonville State for around that number. If you can pull off the degree in a year and don't need AACSB, then it's definitely worth looking into.
  5. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Hey MC -

    The short answer to your question is "Up until about two years ago. Yes. it did". My mentor had advised me that the current "record holder" that they had on file for an undergraduate program was 5 months. He had a mess of transfer credits and plenty of project work from his business to slap together a portfolio and capstone. The Masters record was 10 months (two semesters).

    That changed in 2008/2009 when WGU noticed a lot of students graduating at accelerated rates. They locked down the number of domains you could attempt in a six month period. This stated, they are a non-prof and I think this was done more as a reputation save than a drastic need for cash.

    Information presented by Petedude is accurate, but expect to spend 2 years on a Masters at this point. You can't push through in one semester anymore.
  6. chasisaac

    chasisaac Member

    Have to agree with PeteDude. i graduated mid 2007, in the BA social studies Teacher Ed program.

    The cool thing was for the social studies part, you took a PRAXIS test to prove competencies. the tests are tough and measure what you should have learned as a history major or govt. major or social studies major. Oh yeah I also already taught these subjects at a private school. I scored in the top 15% a couple of times and got some nice certificates from ETS. So Yes I proved competencies quickly and easily.

    The next section was the TEACHER ED part. Good news here. I had three years of teaching experience. So I moved very quickly through things because I have already done them: Pick a behavior problem with a student and explain what you would do. Took 5 minutes to think and write. Develop a behavior plan. I had already done at least 2/3 of the stuff before. I already had a degree with a minor in counseling. so the psych part was a snap.

    I also was unemployed at the time and worked 8-10+ hours a day, 5-6 days a week, I had one year to complete the program including student teaching. I had to beg and plead to student teach in Jan. That was a huge thing to overcome. I think it finally came down to, I would not be able to complete if I did not do in Jan and I promised I would have everything done by Dec 1. So yes there was almost 4 weeks of not doing anything.

    I did over 110 credits in one year and worked my tush off. I transferred in all my gen. eds. Most of that was from May to December. I did student teaching in Jan through April(?). My advisior/mentor said I was one of the reasons they started the new rules. Sorry dudes.

    I explained I worked on WGU stuff there suggested amount of time for a week in a day and half. That I already taught and did all these things. I never failed a test and only had two or three things kicked back from the graders.

    Overall it was great and would recommend . . . at least the old style.
  7. Lindagerr

    Lindagerr New Member

    I recently applied to WGU and I have not seen anything that says I can only do a set amount of credits(competency Units) in a term. I am planning on doing my MAT. Where does it tell you of the limits and what are they?
  8. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    It seems like you are in a great position to ask an advisor... and then let us know the answer! :smile:
  9. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Here's the deal.

    1. You can't do less than a minimum (used to be 12, no idea what it is now)
    2. You speak with your mentor at the start of a term and chat about what you think you can accomplish before the end of the term.

    3. It used to be that your mentor could open additional domains if you completed the ones that you opened at the beginning of the term, during the term. The policy changed such that mentors could not open new domains during the term.

    4. If you don't complete at least 75% - 90% of what you attempt each term you get put on academic probation. (percentage changes periodically based on whatever the policy is at the time)

    So really, if you know six months out that you'll be able to double your courseload, you probably won't experience any caps. But if you're like most people and don't know what's going to happen to you in the next six months, taking more than the minimum or slightly higher is a big risk.

    Definitely ask a mentor though, cause you're right, it was never on the website even when I was there.

  10. Godwulfe

    Godwulfe New Member

    Maybe things have changed since you attended. Here's how it's working for me -
    At the start of term you decide on a minimum number of credits (modules) that you'll complete. Minimum is 12. There is no maximum.
    Where the limits comes in is the required completion percentage you have to maintain for academic sufficiency. It's completed vs. total enrolled.
    So, at the beginning I decide on 4 courses (12 credits). Once I complete one I can decide if I want them to add another. The only restriction is if having additional open courses will hurt my completion percentage at the end of the term if I don't finish them. The Academic Mentors are leery of adding too much to avoid putting your academic standing in jeopardy.
    But last term I started with the required 4 and had added and finished a total of 10 by the end of the term (6 mos.) Each time i finished one I sent an email asking for the next and it was usually ready to go within 12 hours.

    As for the work, the Business Management program is split down the middle - 50% competency tests, 50% papers.
  11. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    To GW -

    If that's the way you're being handled by your mentor, then it's exactly the same as when I attended. Right about at the end of my program in 2007 they had begun experimenting with a "no new modules after the first few weeks of the term" policy and I had heard from friends in the program (I had two employees start about a year after I enrolled) that getting new domains open was almost impossible during the 2008 time frame.

    Of course, this could be the experience with individual mentors or they could have been as stated, experimenting with a new policy. Either way I'm glad that's not the case now.

    Thanks for the info.
  12. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Lots of great info in the posts here but every ones overlooking the big purple elephant in the room..................Is MC really competent?

Share This Page