New Purdue program ditches traditional credit hours

(WISH photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A program at Purdue University that’s the first of its kind in the country has gotten its final approval.

For Boilermakers who choose to enroll, it steers away from traditional credit hours and toward badges which demonstrate competency. It’s coming to the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

“I feel like that’s more applicable to a workforce currently than things like taking exams and things likes grades,” said Terrence Jackson, a junior majoring in computer and information technology.

Jackson is currently working on his grades in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. But he’s heard about the new competency-based program and thinks it will be a hit.

“When you really learn something is when you can apply it to other things in your everyday life,” said Jackson.

University leaders are hoping students will apply these skills in their daily lives. Interim Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs Jeffrey Evans said students will be assessed on competencies.

“Students that pass the assessments will be given, basically, a digital badge. These digital badges will be reflected as a part of their academic record,” said Evans.

Students must demonstrate expertise in eight broad competencies. Some of those include design thinking and effective communication

“Students create and curate an e-portfolio,” Evans said. “So, that’s really the mechanism students use to actually show what they can do with what they know.”

The program was approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education last year. Final approval was given by the regional accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission. University officials believe it’s the first of its kind.

“We think we’re among the first, if not, the first to develop a competency-based program for residential, traditional students at a major research intensive university on the main campus,” said Evans.

Purdue started working on the program in 2013. The Purdue Polytechnic Institute faculty spent a year on the degree. Students then started participating in a pilot program in 2014.

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