U. of Texas System Spearheads ‘Mobile-First’ Competency-Based Courses

The University of Texas system announced on Monday it was creating a competency-based education program that will offer courses students can take on mobile devices, for fields that most need graduates statewide, such as medical sciences. The program, which will start in 2015, is the first of its kind in the nation, the system said in a news release.

The system’s Institute for Transformational Learning, which was established in 2012 with $50-million in funds, will lead the effort. The project will feature “a state-of-the-art, ‘mobile-first’ stack of technologies and services” named TEx, the release states. Courses will be available at high-school through postgraduate levels.

“We made the decision to initially deliver TEx on mobile devices to ensure we meet students where they are, with the technology that they are used to,” said Marni Baker Stein, the institute’s chief innovation officer. ”The experience will still be available on the web, but the mobile delivery will allow them to take their education with them wherever they go.”

Competency-based education is a burgeoning concept in higher education, allowing educators to measure progress by students’ mastery of material rather than time spent earning a degree. Supporters say it is more economical, especially for working adults.

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