Competency-Based Modules in a College Preparatory Course

By Andres Villagra.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 5, 2015 $US5.00

In 2013, Pace University in New York offered PACEPrep (Online College preparatory) summer course to incoming first-year students on a voluntary basis with three goals in mind: increase first-year retention; connect disciplines with professional careers, and track the impact in underrepresented students. The PACEPrep included five modules. The first module introduced “online education,” “information Literacy,” and “e-portfolio.” The remaining four modules (English, Mathematics, Science, and Communications Studies) reflected the university core. Readings from the English module addressed and integrated all four disciplines in a holistic approach.
The design of content to fulfill academic requirements while developing academic skills was challenging. Teachers created problem-based assignments focusing on students creating, questioning, and revising knowledge, while developing skills in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, reasoning, synthesis, and resilience. Following competency-based models, each unit allowed students to advance at their own pace until mastery of the subject was achieved. It was also required a critical reflection exercise for their eportfolio to receive a certificate of completion and badges of academic skills.
This presentation will address the PACEPrep course concept; rates of student success, development of learning outcomes and academic skills, and results from student satisfaction survey and retention rates and selection of majors.

Keywords: Competency-Based, Online Education, College Preparatory Courses

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 13, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 471.771KB)).

Andres Villagra

Director of Online and Adult Education, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Pace University, New York, New York, USA

Andres Villagrá is Professor of Spanish and Director of the Online and Adult program in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University. The BA program is ranked number 1 BA online program by the US News and World Report in the USA in 2012. He has received numerous grants and awards for creativity and innovation with applied techonology in the classroom. Recently, he developped a pilot mooc preparatory course for incoming college students. He also specializes in Latin American and Peninsular Literature and Culture and his work has been published in the US, Europe and Asia.