Technology Skills – Key for CBE

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Continuing in our twelve-part blog series designed to help students know if enrolling in a Competency Based Education (CBE) program is a good decision for them, today we visit “Technology Skills”.

The twelve factors that will be explored are experience, motivation, availability of time, support, CBE program knowledge, educational background, technology skills, financial assistance, reflective attributes, action attributes, academic skills, and resource management.

Support – Part 7 of A Dozen Things To Think About Before Starting A CBE Program

A person enrolling in a CBE program should have moderate to high levels of technology competency.  Much of the information you receive and/or author in the CBE program will be created, transmitted, stored and evaluated via technology.  If one is lacking in these skills, they will likely struggle to keep up with the pace and demands of the CBE program.Technology Skills CBE

Consider these categories of technology skills needed for participation in a CBE program:

  • Communication – Electronic communication with your instructors, fellow students, program administrators and other involved parties such as your employer are frequent and required in a CBE program. You may often be expected to communicate via email, text message, discussion boards, blogs, video chat, instant messaging, and social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.  One of the challenges is determining the most effective and efficient way to communicate with instructors.  The method that works best for one instructor may not work well for another.  So your communication skill set needs to be broad so that you can be responsive no matter in what format information comes to you.
  • Navigation – No, you do not need to know how to sail a ship, but charting the open waters of the World Wide Web can be almost as daunting. You need to have a high level of information literacy to be able to differentiate between information that is relevant and appropriate and that which is not.  The problem is not the difficulty in finding information, the challenge is being a wise consumer of that information.  One of the competencies that you will be expected to demonstrate is your ability to search and find the most pertinent information.
  • Production – As a CBE student you will be called on to produce quite a bit of information yourself. Initially this may include documenting prior knowledge.  To do this you may be tasked to produce a portfolio that demonstrates what you know and what you can do.  As the CBE program progresses you may be expected to produce documents or other items that illustrate the new level of competency that you are attaining.  Your ability to represent what you know through writing or other means of expression are key in a CBE program.
  • Mobility – I don’t mean that you have to be able to walk, but your access to information needs to be mobile. Gone are the days that formal education takes place in one location.  You need to have both the tools and the skills to use mobile technology such as smart phones, tablets, laptops and other such devices.  In the palm of your hand is the ability to create videos to document your knowledge, collaborate with others at a distance in real time, consume digital information and much more.  You will want to be able to make use of small increments of available time to engage in activities that relate to your degree program.  You also need to be savvy about your access to and consumption of mobile data via wireless networks and paid digital services.

So as you are considering a CBE program evaluate your technology skills and competencies in the categories above.  Also recognize that technology competency is dynamic and constantly changing.  The tools and techniques that are cutting edge today are becoming dated tomorrow.

This blog series is provided by Dr. Mac Adkins who is the CEO and Founder of SmarterServices which is the provider of the CBE Readiness Indicator which is powered by the SmarterMeasure Assessment Engine.    Mac holds a PhD in Educational Leadership and for the past three decades has served in leadership positions at multiple universities and for the past fourteen years has served as the CEO and Founder of SmarterServices.  During this period of time SmarterServices has measured levels of student readiness of over 3.8 million students from over 500 colleges and universities. 

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