Requirements and Academic Progress
Academic institutions have long strived to document and curate requirements to complete credentials in their catalogs, online web resources and within their student information system augmented by their chosen degree audit application. The duplication requires institutions and the work behind the academic curtain to validate and maintain an authoratative repository with syndication of the information.
The hurdles to maintain a set of requirements per program of study depend on several factors.
- Programs of study evolve with internal and external expectations of currency. Sharing course experiences between Programs of study may not always satisfy the pre-requisite to support further experiences.
- Institutions often have overlapping Programs that must consider the internal comparability of courses and experiences that may or may not satisfy the Program of study expectations.
- Exceptions and adjustments must be evaluated, documented and referenced when learners petition.
- What time period was the course experiences completed, compared to the relevancy of the current Program of study.
- Addressing comparability internally and externally with other sources of learning.
Student Mobility and Academic Credit Portability
Learners who extend beyond the institiutional offerings or enroll in course opportunities elsewhere, such as taking a summer course at a local community college or studying abroad for a semester or a military learner taking a MOOC or online course, requires the student's "home" institution to evaluate what is often called course equivalencies with the associated method of articulating the credit if the evidence of completion is presented. Academic credit portability can be described as the method and means of tracking how course and learning experiences could count or replace requirements associated with a credential.
Course Equivalencies are not all Created Equal
Course equivalencies are created and maintained by catalog dates and consider the source institution of study, academic department, rigor, learning materials, depth of the learning experience, grading, faculty level, seat time, credit unit and learning outcomes articulated. Instititions track the assessment of courses and learning oppotunities either when a learner's claim or petition intiates or when they proactively canvas offerings when called upon by academic or enrollment efforts.
Course equivalencies can be non-specific blocks of credit, associated with elective courses or specific to courses when comparability can be well documented. One of the often missunderstood realities though is that course equicalencies may document a course or learning experience may transfer for some academic credit, but may not satisfy the Program of study requirements. Thus, many students are often caught not knowing in advance that course work they may have completed or even contemplate, will actually impact their completion requirements.
The Importance of Credit Articulation
There are three methods that could address the limitations of informing learners how academic credit portability will impact their study plan. The first is to present a guided pathway, which could be a transfer agreement, program to program guide or block credit agreement rendered by collarboating institutions so that the credit would be recognized as applicable for certain requirements. The second is the ability to prospectively view academic progress through the degree audit or checklist method revealing how the planned course of learning experience would be treated through articulation. The third is to review and assess course or learning opportunity plans and require approval, disclaimer and guidance on how the planned course work would count for the specific Program undertaken or the conteplated one planned.
The challenge to prospectively or retroactively determine credit articulation is the cost and time spread across a range of participants from the enrollment, registrar and faculty. Systems are often lacking and institutions utilize paper processes to track the effort. The volume can also complicate the methods employed, especially as leaners have many alternative learning opportunities presented internally and externally that appear similar on the surface.
AcademyOne's solutions, platforms and applications address the curration of course equivalencies, presenting credit transfer maps revealing the real impact on requirements, streamlining petition for credit and automating credit articulation.
Learn more about our Solutions:
Course Equivalency Management | Will My Course Credits Transfer | Transfer Check | Degree Check | Petition for Credit | Enrollment Credit Offer | Study Planning and Advising | Financial Plan for Completion