Capella launches innovative competency map dashboard to align student learning with employer needs

October 23, 2013

Capella continues to extend our leadership in competency-based learning with the launch of a first-of-its-kind competency map to all of our students.

What exactly is a competency map you ask?

Competency maps are a visual dashboard that lets adult students track their demonstration of career-relevant competencies through each of their courses. With the maps, students will have a detailed way to show current and future employers exactly what they mastered in their degree programs as it relates to their professions.

Competencies are the specific skills and knowledge that contribute to success in specific professions. As students complete assignments, the competency maps compile a picture of the career-relevant competencies being mastered. Using an intuitive visual display, they reveal a real-time view of where students are, what lies ahead, and where they should focus to be successful.

With Capella’s recent U.S. Department of Education approval of our FlexPath programs, we are the first university to offer competency-based bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that utilize an approved direct assessment learning model as opposed to the traditional credit-hour.

This more complete view of accumulated knowledge and skills is just another example of how Capella is dedicated to the success of our students.

Comp Map Infographic Update

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FlexPath featured in front page Star Tribune article

October 7, 2013


Adam Weller worked on a paper while his son John, 5, played with his cars at home in Savage, Minn., on Tuesday, September 25, 2013. Weller is one of the first students at Capella University to take one of its new brand of FlexPath courses. Photo: RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER

Adam Weller worked on a paper while his son John, 5, played with his cars at home in Savage, Minn., on Tuesday, September 25, 2013. Weller is one of the first students at Capella University to take one of its new brand of FlexPath courses. Photo: RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER

The need for innovation in higher education has never been greater, and I’m pleased to share that the media continues to focus on direct assessment,  specifically Capella’s FlexPath program, as an innovation that can lower the cost and the time needed to complete a degree.

The Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis published a front page story on FlexPath / direct assessment on Oct. 6. I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think.

Capella recently received approval by the U.S. Department of Education to offer FlexPath as the first bachelor’s and master’s degree programs utilizing direct assessment. The FlexPath model offers the potential to significantly reduce the cost of a degree, accelerate the time required for degree completion, and better align learning with the needs of learners and employers. The direct assessment approach no longer relies on credit hours or seat-time requirements to measure learners’ success and allows Capella to focus on learning outcomes instead. It is important to note that our faculty will remain at the heart of Capella’s FlexPath model as they provide feedback and guidance for students working to demonstrate and master competencies.

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Capella in the news

September 24, 2013

We finished the last week of summer on a busy note. Here is what has been happening in the news about Capella:

Honoring Capella's Sr. VP and CIO Loren Brown at the MSPBJ CIO of the Year Awards

Honoring Capella’s Sr. VP and CIO Loren Brown at the MSPBJ CIO of the Year Awards

-Capella’s Sr. Vice President and CIO Loren Brown was named a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s CIO of the Year honoree.

- President Scott Kinney was interviewed with Radio Higher Ed to discuss Capella’s competency-based model, FlexPath.

- Scott was also highlighted in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Face Time feature.

-Capella was named to InformationWeek Magazine’s Top 250 most innovative businesses in information technology and we were highlighted in Twin Cities Business with three other Minnesota-based businesses for the accolade.


For additional news and updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter @MikeButtry1

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Capella at the New York Times

September 19, 2013

Scott Kinney at NYT event

It was a great day for Capella this Tuesday when we shared the stage with some of the most significant innovators in our sector to discuss the future of higher education. We attended the New York Times Schools of Tomorrow conference headlined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Khan Academy founder Sal Kahn. Capella University President Scott Kinney was part of a panel focused on online innovations leading to increased affordability and completion. The panel was moderated by former White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes and Scott was joined by Dr. Mark Becker from Georgia State, Burke Smith from StraighterLine, and Jamie Merisotis the President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation.  They had a rich conversation that highlighted innovations like Capella’s competency-based FlexPath programs.

What was striking about the conference was the degree to which competency-based learning was at the center of the discussion. It was obviously a focus of Scott’s panel, but Secretary Duncan, Sal Khan and several other panels focused on the topic. The potential that moving beyond the credit hour holds to increase affordability, completion and better align to work skills is starting to become a catalyst for conversations about what the future of higher education will look like.

Capella’s first FlexPath programs begin in October. We’ve used this space quite frequently to discuss the potential of competency-based learning and direct assessment programs and based on our experience Tuesday, the conversation is only just beginning.

For those interested, you can re-watch the conference here. Scott participated in the lunch panel.


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Top 3 Most Asked Career Center Questions

September 10, 2013

Capella’s Career Center assists students and alumni to develop and implement their unique career management goals, resulting in measurable career outcomes. This week’s guest blog post is from Career Counselor, Jenna Parks, MA. She will be sharing her expertise from time-to-time. 

Jenna Parks, MA, Capella University Career Counselor

Jenna Parks, MA, Capella University Career Counselor

As students work toward advancing their education, a common motivator is their goal for career success.  The Capella University Career Center works to support students and alumni in all aspects of their career management as they pursue that goal.  Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions the Career Center receives from students and alumni.

How can I prepare my resume to best market myself as a candidate?

Customize your document!  You will likely have a different resume for each position for which you apply. As you read through the job posting, compare the required and preferred qualifications with your resume to make sure all of your relevant skills and experiences are highlighted.  Additionally, arrange the content so that your most significant experience is listed at the top of your resume.  One great way to do this is through providing an overview of your experience in a Summary of Qualifications section.

What is the secret to a successful job search?

Variety is the key!  Incorporate several different strategies and methods into your job search to make it most effective.  Don’t rely solely on online job boards.  Instead, tap into the “hidden job market” of unadvertised positions through networking.   Suggestions for connecting with others include attending conferences, conducting informational interviews, and making connections in online social networks, such as LinkedIn.

I’m trying to make a career change.  I know my Capella degree will provide me with the credentials, but how can I gain experience to break into a new field?

 Breaking into a new field can be difficult without related experience.  Demonstrate the ways your previous experiences can translate to your new field by highlighting your transferable skills.  In addition, think about how you can acquire new skills.  Some ideas include volunteering in a related role with a nonprofit organization, getting involved with professional associations in your new field, and seeking out work projects outside your current role.  You can also try working in a related setting.  Even if you’re not yet qualified to work in the position you ultimately want, this will help you gain experience in the field and get your foot in the door.

Find out more about job search strategies, creating job application documents, and planning for your career change in an upcoming Career Center webinar!

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