Transparency by Design Initiative
Recognizes DETC Institutions
College Choices for Adults—a project by the national Transparency by Design initiative, which works to further transparency and accountability in online higher education—helps adult learners who plan to enroll in Web-based, competency-based, or other distance education programs make the best possible choices. Now, DETC institutions have the opportunity to join the Transparency by Design program and have their information listed on the College Choices for Adults website.
During the past year, DETC has worked closely with the leaders of the Transparency with Design group and convinced them to open the program up to institutions accredited by national accrediting organizations, instead of just regional. There are many institutions engaged in national competition for the same students; DETC reasoned, so why not keep the field level and have all competitors use the same disclosure formulas?
As a result, Transparency by Design leaders agreed with DETC and voted to accept any nationally accredited online university that enrolls adult learners. DETC expresses its appreciation to Dr. Ed Klonoski, President of Charter Oak State College in Connecticut, for his leadership on this breakthrough.
“This is a significant development for DETC degree-awarding institutions, and is another indicator that DETC is part of the larger community of accredited online institutions,” said Michael P. Lambert, DETC’s Executive Director. “In this age of transparency, the Transparency by Design initiative represents a good way for any online university to stake its claim to its sensitivity to consumer needs and to national legitimacy."
The College Choices for Adults website provides to provides a rich array of program-level data that has been reviewed by a leading higher education nonprofit, WCET (the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Cooperative for Educational Technologies), for quality assurance. It also provides additional resources through “the Guide” to help adult learners understand attending college while balancing family, work and community commitments.
The College Choices for Adults website and the Transparency by Design initiative have three key differentiators from other college search sites or voluntary systems of accountability:
- They provide program-level learning outcomes, measures of those learning outcomes, and how well recent students have performed. This allows adult learners to align their personal and professional goals with educational opportunities which have matching program-level learning outcomes.
- All of the data on this site goes through a third-party quality assurance review by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). Other sites post data without any review by an outside party. Transparency by Design institutions voluntarily submit to this review to ensure quality data to help adults make their college choice.
- The focus of the Transparency by Design initiative is providing distance learning options for adult learners. Other sites often focus on the priorities of traditional-aged students, such as campus life. College Choices for Adults concentrates on informing adults on how they can progress toward personal goals.
Currently, three DETC institutions are participating in the program as part of a pilot study, after which the program will become available to other DETC institutions wishing to participate.
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