College for America (CfA) at Southern New Hampshire University offers CBE programs designed by trained curriculum and assessment developers, working together with academically qualified subject matter experts who bring both subject-matter expertise and substantial workforce experience to the development process. The resulting Projects, which make up the CfA curriculum, are authentic assessments presented in workplace-relevant contexts.
CfA’s curriculum and assessment development process focuses on providing students with learning materials, authentic workplace activities, and “deliverables” (the assignments students submit for evaluation) that have clear workplace significance and applicability. Students are asked to produce a wide range of authentic deliverables such as memos, reports, spreadsheets, short videos, presentations, scripts, schedules and diagrams. Every project is developed to address the same academic content standards as course equivalents in Southern New Hampshire University’s more traditional academic programs and must meet NEASC accreditation standards. Because transparency is a fundamental goal of CfA curriculum development, the competency statements and rubric criteria specific to each Project are visible to the trained and credentialed reviewers as well as the students themselves.
This combination of academic substance and workplace applicability is a hallmark of CfA’s programs and gives the curriculum immediate relevance for working-adult students and their employers. Academic Advisors work directly with individual students for the duration of their study and are a rich source of student success stories. One worked with a student enrolled in a non-clinical healthcare degree program explained how the student presented her completed CfA project on potential applications of lean processes to hospital leadership where she worked. According to the advisor, “after the presentation they decided to pilot her idea, and she is now in charge of rewriting hospital policies.”[1]
[1] Sucre, F. (Interviewer) & Wilkes, H. (Interviewee). (2016). Online Competency-Based Education: The Case of College for America. [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from College for America at Southern New Hampshire University Web site: