The Master of Business Administration—Information Technology Management is specifically designed for experienced business professionals and managers seeking upward career mobility in the information technology arena. The program prepares you for a mid-level to upper-level information technology management position in business, industry, and non-profit organizations.
Understanding the Competency-Based Approach
Practically speaking, what does it mean when we say that WGU programs are competencybased? Unlike traditional universities, WGU does not award degrees based on credit hours or on a certain set of required courses. Instead, students earn their degrees by demonstrating their skills, knowledge, and understanding of important concepts through a series of carefully designed assessments.
Progress through your degree program is governed, not by classes, but by satisfactory completion of the required assessments that demonstrate your mastery of the competencies. Of course, you will need to engage in learning experiences as you brush up on competencies or develop knowledge and skills in areas in which you may be weak. For this learning and development, WGU has a rich array of learning resources in which you may engage under the direction of your mentor.
You will work closely with your mentor to schedule your program for completing the assessments. (We discuss assessments in much more detail later in this guide.) You will work closely with additional faculty members as you proceed through courses of study that are designed to lead you through the content you must master in order to pass individual assessments.
The benefit of this competency-based system is that it makes it possible for people who are knowledgeable about a particular subject to make accelerated progress toward completing a WGU degree even if they lack college experience. You may have gained your skills and knowledge of a subject on the job, accumulated wisdom through years of life experience, or, indeed, took a course on a particular subject. WGU awards a degree to you based on the skills and knowledge that you possess and can demonstrate, not the number of credits you have on your transcript.
Western Governors University is the only university in the history of American higher education to have earned accreditation from four regional accrediting commissions. WGU’s accreditation was awarded by (1) the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, (2) the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, (3) the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and (4) the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The university’s accreditation status is now managed by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
The university is also accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), and the WGU Teachers College is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Health Informatics program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
The Degree Plan
The focus of your program is your personalized Degree Plan. The Degree Plan is a detailed blueprint of the learning resources and assessments that comprise your program. The length of your program depends on both the amount of new information you need to learn and the amount of time you plan to devote each week to study.
Students will vary widely in the specific skills and information they need to learn. For example, some may be highly knowledgeable in a subject matter and would not need to engage in new learning opportunities. Others may find that portions of the program require completely new learning and that they may need to take an online class or participate in a study module to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to pass the program competencies in that area. Some individuals may be able to devote as little as 1520 hours per week to the program, while others may have more time. For this reason, you will complete pre-assessments to help your mentor form a profile of your prior knowledge and experience for use in creating your Degree Plan.
WGU’s Mentoring Approach
]Our mentoring approach is a powerful component of the WGU educational experience. When you enroll at WGU, you will begin interacting with your personal mentor, course mentors, and support staff. Your mentor takes an active role and a personal interest in your success. Whether by e-mail or phone, your mentor will be your ―point person‖ of communication throughout your program. Your mentor will help motivate you to work hard to complete your program. When you have questions or concerns, your mentor team will help you resolve them. You and your mentor will work together to evaluate your educational background, strengths, and weaknesses. With this analysis, your mentors will help determine in which areas you are already competent (and can move quickly to assessment) and areas you need to work on; this will become your personalized Degree Plan.
Your mentor will direct you to the Courses of Study that contain the best learning resources for you (courses, texts, independent study modules, etc.) and are supported by course mentors that serve as your content experts for each area of study. As you proceed through your academic program, you and your mentor will determine when you are ready for the required assessments. If you are ready, your assessment will be scheduled. You will follow this same process as you proceed through each domain.
Connecting with Other Mentors and Fellow Students
As you proceed through your Degree Plan, you may also have direct contact with other faculty members. These communications can take a variety of forms, including participation in learning communities, office hours via the courses of study, and webinars. As a WGU student, you will have access to your own personal MyWGU Student Portal that will provide a gateway to courses of study, learning communities, and program communities where you will have interactions with faculty and other students. Courses of study and communities are specifically designed to support you as you develop competencies in preparation for your assessments through the utilization of threaded discussions, blogs, and chats that are guided by content experts.
You will access your program community during the Education Without Boundaries introductory course to network with peers who are enrolled in your program and to receive continued support through professional enrichment and program-specific chats, blogs, and discussions. WGU also provides a Student Services Associate to help you and your mentor solve any special problems that may arise.
Education Without Boundaries Orientation
Education Without Boundaries (EWB) is a required orientation that focuses on acquainting the student with WGU’s competency-based model, distance education, technology, and other resources and tools available for students. You will also utilize tutorials, message boards, online MBAITM
chats, and other activities to connect with other students in your program. This orientation is completed before you start your first term at WGU.
Transferability of Prior College Coursework
Because WGU is a competency-based institution, it does not award degrees based on credits but on demonstration of competency. However, if you have completed college coursework at another accredited institution, you may have your transcripts evaluated and may be able to have some lower-division or co-requisite assessments cleared. The guidelines for determining what will ―clear‖ through transfer vary based on the degree program. The following transfer guidelines generally apply to graduate programs: Graduate domains (i.e., subject areas) cannot be cleared through transfer. Requirements in the domains that can be considered the degree major cannot be cleared through transfer.
Furthermore, WGU does not clear any requirements based on the student’s professional experience and does not perform a “resume review” or “portfolio review” that will automatically clear any degree requirements. Degree requirements and transferability rules are subject to change in order to keep the degree content relevant and current.
Remember, WGU’s competency-based approach lets you take advantage of your knowledge and skills, regardless of how you obtained them. Even when you do not directly receive credit, the knowledge you possess may help you accelerate the time it takes to complete your degree program.
Continuous Enrollment, On Time Progress, and Satisfactory Academic Progress
WGU is a ―continuous enrollment‖ institution, which means you will be automatically enrolled in each of your new terms while you are at WGU. Your terms are six months long. Longer terms and continuous enrollment allow you to focus on your studies without the hassle of unnatural breaks between the shorter terms that you would experience in a more traditional environment. At the end of every six-month term, you and your mentor will review the progress you have made and revise your Degree Plan for your next six-month term. WGU requires that students make measurable progress toward the completion of their degree programs every term. We call this On Time Progress – denoting that you are on track and making progress toward on time graduation.
As full-time students, graduate students must enroll in at least eight (8) competency units each term, and undergraduate students must enroll in at least twelve (12) competency units each term. Completing at least these minimum enrollments is essential to On Time Progress and serves as a baseline from which you may accelerate your program. We measure your progress based on the assessments you are able to pass, not on your accumulation of credit hours or course grades.
Every time you pass an assessment, you are demonstrating that you have mastered skills and knowledge in your degree program. For comparison to traditional grading systems, passing an assessment means you have demonstrated competency equivalent to a ―B‖ grade or better. WGU has assigned competency units to each assessment so that we can track your progress through the program. A competency unit is equivalent to one semester credit of learning.