How to Create a Credit Mobility Culture

Parchment Staff  •  Feb 13, 2024  •  Podcast

Dr. Marc Booker, Vice Provost of Strategy for the University of Phoenix joins us to discuss how institutions can adopt a culture of credit mobility by incorporating credit-for-prior-learning (CPL) and prior learning assessments (PLA) during the admissions process. Dr. Booker shares how the University of Phoenix team have made concerted efforts to account for non-traditional learning to give students greater opportunity to advance their academic career.


Matt Sterenberg (00:00.954)
Alright, so I’m here with Dr. Mark Booker, Vice Provost for Strategy at the University of Phoenix. Mark, how are you?

Marc Booker (00:24.297)
I’m doing well, I’m doing well. It’s been an interesting start to the new year, but looking forward to new challenges coming up and looking forward to talking to you.

Matt Sterenberg (00:32.398)
So Mark, tell me a little bit about your background. When you were a kid, did you always grow up wanting to be the vice provost for strategy? Or how did you end up in your role? How did you get to the University of Phoenix?

Marc Booker (00:44.905)
Well, you know, of course I have that book when I was like in kindergarten, I wrote that out and my teachers didn’t know what it was and now here I am. So I’m really excited that that’s how it all worked out because everyone wants to be in higher ed as a career when they’re when they’re child and children. But for me really, my career actually started interestingly enough where I didn’t wanna be in higher education. I actually wanted to get a degree but University of Phoenix at the time was offering a full tuition waiver. So I, as a young 20 something with no gray hair, went into higher ed and started taking calls about transcripts and transfer credit, oddly enough, and we’re here to talk about credentials today, and really found that at the University of Phoenix, it had changed so many lives of students and served a mission for a lot of students that were underserved that didn’t meet sometimes the traditional requirements for admissions at other schools.

And as someone who wanted to get their degree and move and get a master’s degree into a helping profession field, I actually found that I was helping people every day working for the University of Phoenix. And so I made it my mission to advance my career to help the institution to become stronger, better, and more effective. And that just led to a progression where I was in charge of all of our admissions and evaluation and transfer credit functions as the vice president of admissions and evaluation, where I, you know, have had a lot of ties to our ACRO and PACRO communities related to registrar and admissions officers and working with many organizations just like yours around transfer credentials. But that led me to a place where in my role, I felt I could do more. And I went on the academic side of the house where I worked for our provost implementing our critical path initiatives. And those can be anything from system wise, regulatory wise.

I also do a lot contract negotiations and just making sure that strategically our institution is serving our students as effectively as possible in this changing landscape. And so it’s a fun job and we get to implement things that have direct impacts on the lives of our students. And so that was my journey. Didn’t expect to be here. Didn’t expect to have a PhD after 20 plus years in higher ed, but here I am and loving every minute of it.

Matt Sterenberg (03:05.59)
Yeah, it’s kind of cool. You have a very like personal connection to, to the work that you’re doing. Right. And you kind of came up seeing the progression of what this looks like. Like for you, you didn’t come into it thinking you were going to get into it, but you’re like, Hey, this is pretty cool. Oh, we’re helping people. It’s helped me. And now you kind of naturally have progressed through in your career, through your experiences, which I think is, is fascinating.

So we’re here to talk about how to create a credit mobility culture. I wanted to have you on because University of Phoenix, you and several other people authored a white paper on how to create a credit mobility culture. So what do we mean by credit mobility? You know, like, what does that really mean? I want to define that initially. And then I want to talk about the problem statement, like why this is actually something that’s important, why people should care about this. So.

What is credit mobility? Don’t we already have transfer articulation agreements? What is the big deal?

Marc Booker (04:09.353)
Yeah, you know, it’s funny. We have great document mobility, I think, in the United States, which you can get a transcript pretty easy comparatively to a lot of other different areas or information on credit or transfer. But we don’t actually accept and share credits or the academic achievements of students very well. And so a credit mobility culture is actually looking at the student and everything they bring to the table to give them value for the learning that they have obtained, whether that is even through traditional academic credit or credit for prior learning, it’s looking at everything that student has because ultimately education is expensive and it should be because it’s life-changing, but it also doesn’t need to be redundant. And in a lot of cases, our students have learning that they can bring to the table to improve the cadre of students we have on campus by what they’ve already done and not having to put them through a battery of the same examples or activities.

And ultimately, you know, when you go back to looking at the historical purpose of education, the academy, it’s to improve society and it’s to provide value for those who are learning or learners or teachers. And in certain cases, we can learn from our students as well. And so when you don’t have a credit mobility culture or culture built around accepting everything the student brings to the table, you’re actually cutting off some of that rich, rewarding experience and the type of students that you can bring into your institution to make it better, more profound, and more engaging, and more diverse. And so those are, when you look at like functionally, what can you do? It’s actually breaking it down and not being so tied to policies and procedures or in certain cases, ceremony or circumstance that we get in the way and saying, what do you as a student, whether it’s been prior experience, learning from prior experience, not the experience itself or other factors bring to the table, and how does that actually better our student base, better our faculty, better everyone at the institution to create better, stronger academic engagement environments and then feed the social mobility culture. And so those are the things that I would say are pertinent and important in regards to creating a credit mobile culture.

Matt Sterenberg (06:24.334)
I think it’s so refreshing because is there anything more discouraging than having basically this very specific type of experience that is needed in order to get credit for something? Like think about an adult learner. They’ve had a job for 15 years. I mean, this is really the story, right? They’ve had a job for 15 years. They’ve done all this stuff in real life, which is, you know, the traditional way to think about it is college is preparing you to do it.

You’re like, I’ve already been doing it. Now you’re going back to college to get a degree. And traditionally we’ve only said like, that’s not academic credit. Sorry. Like think about how discouraging that is. Like I’m already doing this. You’re making me pay to, to go back to communicate something that I know that I know this and so that barrier is very real for people, right? And it’s just completely demotivating, right? When you’re basically like, when you tell someone you have to prove you know this to me and they know that they know it, that is such a barrier mentally for people.

Marc Booker (07:30.101)
Oh, it is completely, and I’ll give you an example. In a lot of MBA programs, there is a foundational accounting course, okay? It’s part of the common professional components. Almost every MBA program has an accounting course. They may have multiple, but they have one that’s somewhat foundational. If you have a student who completed a bachelor’s in accountancy and then also completed their CPA exam and they have to take that accounting course, they oftentimes are going crazy in that course

They’ve already done it, lived it, breathed it, could probably teach it. And when they’re in the middle of that, as they’re taking other courses in their program, it can be deflating, it can be demotivating if they already have the knowledge there. Now, you wanna make sure that the student has the knowledge and the appropriate learning to be, and this is one of the golden rules of transfer, to be at a learning level equal to or greater than a student who took the course natively at your institution. And beyond that, that should be the bar that we’re always looking at when it comes to credit transfer.

It shouldn’t be about how you did it. It is, does that student have the level of learning that’s equal to or greater than if they took the course natively at my institution? If that answer is yes, don’t make them repeat the content. And that happens every day, whether it’s learning from outside of the classroom or even inside the classroom. I could tell you many stories of how there’s, I mean, there’ll be a little blip here and I apologize, how English composition can be a war zone on how one English composition course doesn’t satisfy my English composition course. And I’m not sure that that’s always true. I’m sure there is times where it’s true. So I don’t, each institution can make their own decisions, but the times in which students are prevented from even doing a course where it’s writing pretty much essays, like, and then English comp two is writing the research paper. Like we know what should be in there. It’s a failing if people aren’t reaching that standard from the initial institution, but we shouldn’t be arguing about that.


Matt Sterenberg (09:31.206)
That’s like the opening up a can of worms argument. Though it’s like, do I get credit for American short stories, right? Like I’ve read Old Man in the Sea, you know, like I could see how you could, one institution could say like, oh, that’s not the same. And other people are like, well, come on. Like what do we, I’ve read Lord of the Flies, give me my American Lit credit, you know. So I could see how it could be very challenging. So I wanna start with the problem.

Marc Booker (09:40.37)

Marc Booker (09:50.188)

Marc Booker (09:56.169)
and your

Matt Sterenberg (09:58.206)
Statement of why this is really critical. So then this is from your white paper again. Check it out 40 million Americans have some college and No degree right? So what does that mean? They have likely taken on debt Right and they have no credential and we know that credentials are currency right and we have credential inflation There’s so many jobs that whether we can argue about whether you actually need a degree to do that job but

Marc Booker (10:13.523)

Matt Sterenberg (10:26.678)
The bachelor’s degree is so critical. We look at all the data points. So we know it’s still important. And we have 40 million people that dipped their toes in the water or for whatever reason didn’t complete. And it’s that population, correct me if I’m wrong, that the University of Phoenix has kind of said, this is the population that we care about. We wanna get you back in the fold because there’s so many of you that have so many life experiences outside of that college credit that you have.

Marc Booker (10:56.033)
Yeah, so you bring up an interesting point. And so as a working adult serving institution, yes, we do have our focus on students that have taken some credit or had earned something previously in maybe in their either career or academic life and trying to use it to complete that credential. So we want to do that. We were founded as a degree completion institution. In fact, you originally couldn’t be admitted to the University of Phoenix without 60 credits of some sort, including CPL.

Matt Sterenberg (11:21.57)
So you were, you had to be a transfer student, essentially, initially, yeah.

Marc Booker (11:24.361)
you had to be on in 1976 when John Sperling founded us, you had to be a transfer student. Our goal was to help working adults with experience. And that experience could have even from day one, come from credit for prior learning or from traditional credits, but we had an assessment process, we did that. Now to expand access and as we became an institution that was focused on different learning modalities and delivery methods like online, we’ve opened that up to serve more. But reality is we still want to serve a working adult population.

that has some of this experience. I say that as our institutional goal, but that now should be every institution’s goal. Not every, every is more hyperbole. Most institutions need to serve that market because I will tell you that if there are any truths in life, as the old saying goes, there’s death taxes and that 40 million students with no credential but some credit number will go up. That number will continue to go up. There’s no doubt about it because as students

earn credit, go to school, they will continue to have life circumstances that will create, unfortunately, people to drop out. And when they come back into school, it is our job as institutions to make that easier. And right now, we have a lot of opportunity to make that better. As a school that I work at that’s been doing it for a long time, I think we do a pretty good job at that, but we’re always pushing ourselves to be better. But I also know that the industry at large, when you served a more 18 to 22-year-old traditional market, you weren’t thinking about transfer.

You weren’t thinking about these processes or what that would mean to you. And very high level institutions are one institutions that had very little to do with transfer students now have to have created their transfer offices. There are two institutions I know of that are very well, you know, we all know them. They have very, you know, well known academic and sports programs. And they created their transfer offices in the last six years, because they never really had to deal with it. And COVID sped that up. But the…

reality is in our world with mobility. So we have people that are mobile, again, we have documents that are mobile, but these people with these documents need to have their credits accepted to reach a truly credit mobility or credit mobile culture. And that’s where it comes from. And that does require resources. And that requires actually some myth bustings. And we can talk about some myths that are out there, such as, you know, transfer credit students actually.

Marc Booker (13:47.841)
are not financially effective for institutions or can take away from the academic learning, that requires some myth busting to get over that to create a culture that is accepting of students of all types and backgrounds.

Matt Sterenberg (14:00.918)
Well, let’s get into that myth busting now that you bring it up because, you know, the question that comes up is, well, why not? Why aren’t institutions already doing this and doing it well? Why aren’t institutions more keen to accept credit for what is not traditionally an academic credit? Why are institutions hesitant to do this? And so I don’t…

You know, it’s a tough position to ask you to speak for other institutions, you know, but, you know, my, my perspective is, well, they want to keep you in seat as long as possible, right? If, if we give you more credits, you’re going to graduate quicker, less tuition revenue, right? That’s the thing no one would admit. And so it’s difficult to know that whether or not that’s true. There’s also in my mind, there’s the

institutional brand pride. Um, you know, if you want to view it in like a negative light, uh, you know, the ivory tower of academia. That’s like, you know, education here is so much more valuable and we’re not going to accept the fact that you worked somewhere for 10 years, you have to take that course here. And I worked at one of these institutions where I felt like we had. Yeah. A little arrogance, uh, to put it negatively where it was like.

Marc Booker (15:24.289)

Matt Sterenberg (15:26.55)
Let’s make this easier for people to bring credits in. And I understand both sides, but why is this so difficult for institutions to adopt or why is there so much hesitancy?

Marc Booker (15:39.669)
Well, let’s talk about the financial fallacy first, which was about if students who transfer in, they’re gonna take less classes at my institution, I’m gonna make less money in far as revenue. And that exists a lot, whether it’s even traditional credit in certain cases, or sometimes in credit for prior learning. These are areas we aren’t gonna do because they’re gonna take less at our institution. If they take less at our institution, we’re not gonna make as much money. The reality is whether it’s been CALE, whether it’s been ACE, whether it’s been even studies by Lumina,

Transfer students and the more credits you accept and transfer the better retaining that student is and when you have really good whether it’s three plus one programs or two plus two programs that are You know really having students transfer be involved be communicated They retain better and if they retain better than your native population You’re actually going to offset any revenue loss from them not taking credits at your institution before and also you’re helping with the attainment gap which

Ultimately, at the end of the day, that’s all we should, all institutions should be cared about, caring about is, are we completing our students? Are they attaining your credential? Are they moving on and helping society? And so it’s all good things there. It’s just a fear of you do the math in the wrong way and you’re like, well, I’m not having the student take credits here. Well, I think the student who’s taking credits at your institution, retaining better, completing a degree, is better than the student that has some credits, but no credential and drops out and doesn’t do anything. So.

The financial one is if you really sit down and read not only the literature, but do financial modeling, even at a five to 10% clip of better retention, it offsets the revenue issues. So that’s one there. But I think there’s a concern.

Matt Sterenberg (17:16.85)
And isn’t it a problem in the data too, where it’s hard to track the students that didn’t ever enroll because you didn’t give them enough credits. And so you don’t know how long, you know, like you don’t have the data on them because they’re like, Oh, I didn’t get enough credit. I probably would have enrolled if I only had one year left rather than a year and a half or whatever. And so institutions don’t, how do you factor that in? Maybe they went somewhere else or maybe they didn’t go at all.

Marc Booker (17:43.125)
Well, and that’s where I would say admissions and registrars office or admissions and transfers offices need to be integrated. They don’t need to be one of the same, but they need to understand what that flake, well, I’ll call it a flake rate is, as amount of students who are interested in don’t come to your institution because they either don’t understand the credit acceptance, they don’t understand your transfer policies, et cetera. But that’s a blind spot for so many institutions. They go to a transfer fair or they have different activities that go on.

And they’re not counting conversations, they’re only counting acceptances or applications. And some students may be turned off by the application process because it’s not built for a student that is bringing those other things to the table. And that’s where it becomes incumbent in investing on resources to again, help our attainment rate because there’s 40 million again, 40 plus million students that are in this scenario. And the people that are gonna learn to help them, and you’ve already seen it. I mean, you’ve seen institutions change their tune on transfer students.

Institutions get more involved on articulation. Or administrators, even new presidents going into a lot of different schools are like, we need to help this, because that’s a market. That is a tremendous market right now. And in a sense, with a enrollment cliff coming for traditional age students, a lot of the savvy institutions that aren’t more in competitive areas, there are certain institutions that don’t, and will never compete with anyone, they’re gonna be just fine. But there’s a lot of institutions that are gonna be impacted because of the…

traditional age cliff. And if you don’t have the right services to help that 40 to 45 million student base with some credit, no credential, you’re gonna be left out where these other schools are gonna be just fine because they’ve expanded their horizon and added more resources in. But that becomes understanding what your transfer policies are and having line of sight. Whoever your transfer office is, needs to have line of sight and they need to work together with your recruitment or acquisition offices.

And that’s not easy and that’s uncomfortable sometimes. But the institutions that will do that well, you will see literature come out in the next five years on, oh, we did great because we invested in transferring, invested in a different student base and our institution was fine academically and we continued to do well. And in fact, we were more diverse and more rich as far as our student base, because unfortunately the way things have been set up, and I don’t know if we wanna touch on equity at all right now, transfer credit is a…

Marc Booker (20:05.681)
enormous equity issue because a lot of students that have some credit, no credential, were students that were not accepted or were unable to go through more traditional academic means because of how either admissions requirements or other things that were going on in society over the last 50 odd years happened and they went somewhere else. And now they’re looking to complete that academic journey and by no fault of their own, by sometimes systemic items.

they weren’t able to be either transfer somewhere or be accepted elsewhere. And so those items are really, really critical for institutions to think about, not only accepting students because of credential completion, but really sit down and think about the equity issues that are out there from students who are knocking on your doors saying, I have credit, I wanna complete my degree, please accept my learning, please accept who I am. And that goes back to our start of our conversation about culture. Culturally, we need to shift what we think of transfer students.

as just a number with a set of learning credits on a transcript, like 30 credits, 45 credits from a community college or an R1 or whatever. They’re a human that has learned many things that can enrich our academic campuses.

Matt Sterenberg (21:19.17)
I love that you brought up the equity piece because even the way we talk about, and you brought up having these offices work better together, even the way we talk about traditional and non-traditional students, but the fact that we have 40 million people in this bucket, like maybe if we invested more, it would be the traditional student at this point. And Heather Adams was on the podcast.

The episodes came out. I don’t know when we’re gonna release this, but the episodes are out and she just talked about how we often When we think about transfer students We want to put them in their own bucket sometimes because they need different services, which can be true But in the same respect when we cordon them off and have one part of the institution care about them

It loses a lot of its value in terms of how we incorporate them and how we think about them in strategic planning and how we, how we operate and communicate with, with transfer students, right? Transfer, transfer could mean a lot of things. It could mean transfer credit. It could mean transfer directly from another institution. You could have gone to school 10 years ago and you’re transferring credits, but you’re kind of starting over, like we have to kind of come up with new language almost.

to think about this and you brought the equity piece and that’s part of it. How do we even talk about these people in a way that is welcoming and promotes that people wanna continue to invest in this and that they feel welcome to come back to the institution and they don’t feel like an outsider.

Marc Booker (22:54.381)
So I think as you talked about, even nomenclature, to that point, transfer student, it’s a student. It’s a student that some students come with credit. Some students come from a traditional area. Some students come from elsewhere. They’re all students. And as institutions embrace that as a factor of they shouldn’t be treated differently, they shouldn’t be viewed differently. And in fact, if you look at the joint statement on the award of transfer credit, which was.

signed by ACRO, ACE, KL, several others, it talks about ensuring that students that are coming in with credit or have other experiences are treated as a normal native student to that institution. And that you think that would just be part and parcel of what we already do. And sometimes it’s not. And sometimes it’s not also, I wanna give a lot of credit to some institutions in a sense. Sometimes it’s not because of policies and a lot of students have institutions

have changed their policies. But for some institutions, they’re behind the curve just because they haven’t even looked at how their catalog is written and how their policies look like, to even realize, oh wow, we actually do have a separate carve-off category for students with credit versus how we treat students without credit. And sometimes you can actually do a lot of value-add work just by looking at your catalog and challenging what you had and listed in that document for the past 25, 30 odd years.

Matt Sterenberg (24:21.294)
So I want to get into a few best practices, right? And the white paper details this, but I want to, you know, for institutions that are listening to this going, I’m, you know, nodding my head, I love it. What is the University of Phoenix doing? And what do you recommend in terms of how to create a credit mobility culture? Like, what are the tangible steps that you’ve taken that you feel really proud of?

Marc Booker (24:47.437)
So the first one is to design an onboarding process, which is open and in enough to ask the student questions about who they are and what they’re bringing to the table. So again, I like to use the word a whole person paradigm perspective, identifying what you have and what you’re bringing to the table on all parts, whether it’s work experience, whether it’s life experience, whether it’s academic experience, having an environment that speaks to that and also says, we understand and appreciate all of those things.

That’s not to say everything turns into credit. And I wanna make sure that I’m very clear, learning for credit needs to be assessed and we need to understand those by all the instruments that we have put forth by our regulatory bodies and our accreditors. But just asking the questions means a lot to the students because it makes it a more personal experience and an individualized experience. And in a lot of cases, I would say the first best practice is don’t treat students like cookie cutters. Try not to do that.

And I know with high volumes, it’s hard to do. I know we have limited budgets, especially in the admissions registrars areas, but try to create some individualized processes and ask questions. Like get to know the student in a way that’s real and meaningful. The other part is if you want to have a learning mobility culture, be clear and upfront on where things will and won’t apply if you can. We have a pre-eval process.

If you have high volumes of credit students, I suggest that you provide some sort of pre-eval to give a student idea of where their credits are or aren’t gonna fit. And again, it’s okay that sometimes credits don’t fit. For example, if you were a business major and you wanna try to get into a nursing program, not a lot of those credits are going to fit. And that’s okay, you can explain that. But business to business, we would expect higher results.

But being clear about what those can be or those permutations of credits is a great value add activity. And if you know that you accept prior learning from previous areas or organizations or companies or even military, and ACE does a great job on giving you a guidebook on where some of this credit from military occupations will fit, give students an idea on that. Even if you’re a military-friendly transfer institution, sometimes just putting you

Marc Booker (27:08.269)
putting it on a website, we accept ACE credits as valued by the military, you’ll be surprised at how many institutions don’t have something that is clear front and center or at the top of their pages about we do this. And if you’re a military student, you probably want value from that learning and that may be buried 10 pages deep on your webpage and that going through 10 pages or 10 clicks is probably gonna defer the student to some other institution. So make your materials on transfer and your processes on transfer.

clear and upfront. The other thing I would definitely suggest for institutions to have a credit mobility culture is start creating data and using data on what your prior decisions were. We have a database, we call it Reuse. It reuses decisions we’ve made on transfer credit decisions for over a decade or more. It has millions and millions of course decisions and we actually use that to help students actually speed up our process.

first of all, and second of all, give good insight onto where things may or may not fit on their degree program. Other practices include electronic transcript exchange. Whether it’s your organization, other organizations out there, I cannot stress enough, working adult students don’t have a lot of time. And because of that, anything that can be done to speed up the process by partnering with entities that have a network for electronic or EDI

helps tremendously and you cut down data entry. I mean, you don’t have to have someone data enter something if it comes in electronically. And to wit in regards to those electronic transcript exchange items and those outputs, make sure that the student has a good understanding of what it takes to order a transcript. Some students don’t realize, oh, my open transcript that I’ve had on my shelf for the last year is not accepted by my institution. I need to go order a new one.

Be clear on those ordering processes and let them know what it takes. In our institution, and this is something not everyone can do and I recognize that, but it pays for itself. We order transcripts on behalf of our students. We pay the nominal fee. We won’t pay parking fees or some other things like that, which is going away now. I’m so glad to hear that most institutions aren’t holding transcripts on fees. I’ve been doing this for 20 plus years. There was a lot of fees, but order transcripts on behalf of students and help them because…

Marc Booker (29:32.609)
They don’t know who to talk to. You may know better, especially if you’re within the same state, you may know better how to order that for students and get that going so that they can have a decision and start school as effectively and clearly as possible. And then again, the last thing I’ll say in best practices, look at your policies and look to create an environment where transfer students are just these students. We said it several times on this call, they’re just students who bring different.

learning and different experience to the table, but if they can be integrated the same as anyone else, they’re going to be a viable and enriching part of your campus.

Matt Sterenberg (30:11.394)
A few things that you brought up really stuck out to me, the database piece, because when you brought up, let’s talk to every student and let’s get to know them. Everyone’s going to be like, that’s not scalable. Like, how can we do that? We don’t have the staff, but if you have that database, you can talk to them, get to them. But it’s basically like a scalable solution to, you know, have a custom conversation when you think about it. And then the fees piece, like.

and ordering the transcript for a student. I talked to a few learners this year about they were using parchment. They didn’t realize how easy it was to order their transcript, but they had been putting it off for months. So they said, Oh, parchment was so easy, which was great to hear. Right. But they didn’t know that until they did it. So they put it off for months. It took them 20 minutes to order all the transcripts.

So if you can do it for them, because it doesn’t matter how easy it is, it matters what their perception of how easy it is, right? So if you can do it for them, then great. So Mark, I wanna end with something kind of fun.

All right. I’ve got a few things here on my list. All right. These are experiences. I want to know if you can give me credit for these, these learning experiences, okay, or these prior experiences are military experience. You already answered that. Great.

Marc Booker (31:35.498)

Matt Sterenberg (31:40.226)
Assistant manager at Chipotle. I’m just trying to put myself in position of people that are like, hey, I wanna go back to school. Like, what does that look like? I’m an assistant manager at Chipotle. I wanna go back to University of Phoenix.

Marc Booker (31:51.201)
So it would depend on the learning that you’ve obtained. So I don’t know if Chipotle has any structured management programs. There could be a potential if they have structured management programs as you go through the management process at Chipotle. Additionally, your experience in learning. So let’s assume you’ve been an assistant manager at Chipotle. It may be on the edge of a few things because it depends on the amount of learning you’ve obtained from that experience. But if you have had people skills,

understanding organizational design, structure, scheduling, HR type things, there could be things at a 200 level management understanding that you could get some credit or learning force. Now, likely if there’s not a structured management program, we’ll have to do an individualized assessment and have either some sort of written essay examination, some sort of instrument. The key is, is there an instrument to assess that? And…

I would, management experience is something we can assess with a faculty member to determine, again, do you have knowledge greater than or equal to someone native at the institution? So yes, we could. And also, for example, ACE evaluates this. I’m gonna use a different password. McDonald’s has a management training program that’s ACE evaluated, same evaluation process they use for military credits. If you go through that structured program,

Yes, we would give you credit for the ACE assessment, but also we can do, like Chipotle did not, we could do individualized assessments. It’s a long answer and yes, credit, we could, your credits will vary. I have to put the disclaimer from legal here. Your credits will vary based on your experience and everything else you read the table, but yes, theoretically we could.

Matt Sterenberg (33:35.446)
All right, my cousin went to college and told me about it.

Marc Booker (33:39.501)
No. The president went to college because there’s no, there’s no whimsical learning on telling that. So there’s no learning that would be demonstrated there.

Matt Sterenberg (33:44.151)

Matt Sterenberg (33:47.554)
Alright, I’m a huge Notre Dame football fan. That one’s for you, Mark. Uh, nah. Okay.

Marc Booker (33:51.537)
Okay, all right. Being okay. Fan itself, no, but it brings something else.

Matt Sterenberg (34:00.534)
Uh, that was, that was a joke, but here’s another kind of, here’s the kind of the question that I want to ponder long-term, which is like information is abundant right now, right? And then we have these prior learning assessments where basically, you know, you’re testing what somebody knows, whether they got it from an academic setting or not.

Marc Booker (34:02.934)
I’m going to go to bed.

Marc Booker (34:15.402)

Matt Sterenberg (34:27.366)
I watch a lot of YouTube videos. I learned a lot about this, but I haven’t maybe necessarily done it. You know, like I have the head knowledge, maybe not the application. You know, so I think it’s just, that’s kind of the mental block for me, which is like, what is and how do you conceive of this? You know, Mark Booker. How do you, what is important with?

Like, what do we really need to prove that people not just know it? Is there another layer that I’m missing? You know, that University of Phoenix or Mark Booker thinks there’s something else we were testing or something else that people have to prove that is really going to apply so that we can feel really good about assessing what they know.

Marc Booker (35:16.865)
Well, it’s always about the instrumentation of the assessment. And to your example, someone who watches a lot of YouTube and learns something, I’ll give you a perfect example of that. There are statistics videos on YouTube that you can learn and prep for the DSST statistics upper division exam. And students have passed it through that means alone. And the instrumentation ends up being that DSST exam at that point in time. Ultimately, as long as there is a

As long as there’s a way or instrumentation to prove your knowledge. And that doesn’t have to be a test. Sometimes it can be a practical activity. Sometimes it can be some sort of project. It’s got to be something that someone can say, OK, you have stuff in your head. How do you show that you really understand that? And so we’re not at a place where we can mind read completely yet. I’m sure with AI, that would be the next thing. But.

Matt Sterenberg (36:12.772)

Marc Booker (36:14.313)
As long as there’s an assessment. Now, I say that because that’s where the direct assessment programs that are coming out, that a lot of schools are doing and we have one as well, where they become really interesting. Where we have the instrumentation as part of the degree program itself, but if you have knowledge already, you don’t have to deal with all the seat time. We have some faculty that will help you and the assessment is ours, but it’s a direct assessment of that knowledge.

It’s kind of a cousin to credit for prior learning, except it’s faculty-driven and faculty-led in real time for the classes. And so that, I think, is the closest we’ve gotten to learning, in at least the US, as acceptable ways of progressing with having knowledge that comes from almost anywhere. But again, there’s always got to be that instrumentation. And that’s where the challenge is, who’s verifying the instrument and what is that rigor subject to?

Now, the interesting thing I think you need to look for is as we do instrumentation and organizations or corporations do instrumentation, the marrying of more institutions saying the instrument for this IT certification or exam, which is already happening, is our instrument for also determining your academic credit or academic progression. And I think that’s going to happen more and more and more. And then it won’t, again, how you learned is less important than you demonstrating what you learned.

but also weaving that into the academic experience and the academic learning and the process of being engaged and being in the classroom. Because I don’t think we’re ever gonna get to a place where learning is completely divorced of institutions because there is something to the experience of working together and learning from people who have done it before. But I think that there needs to be recognition of there’s different ways to learn and different ways to bring knowledge to the table that helps us grow and again, improve society.

Matt Sterenberg (38:50.318)
All right. Well, Dr. Mark Booker, I really appreciate you joining me talking about credit mobility and credit mobility culture and the work that you’re doing at University of Phoenix. Thanks for joining me. I learned a lot and so I’m sure everybody else did and check out the work that they’re doing and check out the white paper. But Mark, thanks for joining me.

Marc Booker (39:11.297)
Thanks so much, Matt. Good talking to you today.

There’s always more to learn.

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