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Personalized Learning Graduate Shares His Experience

by Margaret Hurst
Marketing Specialist

March 13, 2015

Last December, NAU’s competency-based education degree program, Personalized Learning, awarded its first three diplomas. Launched in June 2013, Personalized Learning is a rigorous, self-paced education degree program that awards credit for knowledge and skills acquired instead of time spent in class. 

Among the graduates is Richard Brandt, who works for a title insurance company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Richard had completed some college and computer classes in the past and now wanted to complete a bachelor’s degree online.

Enter Personalized Learning. 

Richard’s IT experience made him a perfect candidate for the Computer Information Technology degree. “I chose the Personalized Learning program over similar options because of the competency-based curriculum,” he says. “As a professional working in the field I was studying, it was a great boon to me to be able to use my existing knowledge to show that additional time spent 'in class' wasn't a necessary component to meet the goals I had for my time in college.”

Richard has a family and a full-time job. For him, going back to school was about finally getting that diploma to advance his career. “I wasn’t looking for a classroom experience,” says Richard. “With my schedule and necessary timeframe, my goal was to be able to show my employer and prospective graduate programs that I was prepared for the next steps in my career and education.”

Personalized Learning isn’t for everyone. Just ask Richard. “I have encouraged people I know who have not yet finished their undergraduate education to look at the PL program, emphasizing that it is perhaps best-suited to those who are autodidacts by nature and do not require a course deadline as a motivator, and those who are already prone to studying subjects without the benefit of a classroom setting.”

While Personalized Learning is a different way to earn your degree, it meets Northern Arizona University’s rigorous degree requirements. When Richard earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology, his diploma reads the same as all NAU graduates. 

"I will admit to a certain pride in my commencement; it was probably as exciting for my kids, though, to see that Dad finished college and to know that I have a fighting chance of getting in to one of the graduate programs I've had my eye on,” he says. “I should have finished my undergrad work years ago - and now I have the parchment that shows that I have.”

Congratulations Richard and the rest of Personalized Learning’s new graduates!

An earlier version of this article contained misquotes that have been corrected.

Additional Story Info
For more information, contact:
NAU-Extended Campuses
(800)-426-8315
ec.marketing@nau.edu
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