At VLACS, students have the opportunity to learn through experience as they participate in internships, travel, work, independent learning, entrepreneurship, service learning and more. Students can enroll at any time, and work and learn at a pace that meets their needs.
During the “design” phase you’ll refine your ideas and connect your activities to our academic competencies.
During the “learn” phase, you will be involved in your internship, travel or other independent study, while documenting what you’ve learned. Your VLACS instructor will support you throughout your experience.
During the “assess” phase, you’ll demonstrate what you’ve learned and participate in a discussion-based assessment with your VLACS instructor. The learn and assess phases will occur as needed throughout your experience until you’ve achieved competency.
Leverage existing interests, talents, and passions
Students are able to explore their interests, talents and passions, making learning fun and engaging. Learning through experiences expands horizons and opens students to a world filled with learning opportunities.
With Anytime, Anywhere learning, students can learn at their own pace and in the setting that makes the most sense for their preferred style of learning.
Efficiency of Learning
Students can weave multiple competencies from the entire VLACS catalog into their unique experiences to accomplish academic goals efficiently and inline with their vision. This will depend on the Experience, and how many competencies you wish to earn. It may take about four weeks to complete an experience that satisfies a single competency or 32-36 weeks to master the competencies for a full-credit (~8 competencies).
Students gain experience in real-world settings, connect with an expert in the field, with the support and guidance of a VLACS Instructor.
A student interns at a private restaurant chain based in her community, whose owner wanted to expand advertising via the web and social media. The student helped design a social media marketing campaign and helped build a new website. She contacted a number of marketing firms and website designers to learn more about marketing and web development. By the end of her internship, the restaurant not only had a new website but also a thriving social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This student was able to master several competencies that included persuasive writing and HTML5 coding.
No. At VLACS, you can earn traditional “course” credit through a variety of pathways as long as all of the competencies in a competency group or course are mastered. For instance, you could master two English and two science competencies during an internship. Then you could master the rest of the English and science competencies by enrolling in and completing the remaining competencies in a course or a project.
This depends on the Experience that you design and the amount of time you have to commit to your experience. It usually takes about four weeks to complete an experience that satisfies a single competency or 32-36 weeks to master the competencies for a full-credit.
Courses, Projects, and Experiences are alternative ways for you to learn, meet competencies and earn credit toward graduation. Courses are organized by traditional subject areas and take you through the materials in a similar way to traditional courses in school. Projects provide the opportunity for you to learn more independently, through web resources, and demonstrate your learning by completing a project. Experiences allow you to work with a VLACS instructor to design your own method for learning and demonstrating competency. The important idea to understand is that that competencies can be met through a single pathway or by combining Courses, Projects, and Experiences. Regardless of the pathway, students work closely with a VLACS instructor.
Experiences can happen through internships, service learning, travel, independent study or entrepreneurship.
Credit is earned by learning and meeting a group of our existing competencies. So, the answer is maybe. Students have to demonstrate that competencies have been mastered in order to receive “credit” for the Experience.
No, Experiences must be designed with a VLACS instructor and then activities and tasks are completed.
No, a VLACS instructor will work with you to design an Experience. You will ultimately be responsible for setting up the Experience.
Yes, provided you meet all of the course competencies. You might meet them all through the Experience, but more commonly most of them are met through the Experience and the remainder are completed through project or course work.
Students work on Experiences on a regular basis. This may mean each week day or a few week days for an extended period of time. Students will be expected to meet with their instructor weekly and meet due dates for their assignments.
You will start working on your chosen competencies after completing an introductory unit that focuses on designing your Experience. In this unit, you will, among other things, identify the competencies you will pursue, determine what you will do to demonstrate mastery of each competency, and conduct some initial research on the competency skills and concepts.