CBExchange 2017: Overcoming Resistance

This is the fifth post in a series of posts on the CBExchange 2017 Conference held in Phoenix, AZ. All posts are available at tag CBExchange-2017.

How do we successfully propose and overcome the resistance to developing a CBE program? Several Sessions addressed these issues, one from the quality perspective and the other from the opportunities addressed. Both are necessary and help overcome any opposition and justify funding to resolve the compelling need.

Quality of CBE

Referencing other programs, and then executing and proving quality are addressed in my posts: CBExchange 2017: Telling Your Quality Story (Qualitatively)CBExchange 2017: Telling Your Quality Story (Quantitatively),  and CBExchange 2017: Principles & Standards (pending post).


Another session, “SESSION 7D: From Institutional Contributions to a Statewide Initiative: A Look at Texas,” given by Amardeep Kahlon1 and Jennifer Nailos2 described the problems they sought to solve that helped secure funding and support for Austin Community College’s competency-based Accelerated Programmer Training3 program. The opportunities addressed by their program are:

  • Affordable Education — Governor Perry challenged Texas colleges and universities to develop $15,000 bachelor’s degrees and ACC is a subrecipient of a Texas Affordable Baccalaureate (TAB) expansion grant
  • Rapid Retooling — the APT program addressed the needs of professionals with degrees in other fields to qualify for new work
  • Meet employer needs and provide an affordable alternative to bootcamps — ACC set up their first CBE offering, the Accelerated Programmer Training (APT) program, through a Department of Labor grant in 2013
  • Quick & Affordable Replicability — the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board granted ACC funds to set up the Fast Track to Success (FTTS) project to expand the program to as many as 119 other Texas institutions
  • Flexibility — meeting the needs of working adults for continuing education

If you are looking for funding for CBE programs at your institutions, these are excellent starting points. The other key learning is the tailoring done by Kahlon and Nailos for this program to the needs of their communities. The use of grant sources at different stages made efficient use of work already done: pilot of concept, scale-up to a regular program, inclusion in other efforts, and dissemination to other parties.


  1. Amardeep Kahlon is professor of computer science and director of “Fast Track to Success” in the Texas Competency-Based Education Workgroup.
  2. Jennifer Nailos is a program director  at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
  3. Accelerated Programmer Training, Austin County Community College. Retrieved Sep. 24, 2017 from http://sites.austincc.edu/campaigns/accelerated-programmer-training/



David Leasure

An innovator in online higher education, David Leasure has led online university programs, problem-based approaches to online learning, and competency-based education. He has served as provost at Western Governors University, Colorado Technical University and Jones International University. Leasure earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in computer science and was associate professor of computer science at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, where he turned his interests from artificial intelligence to teaching and learning with technology. Leasure led the creation of CTU Online, served as CTU’s doctoral chancellor, and president of Jones International University. His core belief is that all students can learn and his passion is helping them and their institutions succeed.