Approach to Learning
Curricula for all Purdue University Global programs are designed around career-oriented learning outcomes that prepare students to execute activities and projects to be successful in the workplace.
Learning outcomes are written statements that describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors students are expected to master upon completion of a course or program at Purdue Global. There are four types of learning outcomes:
- Program Outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors students are expected to master upon completion of a program. Every program offered at Purdue Global contains several program outcomes. All other learning outcomes map to program outcomes.
- Course Outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors students are expected to master upon completion of a course.
- General Education Literacies (GELs) describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors students are expected to master to be literate in the general education areas of social sciences, math, professionalism and career development, communications, critical thinking, ethics, science, technology, arts and humanities, and research and information.
- Professional Competencies describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors students are expected to master throughout a degree program to be competent in the professional areas of communication, teamwork, leadership, problem solving and critical thinking, personal presentation, and multiculturalism and diversity.
The building blocks of Purdue Global’s programs are courses. There are three types: traditional courses, module courses, and open courses that provide students with options to meet their preferences regarding learning approach, schedule, and pace. Traditional courses and module courses, both credit bearing, are delivered in:
- 10-week terms for undergraduate and graduate courses (A, B, and C tracks)
- 6-week terms for select graduate courses (D track)
Traditional courses allow for multiple learning outcomes, and their credit value varies. They provide instructor-led, step-by-step learning with a fixed weekly schedule. Each traditional course contains assigned readings, learning activities, graded assignments, and virtual scheduled meetings (seminars) with an instructor and peers each week throughout the term. Students also have the opportunity to work with their instructors outside of scheduled interaction through virtual office hours. Instructors score performance on weekly learning activities, and the final course grade at the end of the term is the cumulative result of those scores.
Module courses are one-credit “pieces” of traditional courses built around a single learning outcome. They provide student-directed learning with ongoing instructor support over a variable schedule.
Module courses begin in the online classroom by taking a readiness check, a self-assessment where results show how familiar the student is with concepts in the module course. After reviewing the results of the readiness check, students determine how much time and effort to put into course readings and practice materials before they are ready to demonstrate mastery of course concepts in a summative assessment—a competency assessment. If the student passes the assessment, the module course is complete, and they can begin work on the next module course in sequence on their schedule without having to wait for the end of a term. An instructor is available throughout the module course via live “faculty connect” meetings, discussion board exchanges, and email to teach, coach, and support the student. Students can collaborate with classmates via the discussion board.
Open courses, offered through Open College at Purdue Global, are available to the public at no cost. If a student takes one and wishes to demonstrate mastery of the course concepts they have learned, they may take a corresponding course assessment for a small fee. If they pass the assessment, they earn college credit to apply toward a Purdue Global degree program.
While open courses can be applied toward many Purdue Global programs, they are particularly useful for the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies (BSPr) and Associate of Science in Professional Studies (ASPr) programs offered through Open College.
At Purdue Global, learning paths allow students to progress through their program in ways that align with their preferences in learning, schedule, pace, and degree of customization. There are three learning paths: GlobalTrack, ExcelTrack™, and CustomTrack.
Programs on the GlobalTrack learning path are composed of traditional courses, while also allowing for the inclusion of module courses, when available for the specific program and term. This flexibility gives students opportunities to adjust their course load and pace along their path toward degree completion. All Purdue Global programs are offered on GlobalTrack except for the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies and Associate of Science in Professional Studies, which are offered on the CustomTrack learning path.
Programs offered on the ExcelTrack™ learning path are composed of module courses, with only a select few traditional courses required. Students must take all of their program’s courses as module courses, unless only a traditional course fulfills a particular requirement. ExcelTrack™ is designed to allow students with applicable skills, professional experience, and self-direction to accelerate their pace toward earning their degree, and it uses a term-based tuition model: the more courses a student completes per term, the greater their cost savings. ExcelTrack™ is best suited for students who can commit to a heavy course load and rapid pace of learning every term and thereby achieve savings in cost and time toward degree completion.
Open College’s Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies (BSPr) and Associate of Science in Professional Studies (ASPr) offer the CustomTrack learning path, which gives students the opportunity to create a self-paced degree plan that focuses on professional knowledge and skills, project management, problem solving, and strategic planning. Both programs culminate in a capstone class with a portfolio project. Working with a faculty advisor, students design their degree by combining credits earned through course assessments, creation of an experiential learning portfolio, and/or transfer credits from other accredited institutions. These two programs are nonterm- and subscription-based. They are for students who bring extensive experience and education to achieve significant savings in cost and time toward degree completion.