Open Course Option for ASBA

About the Degree

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The Open Course Option is a new degree pathway created by Thomas Edison State College which allows students to complete the Associate in Science in Business Administration degree by taking free, open, online courses from the Saylor Foundation that are aligned with the College’s prior learning assessment program.

The option enables students to take open courses at no cost and then apply what they learned in those open courses by successfully completing a portfolio assessment or the College’s credit-by-exam program, TECEP®. Some credits can also be earned by passing a College-Level Exam Program (CLEP) exam or Saylor.org’s own NCCRS exams, which have been evaluated and recommended for college credit by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). Students using the Open Course option will also complete the College’s new online prior learning assessment courses, PLA-100 and PLA-200.

The Open Course option is self-paced, so students can complete courses and assessments on their own schedule, independent from monthly semesters and deadlines.

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Thomas Edison State College subject matter experts (mentors) have reviewed each Saylor.org course for quality, consistency, and appropriateness, and then paired it with a corresponding Thomas Edison State College course.  Therefore, you should be mastering the same learning outcomes going through a Saylor course, as you would by going through a Thomas Edison State College course.  Then all you need to do is go to Thomas Edison State College and prove to them that you learned something, and they’ll give you credit and a degree.

The main focus of this pathway is flexibility, so you can progress through this process in any way you choose.  However, there are a few “milestones” that you need to accomplish in a specific order:

MILESTONE 1: After you’ve reviewed all of the information below, and believe this to be the right program for you, apply to Thomas Edison State College. This will grant you access to College advisors and mentors, allow you to enroll into their PLA100/200, allow you to participate in portfolio assessment, and finally, earn a degree.

MILESTONE 2: You must complete the TECEP exams for ENC101 English Composition I and ENC102 English Composition II.  You can prepare for these exams by taking the corresponding Saylor courses (English Composition I: ENGL001 and English Composition II: ENGL002).  If you think you are reasonably good at writing, you can also just sign up to take them right away (note that these exams are Pass/Fail); or, if you are able to satisfy requirements for English 101 and 102 via transfer credit from elsewhere, you can skip this step.

MILESTONE 3: The only Thomas Edison State College courses students must complete in the Open Course option are PLA-100/200, which review the concept and methods of prior learning assessment and will show you how to document and articulate your prior learning through the creation of portfolio assessments. You must complete this milestone in advance of submitting portfolios for any Saylor.org courses that you will have assessed in this way.

These courses are now openly licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC-BY 4.0), and can be freely accessed here (PLA-100) (PLA-200). At this time, you cannot receive credit towards your degree for working through the open version of these courses; if you choose however, you can work through these open courses tuition-free, prior to enrolling in the for-credit options.

MILESTONE 4: You must complete some combination of the remaining course requirements/assessments listed on the degree map below.


Associates of Science in Business Administration Degree Map

TESC Courses Saylor.org Equivalent Method of Earning Credit TESC Credit
I. General Education Requirements show 30
A. Intellectual and Practical Skills
ENC-101 English Composition I ENGL001: English Composition I TECEP
ENC-102 English Composition II ENGL002: English Composition II TECEP
MAT-121 College Algebra MA001: Beginning Algebra TECEP/Saylor NCCRS
STA-201 Introduction to Statistics MA121: Introduction to Statistics TECEP
B. Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World
ECO-112 Microeconomics ECON101-CLEP: Principles of Microeconomics Portfolio/CLEP
Humanities, Social Sciences or Natural Sciences Elective (Pick 1)
ECO-111 Macroeconomics ECON102: Principles of Macroeconomics Portfolio/CLEP
POS-101 Introduction to Political Science POLSC101: Introduction to Political Science Portfolio
POS-299 POLSC201: Introduction to Western Political Thought Saylor NCCRS
POS-282 Introduction to Comparative Politics POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics TECEP
C. Personal and Social Responsibility
Ethics Course
PHI-286 Contemporary Ethics PHIL103: Moral and Political Philosophy Portfolio
Diversity Course (Pick 1)
ECO-490 International Economics ECON307: International Trade Portfolio
HIS-126 World History from 1600-Present HIST103 World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras TECEP
POS-282 Introduction to Comparative Politics POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics TECEP
Ethics or Diversity Elective (Pick 1)
ECO-490 International Economics ECON307: International Trade Portfolio
HIS-126 World History from 1600-Present HIST103 World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras TECEP
POS-282 Introduction to Comparative Politics POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics TECEP
D. General Education Electives
PLA100/200 Traditional Course
II. Management Core show 18
ACC-101 Principles of Financial Accounting BUS103 Introduction to Financial Accounting Portfolio
ACC-102 Principles of Managerial Accounting BUS105 Managerial Accounting Portfolio
LAW-201 Business Law BUS205 Business Law and Ethics Portfolio/Saylor NCCRS
MAN-301 Principles of Management BUS208 Principles of Management Portfolio/Saylor NCCRS
MAR-301 Principles of Marketing BUS203 Principles of Marketing Portfolio/Saylor NCCRS
COS-101 Introduction to Computers/CIS CS101 Introduction to Computer Science I Portfolio/Saylor NCCRS
III. Business Electives (Pick 2) show 6
OPM-351 Business Statistics BUS204 Business Statistics Saylor NCCRS
COM-373 Managerial Communications BUS210 Corporate Communications Saylor NCCRS
MAN-432 Small Business Management BUS305 Small Business Management Portfolio
MAN-435 Project Management BUS402 Project Management Portfolio
IV. Free Electives (Pick 2)  show 6
CMP-354 Network Technology CS402 Computer Communication and Networks TECEP
ECO-111 Macroeconomics ECON102: Principles of Macroeconomics Portfolio/CLEP
HIS-126 World History from 1600-Present HIST103 World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras TECEP
POS-101 Introduction to Political Science POLSC101: Introduction to Political Science Portfolio
POS-299 POLSC201: Introduction to Western Political Thought Saylor NCCRS
POS-282 Introduction to Comparative Politics POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics TECEP
Total 60

Aside from the specific milestones, the rest of your academic journey is up to you.  You are free to take the courses in whichever order you chose, and to select whichever form of assessment you prefer (based on the options above).  But for those of you looking for more structure, we’ve put together a sample pathway below, that incorporates each of these milestones:

Open Course Option ASBA


Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Can I earn a degree for free using the Open Course option?
    2. How much will it cost to complete an Associate in Science in Business Administration Degree using the Open Course option?
    3. What if I know some of what’s in this course? Do I still need to take it?
    4. What is Prior Learning Assessment?
    5. What is a TECEP®?
    6. What is Portfolio Assessment?
    7. What is the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)?
    8. What is the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP®)?
    9. What is a Saylor course like? How is it different from a Thomas Edison State College course?
    10. What is a Saylor NCCRS course and how is it different than a regular Saylor Course?
    11. If I want to major in something other than business administration, can I still take Saylor Foundation Courses and then take the corresponding TECEP®, CLEP® or Portfolio Assessment?
    12. Who do I go to if I have additional questions?

 

Can I earn a degree for free from Thomas Edison using the Open Course option? TOP

No. To earn a degree from Thomas Edison State College, you must be an enrolled student. Becoming an enrolled student requires you to select an annual tuition plan. While there are no costs for taking the Saylor courses associated with the Open Course option at Thomas Edison State College, students must also register for and successfully complete Thomas Edison State College (TECEP®) exams and portfolio assessments to earn credit for the course requirements. In addition to the cost of TECEP® exams and portfolio assessments, there are also costs associated with the application and enrollment process and tuition costs for the PLA-100 and PLA-200 courses.

How much will it cost to complete an Associate in Science in Business Administration Degree using the Open Course option? TOP

The cost of earning the Associate in Science in Business Administration at Thomas Edison State College through the Open Course option varies depending on several factors, which include whether you are a New Jersey resident who qualifies for in-state tuition, how many credits you are able to transfer to your degree program, how many credits you have to complete to earn the degree, which assessments you use to earn credit and how long it takes you to complete your degree.

However, the lowest price available is $3,646 for New Jersey residents and $5,279 for out-of-state students.  This price assumes that the student is able to complete the degree program in one year, and chooses the TECEP, CLEP and NCCRS when possible. The chart below lists a summary of the tuition and fees associated with the Open Course option.

Tuition and Fees In-State Out-of-State
TECEP Exams $102 $108
CLEP Exams $80 + fees $80 + fees
NCCRS Exam* $25 $25
TESC Course Registration Fee $56 $56
Standard Tuition (PLA100/200) $510 $687
Application Fee $75 $75
Technological Services Fee $121 $121
Enrollment Fee $1,642 $3,062

*  The $25 fee for NCCRS exams comes from using the online proctoring service, Proctor U. If you use your own qualified proctor, this fee is waived.

Portfolio Assessment is a little different.  These assessments can be grouped together in order to attain credit for more than one course, and their cost structure is built around how many credits you earn.  For the first 12 credits you earn through portfolio assessment, you pay $350.  For each group of 6 credits after the first 12, you pay an additional $200.  These prices are consistent in and out of state.

What if I know some of what’s in this course?  Do I still need to take it? TOP

No. Students are free to use the Saylor courses as much or as little as they want. Each Saylor course has been reviewed by Thomas Edison State College mentors who are subject matter experts on the topic covered by the course and who have determined that students who successfully complete the Saylor courses used in the Open Course option have a reasonable chance of completing the associated Thomas Edison State College assessments. If a student has some form of prior learning, such as work experience, professional training, independent study, etc., they may skip sections in the Saylor courses that they feel they already know, or simply use the Saylor course as a refresher. Students may also take the assessment without taking the Saylor assessment if they feel prepared for it, but should note that the assessments are pass/fail with no refunds.

What is Prior Learning Assessment? TOP

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a flexible, efficient way of earning college credits for college-level knowledge you have acquired outside a traditional classroom. If you are like most adult students, you are likely to have learned something outside of college, whether it was through work, professional or military training, volunteering, hobbies or other types of experiences, and this expertise may be related to your degree program. Through prior learning assessment, Thomas Edison State College is able to determine if you possess college-level knowledge that is equivalent to what you would have learned in a college-level course and whether that knowledge can be applied to your degree program. The main ways Thomas Edison assess prior knowledge is through credit-by-exam programs, such as TECEP®, or portfolio assessment.

What is a TECEP®? TOP

The Thomas Edison State College Examination Program (TECEP®) is the College’s credit-by-exam program and was created to allow students who have acquired knowledge and skills through prior learning to earn credit for what they already know. These proctored tests are generally two-to-three hours long and typically consist of essays or multiple choice questions, depending on the topic. Like many other credit-by-exam programs, TECEP® exams are pass/fail.

What is Portfolio Assessment? TOP

Portfolio Assessment is a method of documenting your prior learning that involves working directly with a Thomas Edison State College mentor who is a subject matter expert in the course you are challenging. Generally, there are two components in developing a portfolio: a learning narrative and supporting evidence. The learning narrative is your opportunity to relate what you learned, how you learned it, and why you learned it. The learning narrative describes how your knowledge meets the particular learning objectives for the course you are challenging. The evidence section supports your claims of possessing the college-level knowledge and includes the proof that substantiates your narrative. Evidence can include professional licensures or certifications, test results, samples of work, letters of reference and other concrete examples that document that you possess the college-level knowledge required for the course.

What is the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)? TOP

The National College Credit Recommendation Service evaluates educational programs and training offered outside the traditional college classroom setting and recommends those programs to be accepted as college credit equivalencies. To evaluate a program, the NCCRS coordinate teams of college faculty evaluators and subject matter experts to conduct extensive reviews of education and training programs offered by corporations, unions, religious organizations and proprietary schools. Courses and programs recommended for credit by NCCRS are accepted by Thomas Edison State College.

What is the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP®)? TOP

CLEP® (College Level Examination Program) exams test the mastery of college-level material that you may have acquired through any number of ways, such as college-level course instruction, independent study, work experience or other programs of study that you have pursued. CLEP® exams are free-standing exams that any individual can pay to take in order to prove that he or she has mastered a given subject area at the college level. CLEP® exams are designed and offered by The College Board, which administers the Advanced Placement (AP) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) exam programs. The CLEP is one of several credit-by-exam programs students use to earn credit at Thomas Edison State College.

What is a Saylor course like? How is it different from a Thomas Edison State College course? TOP

Each open course offered by the Saylor Foundation has been designed by a trained course designer and a subject matter expert. On the surface, these courses resemble syllabi. They contain learning outcomes, time advisories and break the course down into individual units. Within these units, students will find educational materials such as readings, videos, activities and assessments.

Additionally, students have access to an ePortfolio account and student discussion boards once they register at Saylor.org. The first of these tools will help students track their progress throughout this program, and the second will give them access to the Saylor learning community, where they can find additional support.

Saylor courses are different from Thomas Edison State College courses in two important ways. First, these courses are entirely self-directed, self-paced and have no mentor support. Students are free to take as little or as long as they want to work through a particular unit or course. Second, the assessment structure is different. Thomas Edison State College courses generally have discussion board posts, assignments and assessments all throughout the course. While some Saylor courses also have assessments throughout, these assessments do not count towards a student’s grade. The final assessment (TECEP®, Portfolio, CLEP®, etc.) is how a student is able to earn credit that can be applied to their degree program at Thomas Edison State College.

What is a Saylor NCCRS course and how is it different than a regular Saylor Course? TOP

Saylor NCCRS courses have an NCCRS exam option included in the courses, which provide students the opportunity to earn college credit for the course. There is a nominal proctor fee for taking the course.

Nine of Saylor’s courses currently feature the NCCRS exam option. Seven of those courses are associated with Thomas Edison State College’s Open Course option, enabling students who successfully pass the exam to earn credit to Thomas Edison State College in a similar manner that students do with CLEP exams. These courses include: MA001: Beginning Algebra; BUS203: Principles of Marketing; BUS204: Business Statistics; BUS205: Business Law and Ethics; BUS208: Principles of Management; BUS210: Corporate Communications; and POLSC201: Introduction to Western Political Thought. All other Saylor course associated with the Open Course option must be assessed through one of the programs at Thomas Edison State College.

These courses have been reviewed by the National College Credit Recommendation Service and approved for college credit. Once a student completes one of these courses, they can arrange through Saylor to schedule an online proctored exam. If a student passes that exam, they can transfer this credit to Thomas Edison State College and have it applied to their degree.

To see additional Saylor courses that include an NCCRS exam option, visit www.saylor.org/student-credit-pathways/nccrs/

If I want to major in something other than business administration, can I still take Saylor Foundation Courses and then take the corresponding TECEP®, CLEP® or Portfolio Assessment? TOP

Yes. The Open Course option enables students to earn credit that can be applied to most undergraduate degree programs at Thomas Edison State College. It is strongly suggested that students speak with an academic advisor at Thomas Edison State College to confirm how courses and assessments included with the Open Course option fit into their degree program. Applicants at Thomas Edison State College who have not yet enrolled should contact the Learner Support Center at [email protected] or call (888) 442-8372, weekdays from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (ET).

Who do I go to if I have questions? TOP

Enrolled students and applicants at Thomas Edison State College should contact the Learner Support Center at [email protected] or call (888) 442-8372, weekdays from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (ET). Students and applicants have access the full support of our advising and student services teams, who are able to address any concerns you may have as you go through this program. Additional support is available at Saylor.org. For questions about Saylor courses or the Saylor ePortfolio system, contact Devon Ritter at [email protected] or the student forums at forums.saylor.org.