Innovative program allows students to customize education, save money

November 27, 2012 | Events, UToday
By Casey Cheap



Students looking to consolidate their course work, graduate sooner and save money can enroll in an innovative, one-of-a-kind program at The University of Toledo.

Integrated Customized Education, or the ICE Project, is a new way for students to combine their course work for multiple undergraduate classes and make time spent in college more efficient. The project includes a work experience field day, an optional study abroad trip, and a portfolio created in the process that can be used to demonstrate to graduate schools or employers the mastery of learning in a particular field.

“UT is the only school offering this type of learning opportunity today,” said Stephanie Ford, project manger for the project. “Although other schools are starting to do similar things, UT is the only school awarding credit in this way.”

The ICE Project is utilizing a new phenomenon in education today called Massive Online Open Courses, which are free online classes, many of which are offered by well-respected colleges and universities. Some of the common online course providers are iTunesU, Coursera and Khan Academy.

UT is staying ahead of the curve with the ICE Project, which provides students the opportunity to earn credit for those Massive Online Open Courses by creating and implementing a customized project to demonstrate their learning.

How does ICE work? If an engineering student needed courses in composition and social science, he would participate in one ICE independent study course, and enroll in one of the free, online composition courses and a free, online course in public planning. The student creates and implements a project that connects the learning to his eventual career.

There are no formal class times, but rather meetings customized to fit the student’s scheduling needs. ICE faculty members serve as coaches to help the student find appropriate matching course work, understand difficult concepts or to complete assignments, determine the best mode of assessment to meet the student’s objectives for the course, and monitor the student’s project and portfolio progress.

At the end of the project, an expert faculty member in each particular field of study will be asked to evaluate if the student has learned the material and met the requirements for credit for that particular integrated course.

End result: The student has paid for three credits but has earned nine, saving on the overall cost of his degree, shortening the time to graduation, and customizing his experience.

The ICE Project was implemented at UT in fall 2012 and first enrolled seven students.

An open house is scheduled Thursday, Nov. 29, from 3 to 7 p.m. on the second floor of Carlson Library for anyone who would like to get involved or learn more about the project.

For more information about the ICE Project, visit utoledo.edu/dl/ICE or contact Ford at stephanie.ford@utoledo.edu or 419.530.3350 or 419.450.9520.