Competency Based Online


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Thank you for your interest in our Competency Based Online (CBO) program.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is competency based learning?

A: Competency based learning is unique in that it measures your course completion by what you have learned; you show your competency in the subject matter, rather than how much seat time you have put into a course. The time you spend in each course, learning the material, is up to YOU.

Q: How is a CBO course structured different than other online courses?

A: Students participate in a self-paced, online course with the support of a student navigator and the course instructor. Students will complete a pre-test to identify their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to fast forward through course topics that they understand well. Once proved competent in all course topics, students receive credit and can move on; instructor permission required.

Q: Who can enroll in the CBO program?

A: Eligible students are those who demonstrate readiness to succeed in college-level, online courses. This program is geared toward independent, highly-motivated students with a desire to master business software applications and gain basic website development experience.

Q: What is the role of the student navigator?

A: The student navigator will create a Road Map for you which identifies the suggested sequence of courses for you to take to complete the requirements of the Business Software Specialist certificate. In addition, the student navigator will maintain contact with you to ensure you are meeting your agreed upon completion goals and makes sure you stay on track. You will plan the completion of your course assessments with your student navigator, and once you finish one course, the navigator will route you to the next course in the sequence.

Q: What is the role of the course instructor?

A: The course instructor supports you with the course content. The instructor sets up and manages the online course content, grades your assessments, and provides a variety of resources to help you learn the content to show your competency in the material. Every student will be moving through the courses at their own pace and the instructor will help guide them through the content.

Q: What are the minimum technology requirements for the Business Software Specialist certificate?

A: To complete this intensive online program, we recommend that you have a reliable internet connection and access to a computer. Our Microsoft Office 2013 courses require you to have access to a PC based computer with either Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system. In the event that you do not have access to a computer meeting these requirements, you are encouraged to use the computer labs on

Q: I have already taken some of the required courses for the Business Software Specialist certificate. Am I still eligible to participate?

A: Yes! We would love to help you complete your Business Software Specialist Certificate requirements by providing you the opportunity to accelerate through the remaining courses.

Q: Why do I need to take a test to enroll in the CBO program?

A: We require you to take a readiness test to ensure that you are entering the program with tools to be successful in this accelerated method of learning.

Q: What does the SmarterMeasure test consist of?

A: The SmarterMeasure test in an online test that you can complete generally in 20-30 minutes that has a variety of components – included are questions are about your previous educational experiences, your work/life commitments, your learning style, technology skills, reading comprehension and typing speed. At the end of the test you will get an in-depth summary report about your personal learning styles, skills and availability. It is quite informative!

Q: What courses are included in the CBO program for the Business Software Specialist certificate?

A: The courses that are part of the CBO program are as follows:

Q: When will the CBO program be offered?

A: Competency based online courses were offered on a pilot project for Winter and Spring 2014. We are happy to announce that the pilot was successful and the CBO format will continue in Fall 2014 and beyond.

Sounds great! How do I get started?

The steps involved in enrolling in our CBO program are as follows:

  • Step 1: Complete the Interest Form to express your interest in taking one or more courses through the CBO program.
  • Step 2: Our student navigators, Zorica Wacker , will contact you to explain more about the CBO program.
  • Step 3: Take the SmarterMeasure online readiness test. You will get your test results instantly.
  • Step 4: Review your SmarterMeasure test results with the Student Navigator and create your course road map. You will be given your registration entry codes to enroll in the courses on your road map.
  • Step 5: Register for the 1 unit CBO Introduction to Online Learning course (BTS 095)
  • Step 6: Complete the courses on your Road Map at an accelerated pace.
  • Step 7: Receive Microsoft Office Specialist Certifications upon completion of all BTS Office software courses! Receive your Bellevue College Certificate in Business Software Specialist!

Last Updated October 14, 2015