Transparency by Design

The Transparency by Design initiative was a collaborative of regionally accredited, adult-serving, distance education institutions with a mission to help adult learners become informed consumers of distance education. A 2008 project of the Presidents’ Forum, WCET was engaged to serve as project management and third-party data quality assurance reviewer. In 2009, Transparency by Design launched the College Choices for Adults website to help adult learners utilize data to match their professional and personal goals with an appropriate distance learning program.

Resources developed by the Transparency by Design initiative:                                         

College Choices for Adults and the Transparency by Design initiative had three key differentiators from other college search sites or voluntary systems of accountability. They included the following:

  1. The website provided program-level learning outcomes (aka what students are expected to learn in each program of study), measures of those learning outcomes, and how well recent students have performed.
  2. All of the data on the College Choices for Adults site went through a third-party quality assurance review by WCET staff.
  3. Institutions involved in Transparency by Design provided distance learning options for adult learners.

At the beginning of 2013, the College Choices for Adults website was shut down, after a unanimous decision made by the Transparency by Design Executive Committee. Though a worthwhile project, the College Choices for Adults website was ahead of its time in accountability measures and thus was unable to reach self-sustaining membership levels.

CCFA The Guide:

CCFA Institution Program Data


Russ Poulin

Executive Director, WCET & Vice President for Technology-Enhanced Education, WICHE



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