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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The U.S. Department of Education has given Northern Arizona University the go-ahead to teach classes using an online, competency-based program.

It's called "Personalized Learning," and it helps students earn a degree using skills they already have, in addition to what they learn in the classroom.

"Personalized Learning is a set of three degrees," said Allison Brown, NAU's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for Extended Campuses. "They are in Computer Information Technology, Small Business Administration and Liberal Arts. They are offered completely online as a competency- and skills-based program."

Brown says you may be able to skip some of the course work to get your degree sooner.

"Students are able to show us that they are competent in various skills," Brown said. "If they are, they pass a pretest in an area, and they don't need to take the coursework associated with what they already know."

Brown says a student with just a little life experience could be able to graduate in about three and a half years.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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