Victoria Hurlock recently completed her PLA Portfolio with 27 credits. Victoria’s major is Communication, and the topics she wrote for were:
CCM 321 Small Group Communication
CCM 323 Effective Listening
CCM 325 Communication of Self-Esteem
CCM 337 Gender and Communication
CCM 346 Conflict Management
COL 340 Organizational Communication
COL 426 Team Building
MSD 130 Creative Problem-Solving
RE 100 Introduction to Real Estate
Here is what she has to say about it all:
From the very beginning, the PLA process helped me to see how much I had learned and applied during my 20 year career. The detailed evaluative process in LRN 150 affirmed my ability to apply college level concepts in my everyday life. I was surprised to see how many credits I could have written for based on my prior training, experience, and education. I opted to write for only 27 credits.
The process itself was challenging in the beginning, but once I established a rhythm and process to follow, it became easier. It was an enriching experience and I learned a much more about each topic as I wrote each paper.
For anyone considering it, don’t let a 25-30 page paper intimidate you. There are many resources available and the staff is amazing to work with. I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to complete the PLA process at Marylhurst. I would not have had as rich of an experience without it.
Catherine Hooper, an Organizational Communications major at Marylhurst University, recently finished her 9-credit PLA Portfolio for the following topics:
COL 427 Great Meetings: Planning and Facilitating Difficult Group Discussion
CCM 321 Small Group Communication
COL 426 Team Building: Managing Work Groups
In her Final Portfolio Reflection essay, Catherine wrote:
The PLA program was especially valuable to me because it provided tools to help me find what I was interested in and did well at, and then matched that to a degree program. Education is valuable and I have always wanted to complete my bachelor’s degree; the PLA program created an environment where experience and education are combined to build a strong resume and a sound career path while working on my degree.
Through the PLA program I learned to dream again and think about my future in a more creative way. It offered me opportunities to remember where I had been and what I had done in life and how that has molded me into the person I am today. PLA then helped me take that awareness to develop an educational degree plan that truly excited me.
Christy Dirren, an Organizational Communications major, talks about her experiences in the Prior Learning Assessment program. Christy earned 12 credits toward her Bachelor’s degree by writing essays based on learning from her prior experiences.
The PLA topics that Christy wrote for were:
Principles of Instructional Design
Youth Ministry 101
Christy — congratulations! This is a great accomplishment!
Angela Pernisco, a Psychology major, just completed her PLA portfolio for 15 credits, all in Communications topics:
CCM 320 Public Presentations
CCM 323 Effective Listening
CCM 324 Nonverbal Communication
CCM 346 Conflict Management (with the grade of “A”!)
CCM 356 Intercultural Communication
Angela wrote this in her final Reflection Essay:
When I began the PLA process, I thought that this journey would focus on demonstrating how my previous experiences reflected the skills that would have been taught in a classroom setting. However, this experience has been much more than that. I have learned a great deal of academic theory relating to what I’ve been practicing for years in the “real world.” . . . This process has transformed my thinking by demonstrating that there is a significant difference between academic learning and experiential learning. On-the-job training provides us the competency to complete a task, whereas academic learning provides us with a history of why we do things as we do. This additional history is what transforms us from being process-oriented participants to innovators for the next generation.
Chip Brinks, a Real Estate Studies major from Southern California (with extensive experience in the Real Estate industry), just completed a 33-credit Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. He wrote for the following topics:
BA 238: Sales / Selling as a Profession
RE 140: Intro to Property Management
RE 155: Intro to Escrow
MSD 117 and 161: Customer Relations
BUS 157: E-Commerce
PE 182: Tai Chi
PE 183: Beginning Karate I and II
PE : Swim Conditioning
PAC 242: SCUBA – Open Water
PAC 243: SCUBA – Advanced
Here is what Chip wrote about in his Final Reflective Essay in regard to his experiences with the PLA program:
Due to the self-discovery involved in the PLA process, I have developed additional learning skills which will empower me for the rest of my life. I now have become much more cognizant of learning and have gained a great deal of self-awareness as I develop knowledge acquired from new experiences. I have become more naturally curious about higher levels of knowledge as I apply the skills I have developed in this process.
Although I enjoyed the PLA process, I did find the pace to be very challenging and found it was wise to take only this course during each session. However, I found the PLA courses were very worthwhile as I have saved a tremendous amount of time in the pursuit of my degree without decreasing the quality of my education.
Like so many others examining the trails of our lived lives, I soon discovered how much I had undervalued some experiences and independent learning. In this year, I’ve become better able to express myself in writing and discussion and to appreciate how different points of view embellish and extend the learning process. I have gained skills in computer technology, time management, and research tools, and I have made many good friends and professional colleagues in the library and through the coursework . . . I feel ready to embrace the challenge of graduate school and am grateful to have become a more confident writer.
In her video, Debra tells us more about her experiences with the program, including how she saved time and money (almost $2,500) by going through the PLA program.
Sometimes you don’t know what you know. You know? Well Loretta Rowe knows!
In just two terms, Loretta earned 21 Prior Learning Assessment credits, and in the process of doing so she discovered that she knew a lot more than she thought she knew. In her final Reflective Essay, Loretta shared this:
As I prepare my Final Portfolio, I wrestle with mixed emotions, feeling a sense of great relief and immense achievement. In two quarters, I will have earned twenty-one credits through PLA, but more than earning the credits, I leave PLA with a great sense of self-triumph. Not just for the essays I have written, but in realizing my experiences in life brought me knowledge to challenge college-level classes. . . PLA has improved my self-esteem. . . Writing down the experiences and knowledge I have gained in life through the PLA process has helped me grasp the fact that I have a wealth of knowledge, and I want to share it.
Loretta’s major is Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Business and Communications. The PLA topics Loretta wrote for were:
Principles of Management and Supervision
Psychology of Loss and Grief
Loretta tells about her PLA experiences and offers some PLA writing tips in this video. (Her words are so powerful, in fact, that the electricity flashed on and off as she was talking; indeed, we filmed this in the midst of a summer thunderstorm.)
Ty Wells, a Business & Leadership major, just submitted his Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio totaling 27 credits. Ty’s experience resides mostly in the food and hospitality industry, and he was able to use those learning experiences to write PLA essays for the following courses:
Introduction to Winemaking
Foodservice Production and Principles
Small Business Management
Principles of Accounting
In his Final Reflective essay, Ty wrote, “The end result is that I am far better equipped as a writer.” As Ty describes in this video, for students like him, PLA can be a gift that keeps on giving.