Stephanie Lillegard: Learning a New Way to Learn

In May 2011. Stephanie Lillegard completed her 30-credit Prior Learning Assessment portfolio. For Stephanie, it was a journey of learning.

Stephanie is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Human Sciences and English, Literature, and Writing. She wrote PLA essays on the following topics:

  • ED 109: Library Procedures
  • ED 114: Reference Materials
  • CCM 325: Communication of Self-Esteem
  • ILS 300: Literature for Children
  • SP 227: Nonverbal Communication
  • SP 105: Listening
  • SP 111: Public Speaking
  • PSY 222: Family and Intimate Relationships

Congrats, Stephanie, on learning a new way to learn, and on 30 credits toward your undergraduate degree!

Victoria Hurlock: Establishing a Rhythm

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.

Congrats, Victoria! 27 credits well-earned!

Helen Fern: Informed by Life Experience

Helen is a Human Studies major, and she earned credit through the PLA program for the following courses:

  • Introduction to Photography
  • Mushroom Identification and Taxonomy
  • Anasazi Archeology
  • Conflict Management
  • Effective Listening
  • Psychology of Loss and Grief

Three of these topics were grounded in her hobbies and avocations (she has some great mushroom recipes and some amazing photographs!). All were deeply informed by her life experience.

Christy Dirren: Validate and Celebrate

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:

  • Managing Transitions
  • Team Building
  • Principles of Instructional Design
  • Youth Ministry 101

Christy — congratulations! This is a great accomplishment!

Angela Pernisco: An Innovator for the Next Generation

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.

Barbara Eckroad: Tips from a Distance Student

Barbara Eckroad recently submitted her PLA Portfolio for the maximum number of credits allowed — 45! For Barbara, all of that life experience has added up — big time!

Barbara is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in English, Literature & Writing, Media Studies, and Religious Studies. The topics she wrote for were:

  • LIT 223: Introduction to Literary Genre
  • WR 367: Writing Workshop I: Poetry
  • WR 368 & 468: Writing Workshop I & II: Short Fiction
  • LIT 329: The Novel
  • WR 312: Writing the Novel
  • SSC 210: Introduction to Hebrew Bible
  • SSC 211: Introduction to Christian Bible
  • SSC 422: Gospels
  • SPP 330: Spiritual Discernment through Writing
  • SPH 357: Existentialism
  • CCM 321: Small Group Communication
  • HST 353: History of the 1960′s
  • SPH 300: Ethics and Social Issues
  • CCM 333: Intercultural Communications

 

Chris Brinks: Becoming More Cognizant Of Learning

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.

Congratulations, Chip!

Debra Giannini: Ready for What’s Next

Debra Giannini just completed her 15-credit Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. Debra is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Psychology and Expressive Therapies. The topics she wrote for are:

  • BIO 165 – Alternatives in Health and Healing
  • BIO 167 – Nutritional Science
  • CHS 354 – Environment, Culture, and Food
  • CCM 342 – Rhythm-Based Communication
  • SPP 371 – Communicating the Sacred through Dance

In her final Reflective Essay, Debra wrote:

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.

Loretta Rowe: Weathering the Storm

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:

  • Effective Listening
  • Public Presentations
  • Principles of Management and Supervision
  • Psychology of Loss and Grief
  • Property Management
  • Sales

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 Gift That Keeps On Giving

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:

  • Conflict Management
  • Public Presentations
  • Team Building
  • Foodservice Organizations
  • Management Fundamentals
  • 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.