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!

Julie Fleming: Claiming Her Knowledge

This week, Julie Fleming, one of our Prior Learning Assessment students, turned in her final PLA Portfolio: 17 credits for college-level learning that she had gained through her experiences owning a dance school and teaching dance.

Congratulations, Julie!

Julie’s major is Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Business, Communications, and Dance. The 17 credits fulfill her requirements for her Dance concentration entirely. Courses she earned credit for through the PLA process include Dance Education Theory, Methods of Teaching Children’s Dance, Dance Composition I, Music for Dance, Costume Design and Construction for Dance, and Dance Production.

In her Reflection Essay, Julie wrote, “The PLA process is much like a second journey down a familiar path, examining my past through an academic lens.” I asked Julie to share a few thoughts about the PLA process, its benefits, as well as some of her essay writing strategies. I think after you watch this video, you’ll agree with me that its theme is about claiming your knowledge and framing it academically, a benefit that for Julie has gone far beyond earning the credits.