• Public Speaking
• Small Group Communication
• Social Dimensions of Religion and Culture
• Sociology of Aging
• Cultural Issues of Death & Dying
In reflecting on the more personal topics she wrote about, Joan said, “It was particularly gratifying to recognize the learning I have accumulated over my adult life, and applying relevant theories helped me understand my experiences at an even deeper level.”
Richard Seymour, an Organizational Communications major, recently completed his 27-credit Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio! In writing his essays,Richard dug deep and reflected on experiences from his personal and professional life that resulted in new meaning and learning for him.
His essay topics included:
HR for the Career-Minded Professional
Small Group Communication
Team Building: Managing Work Groups
In his Final Reflection Essay, Richard wrote: “Going forward, I hope that the entanglement I have between my prior learning and the new learning becomes even more intertwined. Because education is and should be a continuous and lifelong process of self-examination, as well as an investigation into the world around us.”
David Walker, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Cultural Studies and Text: Image, earned 36 credits through the Prior Learning Assessment program. With a solid background in writing, PLA was a comfortable fit for David, yet he says it was a challenging one. With rich personal and professional experiences, David wrote for the following topics:
Minorities in the United States
The Graphic Novel
Film and Social Struggle in America
U.S. Ethnic and Immigration History
Topics in Major Directors: George Romero
Media and Society
World and Ethnic Literature
History of Film
In his reflection about the PLA process, David tells us, “PLA is not about what you know so much as it is about how you know it. Each essay is part of a personal narrative that defines who you are through the things you have learned.” Congratulations, David!
Donna Gentry, a Communications major, completed her Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio, earning 36 credits for college-level knowledge that she gained through her professional and personal experiences. She wrote for the following courses that focused on her major and greatly enhanced her professional work in teaching adults and designing corporate trainings:
CCM 320 Public Presentations
CCM 321 Small Group Communication
CCM 322 Interpersonal Communication
CCM 323 Effective Listening: From Comprehension to Critical Evaluation
CCM 324 Nonverbal Communication
CCM 328 The Communication of Affirmation
CCM 329 Healing Communication
CCM 336 Humor and Communication
COL 432 Leadership Communication
COL 426 Team Building: Managing Work Groups
CTD 440 Principles of Instructional Design
CTD 446 Helping Adults Learn
In Donna’s final reflection she wrote, in part:
I feel a great sense of pride every time I complete an essay. When I reflect on my career my accomplishments and experiences I think to myself, “I really did a lot. I really know a lot.” And I learn something new about myself with each essay. I am reminded to use good listening skills, I am reminded to make the conscious effort good interpersonal communication requires and the patience and self-awareness it takes to be a better communicator. PLA reminds me of all these things and more. My self-worth has never been so solid.
In her final PLA Reflection Essay, Jennifer shared that writing for PLA credits was a rigorous process that she found difficult, thought-provoking, and entirely rewarding. She also commented,
The successful PLA student must be able to objectively reflect upon her life experiences, and must be able to commit to the Prior Learning Assessment process. Being a successful PLA student myself, I feel part of an elite group of uncommon individuals. I know that this is an experience that I will reflect upon for the rest of my life.
In this video Jennifer shares her experience in the PLA program – the challenges, the benefits, and also some great tips for current or future PLA participants.
Congratulations to Jodie Johnson, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Religious Studies and Human Studies, who recently completed her Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. Jodie earned 33 credits based on knowledge she gained through both her professional and personal experiences! She wrote nine PLA essays on the following topics:
Real Estate Practices
Solving Communication Problems with Technology
Persuasion, Argumentation, Debate
In Jodie’s Final Reflection Statement she wrote:
After writing seven essays and against the recommendation of my instructors, I decided to take a term off from PLA. I was so excited to delve into my core classes and obtain new learning. Ultimately it did not do me any favors when I went to finish up the last two essays…My eighth essay was an incredible struggle…I had to relearn the structure of Prior Learning…I should have kept on the motivated wave of writing and finished. It is the greatest lesson I can pass along to all those interested in moving ahead in their college career with PLA.
Velda Metelmann recently completed her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in English Literature & Writing and Human Studies, and is now in a graduate program to earn her Masters! Congratulations, Velda!
Readings and Special Project in the Teachings of Abd’ul-Bahá
In her Final Reflection Essay, Velda talked about how writing for PLA credits increased her confidence in her writing skills, so that now a 6-8 page term paper seems like an easy task after working on a 20-25 page PLA essay. She also commented that, “My love of writing has been increased as well as my skill in the art, and I look forward to my next terms with excitement.”
In this video Velda shares her experience in the PLA program – her enthusiasm for life-long learning is infectious!
Greg used his personal experiences as well as those from his professional life as a high school teacher and athletic coach to demonstrate his college-level competency for these courses:
Small Group Communication
Planning & Facilitating Difficult Group Discussions
Communication of Self-Esteem
Poverty and Schooling
In his Final Reflection Essay, Greg wrote, in part, “I learned how to analyze and evaluate theoretical texts from scholarly sources and to apply this material to my own life experience. Organizing my essays produced a continuum, and with the completion of each paper the method became smoother.”
Carleen Walsh, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Early Childhood Education, Psychology, and Literature, recently completed her Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio, earning 45 credits for knowledge she gained through her professional and personal experiences – that’s the maximum number of PLA credits a Marylhurst student can earn! Here is a list of the courses Carleen wrote for:
Introduction to Criminal Justice
Introduction to Law – Fundamentals
Introduction to Law – Substantive Areas
Observation and Guidance I
Environment and Curriculum II
Instructional Strategies – Reading
Introduction to Christian Bible
Backpacking: Map and Compass
One thing of note that Carleen included in her Final Reflection Essay was this:
As I was writing each essay, I was totally caught up in what I was writing about, and became aware how much knowledge I gained through different experiences. Some of these experiences were over 10 years ago, but I was back at that time as I was writing the essay, and reading material showed me how much I know about a certain subject.