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.
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.”
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.
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!
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.