Many adult (non-traditional) students may underestimate the value of learning that has occurred during their life experiences. Each day that a person works, engages the community, serves others, reads, and performs other various activities provides opportunities for him or her to learn valuable and quality knowledge. Some of this knowledge may approximate college level learning, and such learning can be evaluated and may be awarded college credit. One option for evaluation of such learning is the development of a portfolio for evaluation by YSU faculty.
A portfolio is a collection of information and documentation submitted by a student to demonstrate learning that has occurred outside the traditional college classroom. A portfolio documents skills and concepts that an individual has learned as a result of his or her life experiences and ties those skills and concepts to learning outcomes associated with specific courses or programs. This learning could have resulted from jobs, hobbies, volunteer work, training seminars, or other experiences resulting in intellectual growth and understanding. It should be highlighted that college credit for these experiences can be awarded only upon demonstration of college-level learning applied to specific learning outcomes. This credit cannot be awarded simply for life experience.
Sites Where Learning Outside the Classroom Can Occur:
- Religious Organizations
- Civic Involvement
- Work-Related Training
- Professional Licenses
- Professional Certifications
- Professional Memberships
- Professional Accomplishments
- Community Service
- Volunteer Services
The documentation a student presents to demonstrate the mastery of learning varies by course and may include: a self-assessment; awards; honors; examples of documents developed; examples of materials made (like a machine part); an essay explaining knowledge and experience; documents developed at work; documents developed during a civil engagement; certificates showing completion of workshops; or certificates showing completion of a seminar offered by professional organizations, business, industry, or government agencies. Preparation and content of the portfolio are the responsibility of the student and must be of sufficient breadth and depth to validate the student’s stated learning and provide the evaluators with qualitative evidence for evaluation. A PLA course, PLA 1500: Portfolio Development, was developed to instruct students in building a satisfactory portfolio. A student may not receive PLA credit for a portfolio without first completing PLA 1500.
Restrictions to Portfolio Credit
Students may not request credit through portfolio assessment in the following instances:
- for being a client or resident of an agency or organization.
- for an academic course that he or she enrolled in and failed to pass.
- for the same experiences multiple times from different departments.
Cost and Fees
- PLA 1500: Portfolio Development (one semester hour course) at the standard enrollment cost
- $300 fee for the evaluation of the portfolio
- Transcription fee of $30.00 per semester hour for each semester hour of credit awarded