Prior Learning Credit Through Portfolio

Credit for Work and Life Experiences

The portfolios students create must prove that their significant work and life experiences have already met the learning outcomes for the course(s) for which they are seeking credit. This substantial compilation of newly written pieces and evidence of experience/work have to show that students not only have completed relevant work, but that they also understand the HOWs and WHYs of what they created.

Process for Seeking Credit by Portfolio

Below is the suggested list of steps for students seeking credit for prior learning by portfolio:

  1. Meet with your advisor. Together, map your plan for your degree: which required courses you’ll take during which semesters; which elective courses you will likely take and when.
  2. From that list of courses you plan to take, read the course descriptions in your catalog for those you think you likely have experience in because of work, military, trainings, et cetera.
  3. When you have decided on a list of courses for which you’d like to attempt to attain credit for prior learning (CPL), check the Credit Through Exams page to see if there’s a test you could take in lieu of taking the course? If not, you might consider creating a portfolio of evidence in order to gain credit for that course.
  4. Find the contact information for the instructor who teaches that course. Contact that instructor to make your intentions clear: you are interested in achieving credit for the course through a CPL process. Ask if a challenge exam or other exam exists for the course. If not, discuss with that instructor if a portfolio would be appropriate. (There are courses on campus for which compiling a portfolio is not an acceptable substitute for taking the course.) If the instructor agrees that a portfolio may be considered for credit, ask that instructor for a copy of the syllabus for the course: the syllabus will include the learning goals that you will design your portfolio to meet.
  5. After receiving the syllabus, work on your portfolio. The instructor of the course does not oversee this process.
  6. Once you have compiled the portfolio, contact the Credit for Prior Learning Coordinator. Do not submit your portfolio to the instructor of the course. Be prepared to submit your portfolio materials, your CPL petition and your check for the CPL fees at this time. The CPL Coordinator will deliver your materials to the correct portfolio reviewers and process your payment.
  7. The reviewers of the portfolios are the instructors who teach the courses you have created the portfolios for. The reviewers can decide to:
    • grant the credit requested;
    • reconsider granting credit after revisions have been made to the materials; or
    • not grant credit.
  8. Once the reviewers have completed the bottom half of your petition, they return it to the CPL Coordinator, who will deliver the decision(s) you to.
    • If no credit has been awarded, the process is over.
    • If revisions are requested, you must revise the materials in the window of time determined by the reviewer and resubmit (there is no additional cost to this).
    • If credit has been awarded, the CPL Coordinator informs the Registrar, who transcribes the credits for you.

Awarding credit for prior learning is subject to department approval.

What’s Included in the Portfolio

Normally a portfolio will include:

  • The petition listing the courses you are attempting CPL for with the number of credits
  • Your updated resume
  • An extensive essay explaining in detail how your prior work or experiential learning meet the learning goals of the course;
  • Documentation you have created on the job such as reports, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
  • Scans of certificates or licenses to prove trainings, certifications, other achievements pertinent to the course content
  • Explanations of how these documents and scans meet the expectations of the course outcomes
  • Other pertinent evidence

If you’d like feedback on your compositions as you work on compiling the portfolio, you are welcome to enroll in Writing 298/698: Prior Learning Portfolio, a 1-credit online course with a writing instructor who will offer feedback on the drafts of the pieces you will include in your portfolio. This course is not required to create a CPL portfolio, but it can help to develop your written pieces and to keep you on track to completion. You are welcome to compile your portfolio on your own.

Portfolio Formats

Your portfolios can be:

  • Hardcopy binders
  • An online platform
  • A collection of PDF files

In short, something that the reviewers will be able to easily access either because the hardcopy is in their hands or the technology you use is common for campus devices. All portfolio materials must be kept on file by the CPL Coordinator or the Department that reviewed them, so you will not get your hardcopies back if that is how you submit them.

We’re Here to Help

If you have any questions related to prior learning credits, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.