Syllabus for PLA-200



Introduction to Portfolio Development is built upon the knowledge and reflection gained in PLA-100, Orientation to Prior Learning Assessment. PLA-200 will help students identify courses that best match their selected knowledge base. Students will plan each segment of their portfolio and will use learning outcomes to create a detailed outline. This outline will delineate topics for development based upon the knowledge, theoretical understanding, and applied learning gained from work, community, and personal experiences. As a result of this course, students will be prepared to complete their written portfolio.

It is important to understand that this course prepares you for portfolio development, even though only the outline will be complete at the end of these eight weeks. Keep in mind that  it prepares you for any future portfolio development as well. If, later on, you wish to create a new portfolio, you will not have to take this course again. What you learn in this course will apply to any portfolio you wish to complete in the future.

Advisory: Your success in this course will depend on how well you express yourself. Therefore, you are strongly advised to have taken ENC-101 and ENC-102 (or their equivalents) before taking this course.



After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Apply the portfolio construction process.

CO2        Identify significant life learning experiences.

CO3        Select experience and learning that could correlate to coursework.

CO4        Delineate course-objective-relevant competencies using the definitions from Bloom’s taxonomy.

CO5        Extract course-specific knowledge and theoretical understanding from experience and apply the principles to problem-solving situations and experiences.

CO6        Organize evidence or documentation that supports learning claims.

CO7        Combine and synthesize previously identified and outlined learning and documentation into the learning narrative outline.

CO8        Identify the next steps in the PLA portfolio completion process.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Recommended Textbooks

Both of the following texts are recommended for students who plan to gain credit through Prior Learning Assessment. None, however, is required for this course.

The following book by Theresa Hoffmann takes the student through the process step-by-step and includes many helpful resources.

The books listed below are designed to help students navigate the PLA process and also include helpful information and resources. Linked here and in some modules are PowerPoint presentations that summarize the content of these books.


ISBN-13: 978-0757527500

Colvin PowerPoint Summary

ISBN-13: 978-1419673849

Snow PowerPoint Summary


Introduction to Portfolio Development is a two-credit, online course, consisting seven modules. Modules include an overview, module topics, learning objectives, study materials (including a lesson), and activities. Module titles are listed below.

Course objectives covered in this module: CO3

Course objectives covered in this module: CO8


One of the tasks you will complete during this course is the creation of your portfolio site. This is a simple process using Google Apps that will provide you with a place to build your portfolio or portfolios. Detailed instructions are provided in Module 1. This site is for your use and is your own to manage. You will place the outline created during this course on your site and share it with your mentor and the Office of Portfolio Assessment. Upon completion of your portfolio assessment(s) and your degree, this site will remain yours to use as you wish.  


There are several terms that are used in specialized ways at Thomas Edison State University. This brief list will help you understand how they apply to your portfolio development.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums and complete written assignments. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in seven graded discussion forums as well as an ungraded Introductions Forum. The online discussions are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete eight written assignments. All are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Written Assignment 7 consists of your learning outline and will be worth a greater percentage of your grade than other assignments (see next section). There is also an additional unnumbered assignment in Module 1, where you create your Portfolio Site.

A note about submitting assignments: Please note that the learning management system allows you to resubmit any assignment. If you have received feedback and wish to resubmit or add a file, go back to the Assignment link and click "Edit my submission," then add your new file, and then click "Save changes." You may add up to two additional files to Assignments 1 through 6 and 8, and you may add up to nine additional files to Assignment 7.


Note the course area titled Samples. In this area you will find samples for some of the more detailed assignments. These samples are designed to give you an idea of what is expected. They are designed to be helpful guides; your own work will of course reflect your own prior learning.

In the Resources area, as well as the Rubrics area, you will also find the Portfolio Evaluation Form. This is the form your subject matter expert will use to evaluate your portfolio, and examining the form will help you prepare your portfolio most effectively.



Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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