Syllabus for PLA-200
INTRODUCTION TO PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT
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.
- Prior learning portfolio options
- Articulation of goals
- PLA résumé
- Determining areas of academic expertise
- Targeting courses
- Using course objectives and competencies
- Using Bloom's taxonomy for self-assessment
- Correlation of body of knowledge to learning outcomes
- Identifying applied learning and evidence to support learning outcomes
- The learning narrative
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.
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.
- Hoffmann, T. (2012). Defining college-level learning: Prior learning assessment student workbook: A step-by-step guide for articulating knowledge derived from life experiences (2nd ed.). Burtonsville, MD: PLA Consulting. Available from www.PLAConsulting.com
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.
- Colvin, J. (2010). Earn college credit for what you know (4th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.
Colvin PowerPoint Summary
- Snow, R. (2007). Preparing the portfolio for an assessment of prior learning. Createspace Independent Pub.
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.
- Module 1: Introduction
Course objectives covered in this module: CO1
- Module 2: Exploring Your Prior Learning Background
Course objectives covered in this module: CO2 and CO 3
- Module 3: Prioritizing and Articulating Expertise
Course objectives covered in this module: CO3
- Module 4: Writing Competencies Using Course Objectives
Course objectives covered in this module: CO4 and CO5
- Module 5: Gathering Evidence of Learning
Course objectives covered in this module: CO5 and CO6
- Module 6: Creating an Outline for Your Learning Narrative
Course objectives covered in this module: CO7
- Module 7: Next Steps for Portfolio Development
Course objectives covered in this module: CO8
YOUR PORTFOLIO SITE
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.
A WORD ABOUT TERMINOLOGY
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.
- Objectives: Objectives are part of every Thomas Edison State University course. They state, using measurable verbs, what students will be able to do after they have successfully completed the course.
- Learning Outcomes: Learning outcomes are, essentially, objectives that relate to the college-level learning that you will need to demonstrate in your particular portfolio. They state (again, in measurable terms) what you should have learned through your experience in order to earn college credit. In Week 2 of PLA-200, you will submit a Declaration of Intent form to your PLA mentor and to the Office of Portfolio Assessment. This form is a list of courses for which you intend to earn credit. In response, you will receive a list of learning outcomes that you will need to address in your portfolio. Your narrative will focus on those outcomes.
- Course Mentor: During PLA-200 you will have the guidance of a course mentor, a generalist who will facilitate your completion of the assignments in this course, including the writing of your narrative outline. The course mentor will grade your assignments and discussion postings according to established rubrics and will provide helpful feedback along the way.
- Subject Matter Expert/Portfolio Assessor/Portfolio Evaluator (interchangeable terms): This individual will evaluate your completed portfolio. (Depending on the courses you are challenging through your portfolio, you may have more than one portfolio assessor or evaluator.) The assessor/evaluator does not play a role in helping you develop your portfolio either within this course or after you complete it because he or she must provide an unbiased evaluation. He or she is an expert in a particular academic field and provides an objective evaluation of the creditworthiness of your portfolio. Assessment occurs only after:
- The course is over
- You have written your portfolio(s) and have uploaded it/them to your Google site
- You have contacted the Office of Portfolio Assessment to request registration information
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.
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.
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.
GRADING AND EVALUATION
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
- Online discussions—20 percent
- Written assignments 1 through 6 and 8 —45 percent
- Portfolio Site Creation Assignment—5 percent
- Learning narrative outline (Assignment 7)—30 percent
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:
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).
STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
First Steps to Success
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
- Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.
- Take time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State University.
- Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.
- If you are not familiar with web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.
Consider the following study tips for success:
- To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the Course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.
- Check Announcements regularly for new course information.
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 www.tesu.edu.
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:
- Gaining or providing unauthorized access to examinations or using unauthorized materials during exam administration
- Submitting credentials that are false or altered in any way
- Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
- Forgery, fabricating information or citations, or falsifying documents
- Submitting the work of another person in whole or in part as your own (including work obtained through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Submitting your own previously used assignments without prior permission from the mentor
- Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others (including making tests, papers, and other course assignments available to other students, either directly or through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Tampering with the academic work of other students
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:
- Lower or failing grade for an assignment
- Lower or failing grade for the course
- Rescinding credits
- Rescinding certificates or degrees
- Recording academic sanctions on the transcript
- Suspension from the University
- Dismissal from the University
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