EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING PORTFOLIO WORKSHOP The University of Memphis
Purpose of this Workshop • A basic understanding of Experiential Learning • An introduction to portfolio creation • A working knowledge of the Experiential Learning process Students who decide to pursue credit through experiential learning must read and follow instructions contained in the “University College Experiential Learning Handbook”
What is Experiential Learning? Experiential Learning Credit is college credit which is awarded for what you have learned outside the traditional classroom. You may have gained this knowledge from training at work, volunteering in the community or a variety of other sources. We emphasize that credit is granted for learning and not experience
Who is Eligible to Apply for Credit? • Those who are fully admitted as a degree seeking student at the University of Memphis • You must also be admitted and have a declared major in the University College • Students in the Individual Studies Program must also have an approved Baccalaureate Contract
Facts About Experiential Learning • The number of college credit-hours granted for Experiential Learning is governed by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ guidelines. • Experiential Learning Credit is NOT guaranteed. • If more than 3 hours are awarded, an additional fee of $30 per credit hour is assessed.
Facts About Experiential Learning • A minimum of 0 (zero) and a maximum of 30 semester hours can be earned through Experiential Learning. • No Experiential Learning Credit is guaranteed if you submit a portfolio for consideration. • If more than 3 hours are awarded, an additional fee of $30 per credit hour is assessed.
Facts About Experiential Learning • Experiential Learning Credit is not calculated into a student’s GPA. • Experiential Learning Credit cannot substitute for basic general education requirements or other required classes. • Evaluation of portfolios can be a lengthy process. It is important to submit your portfolio a minimum of two semesters before you plan to graduate.
Consider These Questions • Did my experience produce significant learning at the college level? • Does my learning apply to my academic goal? • Can I document my learning and extract from it clear statements representing the learning acquired through the experience? • Am I prepared to spend the time and effort gathering, organizing, and interpreting materials needed in a portfolio? • Would I be better served by taking courses, completing an internship, or by a CLEP exam? Consult with your advisor to determine the appropriateness of preparing a portfolio
Basic Process • Read the University College Handbook for Experiential Learning and examine the sample portfolio. • Prepare your portfolio according to the example and guidelines. • Submit the portfolio for evaluation a minimum of two semesters before you plan to graduate! It can take up to 6 months for the evaluation. • Pay the fees for any credit that is awarded.
Basic Portfolio Elements • Every portfolio should contain these basic elements: • Academic Goal Statement • Required Forms • Resume • Appropriate Documentation All portfolios must be submitted in some kind of binder so that all the materials are secure and organized.
Academic Goal Statement • The Academic Goal Statement tells the assessor how your experiential learning relates to the program you are pursuing. • A strong goal statement is the foundation of a portfolio. You must clearly communicate your experience, the level of learning, and its relevance to your program. If you cannot clearly communicate these items, then an evaluator cannot adequately review your portfolio.
Required Forms • Each portfolio must contain the following three forms: • Verification Statement • Payment Form • Experiential Learning Agreement Form These forms can be found in the University College Experiential Learning Handbook
Resume • List all the activities that relate to the portfolio you are submitting. • Be concise and complete. • The University of Memphis Career Center can assist any student with resume preparation, 678-2239.
Documentation • List each category of learning separately in your portfolio with an academic title. • Give a brief description of the work experiences which contributed to this learning. • List all relevant work experiences starting with the most recent and including all job titles.
Documentation Continued • Document experience by including dates, amount of time spent, and description of the activities. • Include the employer, agency, or experience provider and location as appropriate. • Describe when and where the learning took place.
Documentation Continued • Explain how the learning was acquired • Was it formal or informal? • Were you engaged in independent study? • Did you have a mentor? • Were you involved in an apprenticeship? • Did you go through some formal training experience? • Did you learn by observation, or by doing?
Types of Documentation You Can Include in your Portfolio • Certificates • Licenses • Awards & Other Forms of Recognition • Training Records • Examples of Work Products • Curriculum and Course Outlines • Job Descriptions • Conferences, Workshops, Seminars • Non-Credit, Continuing Education Courses These are just a few examples. There are many other types of documentation you may submit.
Documentation Tips • Documentation must show that you held the position and performed the duties described. • Documentation should be appropriate for the kind of experience presented. • Letters of verifications are not letters of recommendation. Letters of verification state specifically the writer’s relationship to the experience (e.g., director, supervisor) and describe what duties were performed. • Documentation should include only relevant material. Be as effective as possible using a few appropriate, informative documents. Be selective!
Evaluation Criteria Evaluators follow the criteria set by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Standards
Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Standards Criteria • Credit should be awarded only for learning, and not for experience. • College credit should be awarded only for college-level learning. • Credit should be awarded only for learning that has a balance, appropriate to the subject, between theory and practical application. • The determination of competence levels and of credit awards must be made by appropriate subject matter and academic experts. • Credit should be appropriate to the academic context in which it is accepted.
What the Evaluator is Looking For? • Does the document present a clear picture of the experience, showing its length, depth and level of complexity? • Does the material show the student’s ability to generalize, analyze, and integrate experience into larger concepts, develop new skills, and formulate new ideas? • Are there specific examples which demonstrate knowledge or skill acquired?
What the Evaluator is Looking For ? • Does the material indicate that the student has the ability to synthesize, evaluate, and interrelate experiences that lead to new or broader levels of understanding or competency? • Does the documented experience reflect the learning outcomes described? • Do the examples of documentation give you a sense of what the student knows or can do?
What the Evaluator is Looking For? • Does the material reflect competence at least equal to the minimum levels required for college credit? • Is the learning equivalent to college-level learning? • Is there a precedent for awarding credit in this area or similar areas? Faculty may request additional information, if needed from the student.The Dean of University College has final approval for any credit awarded.
What Do I Do Once the Assessment is Complete? • We will call you when the assessment has been completed. Be sure University College has your correct home and office phone numbers. • If you receive any credit, you will have to pay the posting fee of $30 per credit hour, minus the $90.00 evaluation fee, before it can be applied to your transcript. • Once University College has confirmation (copy of a receipt) that any outstanding posting fees have been paid, staff will complete the appropriate paperwork to have the credit applied to a students transcript.
Payment Example • A student is awarded 15 hours • 15 × $30= $450 • Minus the initial assessment fee of $90 • =$360 • The student must pay $360 at the Bursar’s office to receive the Experiential Learning Credit awarded • If a student is awarded more credit than they need, they can elect to pay for only the hours needed. • All fees are paid at the Bursar’s office.
A Final Word • Students sometimes tend to over estimate the number of credit hours they believe they will receive. While many do earn maximum or close to maximum hours, just as many receive far fewer hours then they anticipate or no hours at all. University College encourages students who have a substantial amount of work experience, training, and knowledge to apply for credit through experiential learning. However, we also want students to realize that it is difficult to hours through this process. • The Experiential Learning process takes time and can not be rushed though in a few weeks. Therefore, it is in the students best interest to submit their portfolio as soon as possible in their academic program.
Advisor Contact Information • Dorothy Hale • firstname.lastname@example.org • Sara Williams • email@example.com • Tracy Robinson • firstname.lastname@example.org Feel free to email short concise questions. More complicated issues should be addressed via appointment. To schedule an appointment call 901-678-2716.