Credit For Experiential Learning
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CREDIT FOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (CEL) THE PORTFOLIO
Following are two checklists: one for your portfolio, and one for the "packages" within the portfolio. Only one portfolio is allowed for each student. Within that portfolio, you may include several "packages." Each "package" represents a course (or small group of similar courses) for which you are requesting CEL.
The items in your portfolio should be well-organized in a binder, expanding folder, or similar device. Make sure that the faculty member(s) reviewing your portfolio can easily find everything: include a Table of Contents.
Each portfolio should contain all items listed below. Completed portfolios should be forwarded to the CEL Advisor (WYLL 107B)
- Student's résumé
- List of all course numbers, titles, and credits requested
- The "Packages" (see next list)
- Current UW-Parkside transcript (official or unofficial)
- UW-Parkside Academic Petition (yellow). Petition forms are available from Academic Advising, the Registrar's Office, or the Office of Assessment & Testing Services. Complete top half of the form (stop at point requesting Student's Signature.) Include brief paragraph giving reasons for credit to be awarded. Include course number(s), title(s), and number of credits requested.
- 250-word abstract for each "package" summarizing its contents.
- CEL Narrative (see below)
- Bibliography or Works Cited. In addition to the traditional Bibliography or Works Cited, an annotated bibliography can be attached to your narrative if the discussion does not fit within the narrative. An annotated bibliography is a comparison discussion of books and articles that you have read, accompanied by your own critique.
The CEL Narrative
Writing a successful CEL Narrative is more likely if the following guidelines are observed. Keep in mind that you will need to prepare a CEL Narrative for each course (or small group of similar courses) for which you are requesting CEL.
Prepare a Chronological Outline of CEL for which you are seeking credit. An efficient approach to this task involves the creation of a table with the following headers:
- Date of the experience
- Geographic location of the experience
- Volunteer group or organization or sponsor (if appropriate)
- Work position or title
- Seminar or workshop or short course title
- Time spent in lecture and/or time spent in lab (active participation)
- Learning activities or responsibilities or topics covered (in detail)
- Use of learning gained from this experience over the past several years
Brainstorm and list everything that seems to fit under the headers above.
- Review the list of majors and minors in the current UW-Parkside Catalog.
- Return to Chronological Outline and underline all pertinent areas or words.
- Return to the UW-Parkside Catalog and read the descriptions of the majors and minors to find one in which you think your learning fits.
- A course chosen for a major can only be used for that purpose if the student has been admitted to that major. Review the course descriptions in the major or minor that you have selected. Select one course which you can use for your first "package." Note: it is possible that you will have experiential learning that fits in a major or minor area but is not addressed in a current course. At this point it may be most appropriate to seek the advice of a faculty member in the major or minor area regarding the possibility of receiving Independent Study credit for your experiential learning. Before doing so, contact the CEL Advisor, who will provide specific guidelines for you.
- Obtain a recent copy of the course syllabus from the Library (Circulation desk) or from the faculty member.
- Consider carefully several questions before proceeding:
- Do I have this knowledge (learning/competence)?
- How can I prove it?
- Is it worth the time and energy to prove it?
- How does it fit into my overall educational and professional goals?
- Create a Narrative Outline. When deciding the focus of the Narrative's body, review carefully the course goals, objectives, learning outcomes, topics, and/or requirements (e.g., papers) stated in the syllabus. For each of these syllabus elements, identify key words from your Chronological Outline. The purpose of this step is to ensure that what you have learned (i.e., the information on your Chronological Outline) is clearly aligned with the material covered in the course. If the key words from your Chronological Outline are limited to only two or three topics from the course syllabus, you may want to consider looking at another course.
- Draft the CEL Narrative. Excellent narratives are written in the first person (i.e., "I," "me," "mine"); have a clear, topical focus; are well-organized; exhibit good writing skills; demonstrate good analysis and evaluation of the material learned; and recognize references appropriately. Remember that you are requesting credit that is based on learning gained from experience, not credit for experience per se. Discuss the learning you obtained thoroughly.
Writing references which may prove helpful include the MLA Handbook, the Chicago Manual of Style, Harbrace College Handbook, and Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. The Writing Center at UW-Parkside also offers writing assistance in the form of brief publications and personalized attention.
- Edit the CEL Narrative. Solicit input from someone who will critically read your document.
- Compile your Bibliography, using your Chronological Outline as a reference point.
- Assemble your Documentation, using the suggestions that follow this section.
- Prepare your next "package" (if appropriate).
- When your Portfolio is complete, forward it to the CEL Advisor (WYLL 107B).
- Certificates of completion
- Newspaper articles (with pertinent sentences underlined)
- Exam reports
- Work samples
- Writing Samples
- Job descriptions (verified)
- Course outlines or syllabi
- Reports and proposals written
- Performance and promotion evaluations
- Verification letter
One of the most important forms of documentation must be a verification letter. A verification letter provides evidence that the learning which you have declared actually did occur, and it affirms the qualitative nature of your experiences. It is not a credit recommendation or a personal letter of recommendation.
The letter written on your behalf will be public and will be seen by you and various faculty. When seeking a verification letter, you will want to explain that you are seeking college CEL. Provide the following guidelines to the person who is writing a letter on your behalf:
- use letterhead stationery
- identify the positional relationship (e.g., supervisor), give a description of the situation in which the learning and experiences occurred
- give examples, wherever possible, of the standards used to evaluate performance (as it relates to the learning and experiences)
- As much as possible, documentation should be copies of originals.