Charter Oak State College Official Catalog
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Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education

Credit Programs

Students may earn credit directly from Charter Oak State College through its online courses, contract learning, portfolio assessment, and transfer credit processes.

Contract Learning

Contract learning is a type of independent study which is appropriate when a student cannot access regular courses in a particular subject or when desired learning objectives cut across disciplines. With the help of a faculty instructor, the student takes responsibility for planning and carrying out his/her own learning. The student's role in the process is that of initiator of planning and executor of strategies to achieve agreed-upon objectives. The faculty instructor's role is to facilitate self-directed learning, act as content expert, and evaluate the student's learning.

In order to qualify for contract learning, a student must have successfully completed 60 credits towards the degree. Contract Learning is available only for matriculated students.

Once the student has determined, in consultation with his or her academic counselor, that the proposed learning fits into the degree plan, the student completes the learning contract form and submits it with the fee to the contract learning administrator. The administrator submits the proposal to the appropriate mentor for comment. Terms of the contract are negotiated between the instructor and student. The final contract is signed by the student, instructor, and administrator and is submitted for final approval to a faculty member from the area of study. Once the reviewing faculty approves the contract, the student fulfills the terms, communicating with the mentor as agreed upon. The instructor evaluates the finished contract and submits the grade.

Portfolio Assessment

The portfolio assessment process provides an opportunity for a student to demonstrate college-level learning that he or she has obtained through years of experience.

To get credit for college-level knowledge gained through experience, students take the three (3) credit, IDS102: Prior Learning Portfolio Development course, which helps students to analyze their learning, compare it to college courses, and prepare a portfolio to challenge one course. To register for IDS 102, students must meet an English Composition prerequisite. IDS 102 is an eight (8) week accelerated research and writing intensive course; it is typically offered twice in spring and fall and once in the summer. Students may submit their portfolio for assessment to potentially receive credit for the course challenged in the portfolio without an additional fee if it is submitted within 30 days of the end of the course. After successfully completing the portfolio course with a grade of "C" or better, students may submit additional portfolios for credit assessment, paying only an assessment fee. Current instructions and fees are in the student forms section of Acorn.

If the student has successfully ("C" or better) completed a course comparable to IDS102 so deemed by the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) coordinator, the student will receive credit for that course and will not need to take IDS102 before submitting a portfolio for assessment. A comparable course should include instructions on analyzing one's learning/prior knowledge and relating that to academic content areas as well as instructions on preparing a portfolio.

Portfolio credit is not awarded for "life experience" but rather for learning that results from that life experience. A portfolio identifies the college-level course that the student believes parallels the knowledge gained through years of experience. In the narrative and documentation sections, the student identifies, explains and documents that learning.

In order to be eligible for credit, the prior learning must:

  1. have college-level equivalency;
  2. be verifiable, i.e., students must be able to demonstrate and document the learning; and
  3. be based on experience that is broad enough and of sufficient duration to afford the student opportunity to acquire an appropriate amount and level of learning.

Credit cannot be granted through portfolio for English Composition or for learning that cannot be documented. Internships, practica, independent study and field experiences are usually not areas that can be evaluated by a portfolio; authorization from the PLA Coordinator is required to challenge such a course via portfolio. There is no limit to the number of credits a student can earn through the portfolio process.

The completed portfolio is reviewed by faculty to determine course equivalencies and make credit recommendations. Once approved, the credits are transcripted onto the student's record as a P (Pass).

Transfer Credit

Credits earned from courses of instruction completed while attending another college or university may be applied towards the requirements of a Charter Oak State College degree provided that all of the following conditions are met:

  • The course provides instruction in a subject for which degree credit is appropriate. Exceptions include courses in physical education, freshman orientation, pre-college level mathematics and pre-college level English.
  • The institution grants academic credit for the course towards its own degree.
  • The institution was licensed or accredited as an institution of higher learning in the state of Connecticut or was regionally accredited at the time the course was completed.
  • A grade higher than an "F" was received.
  • Procedures acceptable to Charter Oak State College were used for evaluation and validation at the institution. See Academic Policies and Regulations:Acceptance of Credit from Other Institutions.

Note: Many two-year vocational, technical, and/or business/secretarial colleges are not regionally accredited as institutions of higher learning. Therefore their credits may not be accepted. Prospective enrollees who have attended such institutions are advised to check the accreditation before applying for admission to the College.

With possible exceptions for major and concentration credit, there is no time limit on the acceptability of college course credits. Only those transferred grades and transferred courses the student desires to have recorded will be considered. Courses in which a grade of D- or better was achieved may be used for satisfying degree requirements with the exception of English Composition and the baccalaureate concentration and major, which require a grade of C or higher. Grades of D- must be balanced by higher grades in order to achieve the C average (2.0) necessary for graduation.

All grades or scores must be on official documents sent directly from the issuing agency to Charter Oak State College.

The student is responsible for initiating a request that the official report or transcript be issued.