Are you a good candidate for gaining credit through portfolio assessment at Charter Oak? The following self-assessment checklist can help you decide.
- Have I successfully completed 6 semester hours of college credit in English Composition?
(Alternatives that may justify an exception to policy can include: successful completion of several college courses in which research papers were required, or appropriate professional or other writing experience.)
- Is my experience in an area that is normally taught in college courses?
Some of the most valuable knowledge in life can't be gained in a college classroom. Navigating the ups and downs of 35 years of marriage can teach you a lot; shepherding three children through the teen years can be productive of an immense store of wisdom, but colleges don't directly offer credit for what you have learned while doing this. Are there individual aspects of your learning across your life-span that may be credit-worthy? You will want to look through some college catalogs to see if there are course descriptions that deal with the kinds of things you have learned.
- Is my knowledge broad and deep enough to match the content of a college course?
Your knowledge must match each learning outcome in a course you want to challenge. Portfolio credit seldom rests on knowledge gained from a single experience: you should consider what you've learned across multiple jobs and events.
- Has my experience lasted long enough to give me the opportunity to learn what I will claim to know?
Charter Oak doesn't award credit on the basis of experience alone, so in some cases even a great deal of experience can't support a successful portfolio. Twenty years on an assembly line can teach an adult learner a lot, but unless your experience included something other than repetitive daily operations you're not likely to be a good candidate for portfolio credit. On the other hand, six months' experience in learning to use computer software programs in a busy office environment may be sufficient to teach you what you might learn in a course in MS Access or Excel. "How much" and "how long" depend on the job.
- Do I have a basic knowledge of working with computers?
To succeed in the required portfolio development course (IDS102), you don't have to have previous experience in online learning, but you do need to be comfortable in the online environment. Charter Oak offers free student orientation and tutorials. If you are a new computer user, you may benefit from completing the free Connecticut Distant Learning Consortium Basic Computer Skills Course.
- Can I describe and explain what I have learned?
The portfolio course will help you to analyze the skills and knowledge that would be acquired by a student who takes the course you are challenging. Your task will be to put the knowledge that you have gained into words in a way that will show faculty reviewers that it is comparable to the learning outcomes of your course analog.
- Does my knowledge include an appropriate level of theory as well as practical application?
Even a keyboarding course has some theoretical knowledge to impart. Being able to explain both what you've done and why it should (or should not!) be done that way is an indication that you're a good candidate for portfolio assessment. In upper level courses in areas such as psychology and management, you'll need to know what theories and theorists have influenced the field and be familiar with the most commonly recognized research.
- Do I have the time to devote to a writing-intensive course for eight weeks?
IDS102 involves a good deal of writing that has to be submitted on time because each assignment grows out of the previous one. It's recommended that you take no more than one additional course while enrolled in IDS102. The course is offered five times a year, so you can easily plan to enroll during a period when your workload can accommodate the time you'll need to write.