Questions to the panel

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by bikerseven2003, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. bikerseven2003

    bikerseven2003 New Member

    Below, I have cut and pasted a document found on this site. It is how to work the system to get college credits without going to class and proving your work experience or any kind of experience in general. Why is what you are advising others to do about getting college from life experience or on the job experience any different from those schools granting college credits for the same things. But all colleges that do this should get the same respect.
    "The Unofficial Thomas Edison State College Portfolio Guide(Originally posted to the newsgroup on February 5, 1998)An adapted version of this post has been published in: Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees Nontraditionally, by John B. Bear and Mariah P. Bear, 14th ed. (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2001), pp. 82-85. Because of my comments on the Thomas Edison State College (TESC) thread, I've been inundated with requests for information on how to do a portfolio at TESC. Since there appears to be wide interest in this area, I've decided to save time by responding here on the newsgroup. The requests for information are typified by the following two examples of e-mail I've received in the past few days (with some background facts changed to protect the innocent):> I completed 5 semesters of college and have taken courses> at other colleges. I have worked six years as a> programmer, have published research papers, have been an> MIS Director and advanced technology analyst, and do a> weekly radio program on the Internet.>> I've been fortunate in my career and have advanced> without my BA, but I'd like to get a BA in Computer> Science, nonetheless. The difficulty I have is in trying> to "read the mind" of TESC to see what constitutes a> suitable format for a portfolio. I've never been a good> "follow the instructions" student. I've always learned> best by example.>> Also, I don't have all the code, analysis and reports I> wrote years ago. How do I get credit for it?>> Ultimately, I'd even like to get an MS in Computer > Science. I've determined that TESC is probably my best> bet [for the bachelor's degree]. In the packets I've> received from them, however,
    Okay, campers, get out your notebooks . . . There will be a quiz at the end of this post. But seriously...The principle behind a TESC portfolio is that you should demonstrate a knowledge of the subject you are challenging for credit that is approximately equal to what a student would have learned if he or she had taken the same course you are challenging. No less, but no more.How do you challenge a course by portfolio? First, you have to decide what course you want to challenge, and it must be an actual course that is offered at any regionally accredited community college, four-year college, or university. In other words, it's not enough to say, "I want to submit a portfolio to earn three credits in computer science," you must actually find a course in computer science and challenge the specific course. For example, "I believe that I have the knowledge necessary to challenge Introduction to Computer Science, course number MIS-104, as it is offered at XYZ University in Podunk, Idaho."Therefore, the most important resource as you begin to develop your portfolio will be a library with a decent selection of college catalogs. Your first step should be to locate such a library, then spend an afternoon going through their stacks of college catalogs. And bring a lot of dimes, because you're going to want to make a bunch of photocopies.Now, grab a stack of catalogs from regionally accredited two-year (junior) colleges and four-year colleges, have a seat, and start leafing through the section of each catalog that has the course listings with two or three-line course descriptions. (Full-length catalogs generally have course descriptions) And simply look for any course title in which you think you have sufficient knowledge to challenge. It doesn't matter what the subject is. Why? Because, in addition to subjects in your particular field, you will also need credits to complete distribution requirements such as liberal arts and free electives.("Distribution requirements? Okay, let's look at a specific example. TESC's B.A. in Humanities requires that a student complete 6 credits in written expression, 12 in each of the three broad liberal arts areas - including humanities, math and natural sciences, and social sciences, 18 additional liberal arts credits of your choice, 33 credits for your major or specialization, and 27 credits in free electives, for a total of 120 credits. In the math and natural science area, you must include at least one course in college-level math and one in computer science.)

    Now, if you see a course that you think you can challenge, make a photocopy of the catalog page with the short course description, including the course number and number of credits offered, and write the following additional information somewhere on your copy: Name of the school at which the course is offered, publication year of the catalog, page number, and name of the department that offers the course. Then simply challenge the course through TESC.In other words, say you like walking through the woods while playing "Skip to My Lou" on the guitar. (Hell, it takes all kinds.) Believe it or not, Kent State University offers a two-credit course titled Folk Guitar Class. Get ahold of a Kent State catalog, make a copy of the course description, and create a portfolio submission in which you are essentially saying to TESC, "I want to challenge Folk Guitar Class as it is offered at Kent State University for two credits." How will TESC know what the course comprises? Because you will be submitting a photocopy of the course description from Kent State's catalog with your submission.That's it. Really, gang, that's the whole ball of wax. Do that for any course you feel you can challenge based on your current knowledge of a subject.
    courses titled "19th Century American History" and "American History 1800-1899" - they're the same course, and TESC will pick up on this in a nanosecond.Also, be sure you challenge the course under the correct broad subject area - especially if it's a computer science course. you'll need a separate binder or presentation folder for each course submission, even if it's only two pages long. (Yes, they can be that short. For my one-credit course in CPR, I submitted a cover sheet plus a photocopy of my current CPR certification. That was enough to earn the credit.)The cover sheet is in a format provided by TESC, and includes information on you and your degree program, the course title and number of credits for which you are applying, and the pasted-up photocopy of the course description along with the institutional information. (Remember? That's .Remember that your validating evidence can take the form of documents, written products, audio or videotapes, or merely a list of books you have read in a subject. You can earn credit on a portfolio in any of three ways: (1) on evidence alone, (2) by testing, or (3) through a combination of evidence and testing.
    Are you challenging a course in computer science? No problem, just submit copies of programs you have written, or of disks which your course evaluator can use to run the programs. (And if you submit disks, hide the code. That way, even if you break "the rules of programming," the evaluator will only see the result - that the program works - and will not grade you on the theory behind the programming.)Now, the obvious question is, "How will the evaluator know that I wrote the manuals, the programs, etc.?" That's where the second most important type of evidence comes into play: letters of validation. Get anyone who is qualified to write validation letters attesting to your knowledge of the subject you are challenging. Remember that they are to be validation letters, not reference letters. You want him or her to write a letter that validates the claims you have made in your portfolio: "Joe is our Human Resources Director. His job responsibilities include recruiting, performance evaluations, and salary analysis. He has written our company's personnel and benefits administration manuals." That's validation.Some course submissions require minimal documentation, especially if they require a credential. In addition to CPR, other examples include Red Cross First Aid (yes, there are college courses available in this), holding a pilot's license or a cosmetology license, a CNA or CNE certification if you are a programmer or MIS administrator, a nursing or medical certification, a commercial driver's license, or even if you are a licensed funeral director (yes, there are college courses for morticians). In fact, if you hold any type of license or certification, you should automatically look for courses in your field. The rule of thumb is simple: There is a college course offered somewhere in virtually any topic you can imagine. (Hell, even Berkeley offers a course titled The Films of Keanu Reeves.)

    What if you don't have enough documentation to pursue credit on evidence alone? Then go for the testing option.Let's go back to Folk Guitar Class for a moment. There's not a lot of theory in this area; as Ethel Merman sang in Gypsy, "You either got it . . . or you don't." For my credit in folk guitar, I met with TESC's evaluator (a music professor at Mercer County Community College) and played a few songs on the guitar. (By the way, I also challenged voice, piano, solfeggio [sight singing], performance class, choral singing, and a few other music courses.) After a two-hour meeting with the evaluator, I walked out with 20 credits in various music subjects.
  2. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Dumnezeu! If you're gonna quote at such length, credit the quoted poster, please. I suspect others will give you a more detailed response, but here's mine.

    The basic distinction between the "big 3" and the many unaccredited schools (whether substandard or sub-real) which grant credit for life experience is that the "big 3" have a very rigorous review of carefully documented portfolios which present a student's claims to creditworthy prior learning, and few of the unaccredited schools claiming to do PLA/life experience have any rigor--or even any review of claims--at all.

    Please bear in mind that I have no direct experience with the "big 3", and while I don't for a moment cavil at degrees obtained through them, I'm not personally a big fan of PLA--as distinct from "testing out" through challenge exams of one variety or another--DANTES, CLEP, etc.

    Again, I am sure that others can speak to your concerns with more knowledge and more detail than I can.
  3. Kit

    Kit New Member

    Motion seconded, with the caveat that quoted posts should be attributed to their respective authors but quotes from emails you may have received should not be attributed. In fact, it's usually best to paraphrase any supporting information obtained from emails rather than directly quote.

    I would like to add a request to the thread originator that more paragraph breaks be included. Lengthy posts are unpleasant to read when everything is run together. Thank you!

    In answer to the first part of your post, there are big differences in the Big 3 and their practice of granting portfolio credit as opposed to diploma mills granting credit for 'life experience'. The former require vigorous proof of knowledge, the latter often grant credit based on mere resumes and lists sent by "students" without any required proof. The Big 3 care about actual education, however it may have been obtained. Diploma mills only care about money in exchange for the worthless paper they are selling. Another big difference is that the Big 3 are legitmately accredited while the diploma mills are unaccredited or simply create their own unrecognized and completely bogus "accreditors".

  4. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    And, generally so, even when it isn't.
  5. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member


    What's "Dumnezeu!"?
  6. galanga

    galanga New Member

    "God," I believe.

    G (finder-of-stuff)
  7. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    'Zeul' is what the demon inside Sigourney Weaver's fridge announced, in 'Ghostbusters'.
  8. Mike Albrecht

    Mike Albrecht New Member

    Correct, according to the engineer who sits next to me who is from Romania.
  9. TescStudent

    TescStudent New Member

    This appears to be the non-quoted portion of the original message.

    Could you clarify what you mean by "But all colleges that do this should get the same respect". Do you mean that if a college does porfolios, they should be evaluated on that fact alone, and not on other factors, such as the quality of their faculty, rigor of their portfolio process, overall reputation, etc.?

    When you say "all colleges", do you mean all RA colleges, all insitutions claiming to be colleges, including diploma mills, or something in between?

    You should also keep in mind that the above (if I remember correctly), was written by Levicoff, who has a tongue-in-cheek style, and that parts of it are meant as humor. In addition, it is out of date, and much of the information in there is very likely wrong now because TESC completely revamped their portfolio process since Levicoff graduated, and they now call it the "PLA" process, which works more like a course. I did 10 or so PLAs during the period when they were making this transition, and the new process is quite different.

    Finally, I do not see your quoted post advocating not proving experience. I see quite the opposite - it is attempting to show how to demonstrate experience.

    So overall, you have failed to back up your arguments, or even to make clear what exactly your arguments may be.
  10. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Right as usual, Galanga.
    Multumesc, Mike.
    Uh, Bill, it's a minuscule L not an exclamation mark. You see like I do.
  11. bikerseven2003

    bikerseven2003 New Member

    Uncle janko, TescStudent, Kit

    The information I gave for discussion, not for the usual complaints, is an article posted on the DegreeInfo webpage titled: Prove What You Know: Portfolio Credit by Kristin Hirst. The actual document for discussion was found under RESOURCES at the end of the article: The Unofficial Thomas Edison College (TESC) Portfolio Guide. No date for the article. If the information is outdated the administrator should remove the information.

    The posting was edited to include pertinent information that I had a question about for the "experts" on here to enlighten me. The original posting exceeded the maximum spaces allowed so the reference to the article was not left out in the original messege but when I cut the stuff I didn't have questions about, I, through human error forgot to redo the reference.

    Did not intend to offend anyone asking questions. But I surely did with all the comments. When others' opinions are questioned they sure get their feather ruffled, dont' they?

    And to the Administrator: Thank you for the opportunity to post my opinions, ask questions, get other's view points on distant education issues. I thought this was going to be a great discussion group where all opinions are respected and addressed with good spirits and be educational. However, I have found that many on this discussion board are too opinionated, sarcastic, relentless in disrespect of postings that they do not agree with and I am very disappointed. I will continue to search for a website that affords respect of all opinions and have discussions without being attacked. So, guys, don't feel that you have to respond and don't. I am looking for another site that everyone may post, ask questions, give an opinion and get good faith feedback and discussion. That does not happen on this site if you don't have the same opinion as persons responding.

    Kind regards to all and best wishes. [I continue to respect each and every opinion on this site even though I may not agree with all that is said.]

  12. TescStudent

    TescStudent New Member

    Re: Uncle janko, TescStudent, Kit

    Speaking for myself, I am a relatively new user, and do not feel as though any of my opinions have to be necessarily the same as everyone else's. Perhaps they are, and perhaps they aren't, but I do know that I came upon them myself. I neither know nor am particularly concerned as to whether I happen to have opinions similar to "Kit" or "Uncle Janko" or "BikerSeven2003".

    From your post, I get the impression that you are the one who are looking a particular opinion, and are intolerant of opinions that differ from your own. I have no problems with your intolerance, and everyone is free to read, post, or not as they wish, but I find it very puzzing when someone posts something so vague and unclear, then leaves in a huff after a few responses.

    Plus, you still haven't clarified your original post, so the reader don't even know what your own opinion is, which we supposedly disagreed with. (I disagreed with your interpretation of the Levicoff post, but cannot say whether I disagreed with your overall point, whatever you meant it to be.) So I'm left wondering, "What was that all about?"
  13. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Re: Uncle janko, TescStudent, Kit

    This is classic! Robert takes a little heat based on the manner of his posting (not even the content) but just on the sheer readability of his posting and he decides to fold up his tent and run to some other forum. I can understand if someone left this forum based on some real principal, but over this?
  14. plcscott

    plcscott New Member

    Hey Robert,

    I understand where you are coming from, but don't leave. You will find more information here than on any other DL site. Sometimes people here mean well, but just come across the wrong way, and some you just have to ignore. My suggestion is listen to what you want to and discard what you want to, and post your opinions when you want to. You get the same kinds of stuff on all sites, even the ones that pretend to be opposite of this one.

    Learn to use the tags when posting to quote text, bold text, etc.

    Check your PM's I sent you one, hang in here you will get used to the water.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Uncle janko, TescStudent, Kit

    It would be interesting to tabulate who left mad and why. It would also be interesting to see who was banned and why. I'm guessing almost everyone in both groups have a common interest. :rolleyes:
  16. BubbaGump

    BubbaGump New Member

    I leave mad every day
  17. bikerseven2003

    bikerseven2003 New Member


    I am not mad or upset. Disappointed in the group, yes. This is not the forum group in which I want to participate with. I enjoy civil debate and exchange of opinions and ideas. Most of you, not all, are not very civil or 'professional' in your responses and exchange of thoughts. And, it is not because of the cluttered posting comments. I tried to include all the info I could, because you and several others pick sentences and thoughts to pieces and make statements such as 'As usual, you don't know what you are talking about..., or here you go again getting things misinformation...etc'. Instead of saying, 'yes but have you considered this or that', or 'my opinion on this subject is..' But you couldn't refute the information, so you picked on the clutter. Go figure.

    This will be the last reply to this forum. So, yes, I am pulling up my tent and leaving. "Wise men fear to tread wher fools rush in".

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2004
  18. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    OK, I understand you're objection. However, I'd disagree with your conclusion. It's true (AFAIC) that this forum has its faults. Sometimes people get out of line and they get away with it. I think that I've gotten away with it more than once. However, if you think that it's different on these other forums then I believe you're mistaken. I have seen some terrible things written about people on these other forums, things that would NEVER be allowed here. Perhaps the difference is that you believe that on these other forums YOU will not be the subject of such posts. Based on this, here's a small challenge. Will you resign from another forum if you read a post that denigrates ANYONE? or only one that denigrates you, yourself? If Rich Douglas gets denigrated in a post on another forum will you resign that forum based on the principal you've stated here? If John Bear gets maligned will you resign? If not then your moral principal is hollow.

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