Jul 15, 2024  
2022-2023 NOVA Catalog 
2022-2023 NOVA Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

CPL: Section 11-Experiential Learning to Academic Credit Portfolio Development (formerly known as PLACE)

Experiential Learning to Academic Credit Portfolio Development (formerly known as PLACE)

General Information

The design of NOVA’s Experiential Learning to Academic Credit portfolio development course is dedicated to provide college credit to a student who has acquired significant knowledge outside of a traditional classroom setting. Sources of prior learning can include, but not limited to: 

  • Formal workplace training as part of the student’s employment and/or other skills learned on the job
  • Extensive volunteer and/or civic duties completed
  • Completion of non-credit courses
  • Certificates or licenses required for professionals in the student’s occupation and other major life experiences.

A student may be eligible to earn college credit if the student’s educational background, occupational background and/or life experiences parallels the completion of objectives that are required by a given NOVA college course. In order to assess the extent of alignment between a student’s major life experiences and the requirements of a given NOVA course, the student must complete and submit a experiential learning portfolio (per each course requesting credit for).

Experiential Learning to Academic Credit Portfolio Development Course (Currently SDV 298)

To begin the procedure, students must enroll and complete the portfolio course. SDV 298 is a portfolio development course required of all students seeking credit for experiential learning. The purpose of the portfolio course is to provide assistance to help direct students in the preparation of a portfolio for each course to which the student seeks credit. The process of preparing a portfolio is writing intensive. To assist in the process, students in SDV 298 are provided with a course content summary for each course for which they wish to earn credit. By the end of the course students will learn how to complete a portfolio documenting the experience they have and to what extent those experience aligns with completion of college credit expectations and student learning outcomes.

Components of Experiential Learning Portfolio 

The process of preparing a experiential learning portfolio requires an extensive amount of writing. Each portfolio consists of seven parts:

(1) Cover Letter, formal request from the student to challenge a specific course with a brief description of their career history

(2) Chronological record, which is a short synopsis of year-by-year major events in the student’s adult life.

(3) Life history paper to introduce the student to the faculty evaluator, including a summary of lifetime accomplishments.

(4) Goals paper, which helps the student focus and shows the faculty evaluator where the student plans to go in the short term and long term future.

(5) Narrative of competencies which describes where learning took place and a very detailed description of that learning based on the course content summary.

(6) Copy of the course content summary for which credit is requested.

(7) Documentation of each statement made of major accomplishments and learning experiences (job descriptions, Transcripts, letters of verification, performance evaluations, pictures, audio and video, samples of work produced, computer programs written, etc.).

A student must complete this process and provide data in the portfolio for each course the student is seeking credit for.


*Sample E-portfolio: https://sites.google.com/a/email.vccs.edu/john-student-s-eportfolio/


Fees for Evaluation Review 

In addition to the tuition costs associated with SDV 298, students must pay an evaluation fee for each course under consideration for credit before the portfolio will be evaluated. After the fee is processed, the evaluation process will continue by forwarding the portfolio to the required faculty evaluator.

Evaluation Process

The associate dean or other responsible college administrator will assign each portfolio to an appropriate faculty member. Credit is awarded based upon the recommendation of the faculty member. If credit is recommended, the student will receive a “P” grade for the course. Students may be awarded up to 15 credits through the experiential learning portfolio method towards an associate degree. Students may receive up to 10 credits toward certificates and career studies programs through the portfolio method. In special cases, students may receive more credits through the experiential learning portfolio method; to do so they must submit a detailed letter of justification for approval by the Chief Academic Officer.

The faculty portfolio evaluator will review the content of the portfolio and may recommend approval of the credit requested OR recommend the awarding of credit with additional development and/or verification requested, OR recommend the denial of credit. In addition, the faculty evaluator may recommend changing the department and/or course title on the petition if the faculty feels another department or course is more appropriate and aligned with the evidence provided in the experiential learning portfolio. If revisions are needed, students will have an opportunity to revise and resubmit. Once an evaluator has access to the experiential learning portfolio, the typical amount of time it takes to submit a recommendation is two weeks.

Click here for the faculty guide. 

Appeals Process

Students will be allowed 2-weeks to appeal a decision. Appeals must be made using the signed appeal form. All appeals will be reviewed by the Credit for Prior Learning Committee and the faculty evaluator within 90 days. Students will be informed via VCCS e-mail of the final decision. Students are only granted one appeal per portfolio submission.

Posting of Credit

If credit is recommended, the College Record Office (CRO) will post credits to the student’s account within 4-6 weeks. The Credit will appear as “P” for pass next to the course that was associated with the experiential learning portfolio and approved recommendation from the faculty evaluator.

Residency Stipulation

Credit earned through the experiential learning portfolio method may not be used to meet the residency requirement for graduation, but the credit from SDV 298 does count toward residency.