School of Continuing and Professional Studies > Academics > Prior Learning Assessment > Student Experience > Roxanne W. Interview

Roxanne W. Interview

​​​​​​​ SCPS alumna Roxanne W. 

Deciding to do a PLA Project

Like most people, Roxanne W. found herself needing to pivot during the pandemic. Although she has been a lifelong volunteer and has instilled the value of active citizenship in her children and friends, she planned to take LL 305 - Active Citizens. As an older, online student, she did not want to miss anything since there is so much to learn. But when it was time to take the class, she was “not comfortable at that point and time being out in public."

Luckily, even though Roxanne was in an online program, she had made connections with other students. One student shared information about the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Roxanne realized she had “a lot of experience above and beyond what you can put into a simple 'hey look what I did' type of thing." With her experience of volunteering and active citizenship, she could demonstrate the course learning outcomes for LL 305. As a Catholic and immigrant, she says, “it never crossed my mind not to be some kind of volunteer for something."

Doing a PLA Project

The PLA Advisor helped Roxanne understand the PLA process. Once she had the LL 305 syllabus, she had a better idea of what she needed to do. She paid close attention to the learning outcomes and the reading materials listed on the syllabus. Roxanne notes that syllabi (or course inform​ation guides​) ​are a lot clearer now than they were when she first attended college.

Roxanne's notetaking process helped her gather her ideas. The process involves linking ideas and concepts, sometimes using multiple colors and arrows to graphically reflect connections. She also asked herself what-when-where-how-why ​types of questions as well as questions like what each learning outcome meant and how it linked to the different readings. While working on her PLA project, she also worked with a friend and the DePaul Writing Center to revise drafts of her paper. She also praised the various ways you can meet with the Writing Center, which include in-person face-to-face, online real-time, and written feedback via email.

In addition to using resources like the PLA Advisor and the DePaul Writing Center, Roxanne advises students interested in a PLA project to not think of it as writing a simple paper. She encourages them instead to engage in “the thinking and the writing…that captures everything you would have done over 10 weeks." She also says that although it can be "a little intimidating," it can be "an important part of accomplishing your goal."

Are you active in your community?

If so, then like Roxann​e, you may be able to turn your volunteering or other lived experience into PLA course credit toward your degree. Click the button below to get in touch with our PLA advisor and get the process started.

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