I sat down last week with Victoria Lee, Experiential Learning Coordinator for University College to discuss how this program works and how it might benefit adult learners. Experiential Learning is a relatively new program in University College that allows students to earn college credit for prior life experiences. These experiences are usually job or career related, but might include volunteer work or travel as well. For example, a paralegal student working in a law office might receive credit for assisting with briefs or performing real estate closings.
In order to obtain ELC, students must follow a number of steps that usually take 5-10 weeks to complete according to Ms. Lee. Students must file a letter of intent, pay an ELC deposit, complete the online ELC course, and file an electronic portfolio. The electronic portfolio details the experience for which the student is seeking credit. The student must provide a syllabus which explains why the experience should be considered academic. Other components of the portfolio might be certificates or letters of recommendation.
A faculty member who is an expert in the requested credit area then evaluates the portfolio and awards credit. The student then pays $30 per undergraduate credit and $50 per graduate credit awarded. Undergraduates may petition for a maximum of 30 credit hours and the average number of hours awarded is 14. Graduate students may petition for a maximum of 6 hours.
In addition to credit for a portfolio, certain certifications are automatically eligible for Experiential Learning Credit. For example, a Private Pilot’s License is worth 5 credits for Commercial Aviation majors. You can find a full list of Pre-Assessed Certifications at the following link: http://www.memphis.edu/univcoll/experiential_learning_pre-assessments.php.
For more information about Experiential Learn Credits, visit their website at http://memphis.edu/elc.