We are thrilled to share the news that Thomas Edison State College (TESC) has made two prior learning assessment (PLA) courses available under a Creative Commons Attribution-only license (CC-BY 4.0). These courses can be used by students hoping to demonstrate prior learning towards TESC credits and can be adapted by other parties and institutions interested in PLA assessment.

If you’re scratching your head wondering what the heck a PLA course is anyway, here’s the gist: the PLA 100/200 courses familiarize students with the process of building a portfolio toward demonstrating — and earning college credit for — what they already know. Students’ work is assessed by subject matter experts.

In PLA-100: Introduction to Prior Learning Assessment, students are introduced to portfolio development and what it means to earn college credit for their current skills. In PLA-200: Introduction to Portfolio Development, students get their hands dirty identifying, demonstrating, and organizing their skills to build a portfolio.

Both courses are required for students working through the open course option of TESC’s Associate in Science in Business Administration (ASBA) degree; they facilitate evaluation for credit of tuition-free Saylor Academy courses. The PLA100 and PLA200 courses are also available as regular, fee-based and credit-bearing courses. The free, open-licensed versions allow students to hone their portfolio-making skills at no cost but do not themselves contribute credit toward a degree.

How to use these courses toward the ASBA degree:

  • use them to get a head start on understanding PLA and creating portfolios before enrolling in the for-credit versions of the courses
  • use the open courses to prepare portfolios for assessment and forgo the for-credit versions (you can take another Saylor Academy elective to make up the credits)
  • join with other students in the course discussion forums (PLA-100 and PLA-200), hosted by the Saylor Academy.

If we have piqued your interest in the ASBA degree program or in prior learning assessment in general, feel free to get in touch. If you have a moment or two now, these remarks by Vice Provost of Thomas Edison State College Marc Singer are well worth a look.

8 thoughts on “Open Course Option in Business Administration Now More Open Than Ever

  1. This is very exciting! That cuts down on the cost by a sizeable amount. What electives does Saylor suggest students take to make up for the credits instead of the PLA courses?

    1. I don’t think our team has thought that far! Since the credits would be replaced by a “free elective” under the program, we might perhaps advise a course that is (a) easy to document well for a portfolio, and (b) relates to a topic you wish to explore more…math, science/technology/engineering, computer science, literature, philosophy — lot of courses in these disciplines could make one a better businessperson. (I took two semesters of screenwriting toward a teaching endorsement in social studies…I’m not sorry!)

    1. Hi Ellen — it is $350 for the first 12 credits and $200 for each additional six credits. I do not know if you would have to do all 12 credits at once or if you can get one portfolio assessed and then later get additional assessments for no extra cost.

      See http://www.tesc.edu/degree-completion/Open-Course-Option-FAQs.cfm for more:

      “The costs associated with earning credit via Portfolio Assessment are structured around how many credits a student earns after they complete the PLA-100 and PLA 200 courses. The first 12 credits a student attempts through portfolio assessment costs $350. After the first 12 credits earned via portfolio assessments, students pay $200 for every additional six credits. These prices are consistent for students using in-state and out-of-state tuition rates.”

    1. Hello Andreas,

      Unfortunately, we will not have finance or accounting as a major — at least we have no plans to do so — but some courses are available in our catalog; see especially PRDV201, ECON302, AND ECON305 in addition to the courses in business. http://www.saylor.org/courses

  2. Hi – I wanted to take Strategic Management (BUS501) for my BSBA at TESC. Could I run through the Saylor BUS501 course, take the exam at the end, and use PLA at TESC?

    1. Hi Sam — In general, I expect so. We have not lined that up explicitly, though, so you would of course want to know from TESC what expectations they would have for the PLA and what the nearest course in their catalog would be. I don’t think that a Saylor exam/cert alone would be sufficient.

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