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PLACE Portfolio

Prior Learning Activity for Credit Evaluation (PLACE) is NOVA's portfolio development program for adult learners. If you are interested in portfolio development, you must take the one-credit SDV 298 course. This course is for adults who have gained college-level learning through work, volunteer activities, civic and community assignments, travel, independent study or other experiential learning. You will learn to develop portfolios that demonstrate your skills and knowledge as it aligns with specific NOVA courses.

How Does It Work?
  • Take the one-credit SDV 298 PLACE Portfolio Development course.
  • Develop a portfolio for each course to challenge (up to 15 degree credits/10 certificate credits).
  • Pay $175 for the evaluation of each portfolio.
  • A faculty member in the content field will review your portfolio.
  • You receive credit award decision.
  • Credits posted to your account ("P" for pass).
PLACE Portfolios

PLACE e-Portfolio Components Consist of These Main Components:

  1. Cover Letter – request to faculty evaluator to challenge a specific course
  2. Chronological Record – list of the main experiences in your life since high school
  3. Life History Paper – reflection and evaluation of life experiences
  4. Goals Paper - states one, five and 10 year personal and professional goals
  5. Narrative of Competencies – written explanation of learning
  6. Copy of the Course Content Summary – taken from NOVA website
  7. Documentation – evidence supporting learning statements (letters of verification, job descriptions, performance evaluations, pictures, audio/video tapes, samples of work produced, computer programs written, etc.)

Sample PLACE e-Portfolio: John Student’s e-Portfolio. This is not a perfect portfolio, but it gives you an idea of what you would be developing.

Student Testimonials

photo of AnnetteYou learn something new every day, but you don't realize how much you have learned through the years until you actually sit down and reflect on that knowledge. The Prior Learning Activity for Credit Evaluation (PLACE) one-credit course, SDV 298, helps you do just that. My life experiences have been varied, including military service, raising a family, and 25 years planning meetings and events. This course helped me assemble all of the college-level learning I gained from that "real-life" experience into a cohesive online portfolio. Following this course and many hours of determination, I earned 15 NOVA credit hours. I can now transfer in the fall (2017) to GMU's Bachelor of Individualized Study program.

- Annette Ott-Barnett, Spring 2015 PLACE student
(earned 15 credits with PLACE portfolios)


photo of FernandaWhen I decided to return to school after 25 years, I did not know where to start. I found that I could write a portfolio to earn credit for the college-level learning I gained through my years of work experience. At first it felt like a big challenge, and I did not think I could do it. The first exercise was writing down a time line of my life. This was extremely valuable, and I am now urging my friends to do something similar for their own benefit. As we go through life we learn, we make mistakes, and we adapt. Our experiences change us. By writing a timeline I could measure my accomplishments by years. As I looked back and incorporated more details, I realized which of the earlier activities were the foundation for future success. The rest of the process came naturally. I completed two portfolios for three credits each.

The best advice I would give to someone developing a portfolio is to focus on time management. Set aside blocks of time each week for writing and thinking. Make a schedule, turn off distractions and immerse yourself in your past.

- Fernanda Marinkovic, Fall 2015 PLACE student
(earned 6 credits with PLACE portfolios)

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