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Educators meet to learn about PLA

Educators meet to learn about PLA

Educators learn about PLA at statewide conference.

More than 100 educators from technology centers, community colleges and universities gathered April 29 on the campus of Oklahoma City Community College for a Prior Learning Assessment Conference.

The conference, jointly sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, was the next step in moving the Cooperative Alliance Program forward.

The Cooperative Alliance Program provides opportunities for students, both high school and adult, to earn college credit while taking courses at technology centers. As a result of Higher Learning Commission rule changes, the program is being revamped and improved.

One of the ways that students may be able to earn credit in the future is through Prior Learning Assessment. The PLA Conference was intended to bring technology center and college partners together to learn about PLA and how it works. During the morning, conference attendees heard from Scott Campbell, vice president for higher education services, and Donna Younger, educational consultant, both from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. In the afternoon, the partners attended sessions designed to help them move forward on the work to be completed.

“The CAEL workshop was a wonderful opportunity for our college partners and technology centers to look at prior learning assessments in greater detail,” said Melissa Overcash, ODCTE field services coordinator. “Each entity had the opportunity to look at sample curricula and determine if the information provided was sufficient or if additional information would be required. This activity is the first of several milestones in the process of securing college credit for our technology center students.”

Four committees, with more than 100 members from across the state, are working in different areas to make the transition from the existing process to a new process for awarding credit. These committees are the Technical Crosswalk Committee; the National Standards, Certifications and EOI Standardization Committee; the Credit Hour Evaluation Committee; and the Contract Template Committee. The work of the committees is expected to last through 2014, and the first cohort of students should enroll under the new processes in fall 2015.

Nationally, the Cooperative Alliance Programs supports Complete College America and the NGA's America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs initiatives. In Oklahoma, the Cooperative Alliance Program is aligned with the CareerTech’s strategic purposes of academic enhancement, career readiness, and career preparation.

The opportunity to eliminate barriers to student success and provide innovation to the program is critical to long-term quality and will improve Oklahoma's economy by providing the education required for students to be successful in the global economy.

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