This textbook accompanies Boise State’s MDS 301: Prior Learning Portfolio Development course. MDS 301 is a 1-credit course, which may make it seem like this is an easy side project, just a credit add-on to your normal coursework.
We’ve put the course at 1 credit in order to save students tuition, because it makes no sense to pay for a 3-credit course in order to challenge a different course for 3 credits. It’d be less work to just take that 3-credit course directly.
And if you challenge just one course, then MDS 301 is a lighter workload, perhaps equal to 1 or 2 credits. However, most of our students challenge multiple courses, and the more courses you challenge, the heavier the workload is. Each challenge requires a lot of thought, a lot of documentation, and a lot of writing and revising to make your case with your portfolio. The more courses you challenge, the more the workload of MDS 301 grows exponentially.
Further, there is an emotional element to MDS 301. You’ll be dredging up your past, digging deep into experiences and really challenging your memory to find and reframe things you’ve lived through as learning. Former students have been surprised by the emotional weight of MDS 301.
So even though MDS 301 is 1 credit, it can easily be 3 credits worth of work if you’re challenging multiple courses, plus a lot of baggage to drag around for the term.
That said, you can take MDS 301 and then wait to put forth your challenges. You have up to one year after you take MDS 301 to put in your course challenges. If you choose to wait to challenge, though, you won’t get the same amount of feedback or direct interaction with the course instructors, as we’ll be busy teaching our next courses. We’ll help as best we can, but can’t guarantee the same thorough or timely feedback. Many students who wait to challenge end up not putting in the challenges at all, because they lose the momentum and focus they had on the Prior Learning Portfolio. We encourage you to put in your challenges during the course, if possible.