What to Expect

Boise State University’s Bachelor’s of Applied Science and Multidisciplinary Studies Program offers four upper-division courses that can be challenged for credit through a portfolio and a demonstration of learning.

The courses that can be challenged are:

  • BAS 425: Creating a Culture of Safety
    • Study of safety as a vital element of human behavior in society, business, and industry. Examines the safety responsibilities of leaders, managers, and supervisors, focuses on developing skills in planning, implementation, awareness, monitoring, and risk management, and covers governmental influence, hazard awareness and control, operational considerations in the workplace, accidents, and planning.
  • MDS 410: Case Studies in Leadership
    • This course introduces and analyzes effective leadership styles. Additionally, leadership practices and models are applied to case studies. Through various forms of reading, writing, presentations, video and/or multi-media, students will apply theories to assess their own leadership style and identify styles of popular companies/people.
  • MDS 430: Ethics
    • This course examines universal ethical principles and standards practiced across various disciplines. Exploration of personal and professional conduct and social responsibility in the light of existing ethical, moral, and social values across disciplines will also be discussed. This course is designed to enable students to form individual positions on ethical conduct and social responsibility, and both identifies and applies ethical principles to real-world situations.
  • MDS 440: Project Management and Design
    • The course develops a foundation of concepts that support the project management process groups required for successful implementation and completion of a project. Principles and applied techniques of effective planning, communication, risk, schedule, and cost management are major themes discussed in this course.
  • MDS 450: Teamwork and Innovation
    • This course identifies the creative people, processes, and conditions necessary for fostering innovation and models of innovation, including creative problem-solving with teams. Students show their understanding through demonstration of competency in identifying, describing, fostering, demonstrating, and assessing programs that foster creativity and innovation in a team environment.

Prior Learning Portfolio Overview

To be awarded credit for prior learning in the BAS/MDS Program at Boise State for MDS 410, 430, 440, 450, or BAS 425, you must be able to demonstrate the Learning Objectives from the course. This is done by creating an online portfolio and, if requested by your portfolio reviewers, participating in a demonstration of learning interview.

To frame your learning as you dig in to the textbook, this is a short overview of the components of your online portfolio. The textbook will look into each of the courses and will go over all of these components in much greater detail in later chapters.

Components of the Prior Learning Portfolio

The prior learning portfolio is composed of an assortment of documents and artifacts demonstrating previous college-level learning. The portfolio contains three required components that each validates the mastery of course objectives. Those components are:

  • The Resumes
    • There will be two different resumes included: a traditional resume and the PLA resume.
      • The PLA resume is organized by your skills and expertise, rather than a chronological record of your employment
      • The traditional resume—you know what that is!
    • Through your resumes, you will highlight more detail about your responsibilities and accomplishments that have supported learning.
    • The resumes provide the reviewing committee with a timeline and demonstrate the progression of learning.
    • You will include both your PLA skills-based resume as well as your traditional/professional resume in the portfolio.
  • The Educational Narrative (a unique Narrative for each course you’re challenging), which is a document that do the following:
    • Examines your personal motivations and educational goals in the context of learning and how you will achieve them.
    • Examines and discusses past instances that led to learning.
      • This portion should address each course objective found on the course syllabus, and demonstrate that you have mastered the objectives to the same extent as students who have completed the course.
      • NOTE: You must write a separate, unique Narrative for each course you’re challenging. For example, if you are challenging three courses, you’ll have to write three distinct and different Educational Narratives, one for each course.
  • Supporting Documentation
    • You will need to supply documentation to support the Narrative.
    • Documentation is as individual as the learner, and it may include items such as sample work products, training certificates, workplace evaluations, letters of recommendation, and/or photographs.

The Demonstration of Learning Interview

If reviewers find your Portfolio makes a strong-enough case on its own, they may award credit automatically.

However, in many cases, reviewers will request to talk with you about your Portfolio and experiential learning in order to get a more full picture of your knowledge. In these cases, we’ll hold a Demonstration of Learning interview. This Demonstration of Learning will be scheduled after the end of the 7-week semester, and you will be given materials to help you prepare for the interview.


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