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Athabasca University

2011 News Archive

New "Introduction to PLAR" Video

November 22, 2011

CLA is pleased to present a four-minute introductory video that walks you through what PLAR is and how to approach the process. Take a few moments to acquaint yourself with this exciting and innovative process that can result in your receiving university credit for what you already know. Please note that e-portfolios are now a reality for the PLAR process! Check out the e-Portfolio menu item on the left hand menu to further explore this submission option.

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Prepare for February 15, 2012 PLAR bursary deadline

November 3, 2011

February 15th is once again the deadline for this year's applications for both the PLAR bursaries (two at $500 each) and the PLAR scholarship (one at $1000). Bursary applicants may already be engaged in the PLAR process or may be planning to work on their PLAR portfolio in the near future. Conditions apply. Scholarship applicants may be those who have successfully completed a PLAR portfolio, applied their credit award toward their program, and are within 30 credits of program completion. Scholarship applications require a short essay which asks for reflection on the applicant's PLAR-related learning. The essay is an important part of the scholarship application process and applicants are advised to take care with it. Good luck to all applicants!

Visit the awards page to learn about these awards.

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e-Portfolio conference, London, UK, July 2012

November 3, 2011

The 10th anniversary International e-Portfolio Conference (ePic) is slated for July 9-11, 2012, in London, England. AU personnel attending this conference last year found it very professionally organized and academically (and practically) useful, with good representation from 22 countries worldwide. Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend thought London would be unbearable (hot, crowded) in July but it wasn't too bad! Accommodations are at a premium always, however, so early attention to this is advised. Try the student residence at Beit Hall, Imperial College, very centrally located and reasonable, with a great breakfast included.

For more information, visit

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Check out our new e-Portfolio format!

October 12, 2011

The e-Portfolio is ready for your use! A new menu item on the main page’s left-hand side will guide you to the necessary information. CLA recently tested the e-Portfolio template and instructions across the institution; here are some of the positive comments that we received:

  • “I like the e-portfolio, it was very easy.”
  • “Creating my portfolio took me only about 20 minutes. I had no trouble at all!”
  • “Viewing the mock portfolio was really helpful!”
  • “The e-portfolio is organized and offers a quick way to submit a portfolio for PLAR!”
  • “There are so many benefits to submitting a portfolio using the e-portfolio site—it's convenient, allows you to make additions or deletions easily, and it saves time and money on printing, binders, mailing, etc.!”

Discuss the e-Portfolio’s potential with Patricia Imbeau or with your mentor.

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e-Portfolio is [almost] here!

September 15, 2011

CLA is happy to announce that our e-portfolio platform for PLAR use is currently in pilot stage and should be ready for student use by the end of September. The e-portfolio template, using AU's eLab Mahara platform, will allow you to upload your documents and files to a secure site and eventually pass the completed site over to CLA for assessment. All tools and processes currently used in portfolio preparation will continue to be used. Traditional paper-based portfolios will still be accepted.

Watch this space for more developments and e-portfolio news!

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9th International ePortfolio Conference (ePIC)

July 21, 2011

Approximately 130 delegates from 22 countries attended the 9th International ePortfolio Conference held July 11-13 in London, England. ePortfolio pioneer Dr. Helen Barrett was joined by dozens of paper presenters and several panels including a student panel. The only 2 Albertans among the 5 Canadian delegates, Drs. Dianne Conrad and Evelyn Ellerman (Communication Studies and AU's eLab), presented a paper on eportfolio developments at Athabasca. The theme of the conference, ePortfolio and identity development, will be continued in next year's conference, planned for London, July 9 to 11, 2012.

For more information, visit epforum.

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Glasgow Symposium Introduces New PLAR Publication

June 29, 2011

Researching the Recognition of Prior Learning: International Perspectives

A new text featuring international perspectives on PLAR/RPL was formally launched on June 23 in Glasgow, Scotland, at the CRLL-sponsored symposium "Learning through experience: developing international and regional research agendas for Recognition of Prior Learning." Edited by Judy Harris, Mignonne Breier, and Christine Wihak, the book features contributions from an international community of PLAR/RPL scholars. Dr. Dianne Conrad, CLA director, represented Athabasca University at the symposium which brought almost 100 PLAR/RPL practitioners and researchers from around the world together to share insights and developments in the field.

Book: Harris, J., Breier, J., Wihak, C., (2011). (Eds). Researching the Recognition of Prior Learning: International Perspectives. Leicester, UK: NIACE.

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PLAR Expertise Included in SSHRC Insight Grant

June 15, 2011

Dr. Rory McGreal, Associate Vice-president Research and the UNESCO Chair in Open Education Resources (OER), Dr. Dianne Conrad, CLA Director, and Dr. Wayne Mackintosh, Director, International Centre for Open Education, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand, have been awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The project, "Assessment and Accreditation: An international case study on acceptance of digital resources," will examine existing and nascent international protocols and practices leading to formal academic credit for non-traditional learners.

The research project will explore how the community service mission of the University, drawing on the strengths and existing policy protocols and practices for prior learning and assessment, could extend pathways to formal academic credit. $22,000 has been received for this one-year project.

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How to Format your Learning Summary (video)

May 18, 2011

CLA is pleased to announce that the video "How to Format your Learning Summary" is now available on the website. This video is designed to help PLAR learns construct the learning statements summary document for their program-based portfolios. CLA staff would like to thank Blaise MacMullin, Multimedia Producer/Photographer, who brought his skills to the production of this video. We would also like to thank Jennifer Luckay who demonstrated her PLAR studentship to help us out. Thank you both!

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Workshop on Athabasca's PLAR System

April 21, 2011

Dr. Dianne Conrad visited Nipissing University on April 12 for a workshop and lunch during which she presented to a group of interested faculty and administrators the essence of Athabasca's PLAR system. Interest in recognizing learners' prior and experiential knowledge was expressed by several different academic programs and those responsible for indigenous learning at NU. As is always the case with PLAR, the lively discussion turned to the nature of learning and to post-secondary systems of learning, and to the creation and integration of a rigorous PLAR system into university administrative and academic processes. Download the Workshop on Athabasca's PLAR System.

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Congratulations to 2011 PLAR Scholarship Recipient!

April 7, 2011

The Centre for Learning Accreditation, together with AU Student Awards, is pleased to announce that the 2011 PLAR scholarship has been awarded to Karen, a Bachelor of Professional Arts student. Congratulations, Karen! In her essay describing how the PLAR process has contributed to her success as an AU learner, Karen wrote the following:

“I decided to go through PLAR assessment to see if my past work could benefit my continuing education. Initially, I found it incredibly difficult, not because of the criteria so much as I had to review my abilities and accept my strengths and weaknesses as they presented themselves and acknowledge that identity and abilities were not solely who I was as a support worker, a supervisor, and a contributing member of society. ...The PLAR process assisted in giving back my confidence and self-acceptance by ...teaching me that I am a woman who is able to continue learning and growing despite setbacks. Regardless of the credits granted through the process, it would be a valuable learning experience for me that would propel me through completing my degree and ultimately allow me to wee beyond my immediate future... to become a teacher myself. I guess, ultimately, the PLAR process provided me the opportunity for reflection, recognition and growth both personally and academically to complete my degree and achieve beyond my initial goals.”

The PLAR scholarship for $1000 is awarded annually to an AU program student who has an undergraduate GPA of 3.60 or higher, has not previously received the award, and is within 30 credits of completing his or her undergraduate degree program. Deadline for application is February 15.

Two PLAR bursaries ($500 each) are also available.  Deadline for application is February 15.

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Note February 15 deadlines for PLAR financial awards!

January 21, 2011

PLAR has available two bursaries ($500 each) and one scholarship ($1000). Both deadlines are approaching on February 15, 2011.  Visit the awards page to learn about these awards. Bursaries are based on financial need and provide assistance to eligible learners to fund the PLAR process. The scholarship is available to learners who have completed the PLAR process as a part of their AU degree. Direct your award enquiries to AU's Student Awards Office.

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Updated January 30 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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