Module One is all about you situating yourself within the framework of your own learning through reflection on your prior learning experiences. We ask you to demonstrate this journey of self-reflection and understanding of where you are within your own professional practice by compiling a Portfolio.
Your portfolio is like a scrap book of you through your professional practice.
- your annotated CV
- your (main) Job Description
- your AOLs including illustrations/evidence as appendices (80 credits)
- your Review of Learning reflective essay (10 credits)
The Areas of Learning (AOLs) represent the areas of your professional experiences that have relevance to your current professional practice. The AOLs offer you a way of demonstrating, through writing within an academic context, the learning that you have undertaken through prior professional experiences. You present these AOLs (with illustration/evidence) to the university as part of your portfolio in order to demonstrate the level of prior professional experiences you have had as being equivalent to MA level (level 7). It is through the AOLs that you are claiming academic credit via your prior professional practice for the first 80 credits of your MA.
We recognise, and enjoy that you have all had different prior experiences and therefore your portfolios will be as diverse in their content and presentation. Imagine you are all set the task to bake a cake, you are all given a round tin to bake it in (a frame) but are relying on whatever's in your own cupboards for the ingredients. You will all bake a cake, but everyone's ingredients will be different, so no two cakes will taste the same.
If you have prior learning experiences already accredited (by another awarding body/organisation) at level 7 (ie: MA credit from another institution, PGCE qualification) you can use this to make a claim directly for that specified level of credit. As this is credit which has already been assessed and 'passed' to be at level 7 your claiming of it need not be as lengthy as an AOL for prior experience that has not been accredited previously. It is more of a supportive claim statement which should detail the key learning experiences of this accredited learning as relevant to your current professional practice (approx 1,000 words) and should be accompanied by the relevant certification for this accreditation (certificate and transcript).
If you have prior learning experiences which have already been accredited/approved by Middlesex University but do not stand directly within a formally recognised level 7 qualification (i.e: Fellowship status through the ISTD, QTS through Schools Direct route rather than PGCE) you can use these to make a claim for that agreed credit through making them the title of one AOL. This AOL has direct reference to the learning of this prior experience and you use the AOL essay to demonstrate this learning within an academic context, and support with relevant certification/award.
Prior learning which you have identified through your professional experiences but which has not previously been accredited by another institution/organisation you use as the basis of your AOLs (titled as relevant to each area) in order to claim the relevant academic credit that you (and your advisor) feel the experience is equivalent to in academic terms. You look to identify through these essays/claims/AOLs the prior learning that has been key to your professional practice.
So, you will have different numbers of AOLs at different credit levels depending on your different prior experiences and that's great!
Hopefully that's a little clearer all round? Do use your Module Handbook (Review of Learning) to support you in the process too, it does outline the process of claiming through AOLs.
Speak at our next group Skype call on Dec 7th (11am or 5.30pm UK time) if not before!