Two General Categories of Documentation: Direct and Indirect
To help you think of your documentation, a list of suggested forms is included. This list is not complete nor are you limited to these alone. Appropriate documentation may be used in more than one portfolio.
• Letters from Employers (See Letters of Verification for Documentation.)
• Licenses and Certificates (See Description of Licenses and Certificates.)
• Newspaper Clippings
• Audiotapes and Videotapes
• Products of Your Work
• Job Descriptions and/or classifications.
• Official forms or records such as records of promotions or performance evaluations.
Direct evidence is documentation of your actual learning in a particular subject area. Examples are:
• samples of your work (poems, plays, artwork, reports of projects, tapes of music you performed)
• official verifications that show your mastery of the subject, licenses and certificates
• descriptions of the process of your learning (course outlines and evaluations for noncredit/training courses, notes you took in a class or training program)
Indirect evidence verifies and confirms your accomplishments. Examples are:
• letters written in your behalf
• newspaper articles
The following example shoes how both direct and indirect documentation are used as evidence of learning.
Jack is seeking credit for college-level skills as a sculptor. In his portfolio, he provides a number of pictures of a sculpture he sculpted and donated in memory of his late wife to her college’s sculpture garden. The sculpture looks beautiful in the picture, but there is no identification of the sculpture. Therefore, the direct evidence, though interesting, does not verify that Jack is the sculptor and has college-level learning. However, in the narrative section of his portfolio, Jack describes how he traveled to Italy, the process he went through in choosing the particular piece of marble, the problems incurred, and how he solved them. In addition, Jack provides sketches of the proposed sculpture along with additional narrative that describes the thought processes of how he decided what the finished sculpture should look like as well as the techniques he used for carving the marble. Newspaper articles, a letter from the college president, and a critique by a well-known professional sculptor are additional pieces of indirect evidence that verify not only that Jack was the sculptor, but also the level of his knowledge of the art form.
Letters of Verification for Documentation
Letters can be used to corroborate any type of activity and are usually one of the more common forms of documentation. Since letters occupy an important role in the documentation process, use the guidelines listed below. You may wish to copy this information and present it to the person you request to write a letter of verification for you to include in your portfolio. It is the responsibility of the student to make clear to the author that the letter is to be one of verification and not one of recommendation.
Be sure the person knows or has had the opportunity to observe the works and learning for which you are seeking academic credit.
• The author must indicate knowledge of the student and the learning for which the student wishes to receive prior learning credit.
• The letter should be written on the official letterhead of the company or organization with which the author is or was associated, if available.
• The content of the letter should focus on the duties, responsibilities, tasks, and/or activities which were a part of the learning experience that is under consideration. The letter should say who, what, when why, where, and for how long.
• The author of the letter should state clearly the nature of the relationship between author and student. Family members, friends, and ministers are not good sources as they may be biased and may not have firsthand knowledge of the learning.
Letter of Verification Example
January 2, 2019
To Whom It May Concern:
I have been (student’s name) immediate supervisor in the Information Systems department for more than two years. His position involves, among other things, system administration and programming of a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11l/73 computer running the RSX-11M-PLUS operating system as well as setup and support of numerous MS-DOS-based computers.
I believe that he has a knowledge of the fundamentals of operating systems as well as an understanding of the specifics of the above-mentioned systems which is equal to or greater than that of a college student in an operating systems course.
Information Systems Coordinator