Metropolitan State encourages students to learn in a variety of ways and to seek alternatives to traditional classroom learning and evaluation to meet their learning needs and goals, including the following options.

Internships: Students can develop innovative and flexible academic internships to fulfill their personal or professional goals. Internships offer students the chance to earn credit through hands-on learning at a variety of sites in- and out-of-state. Students complete and submit an academic internship agreement form that is approved by a faculty liaison and processed by the academic internship coordinator in order to be registered. Visit the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship section of the site for more information or assistance.

Student-directed Learning: Students learn in many ways and in a variety of settings outside the traditional classroom. The university recognizes and encourages such lifelong learning pursuits. Student-directed learning can become incorporated into your program through prior learning, theory seminars and/or student-designed independent study.

Prior Learning: The Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process is used to evaluate what students have learned in their lives, work and through independent study, typically outside the classroom, as legitimate learning for university credit. The process includes clearly defining what has been learned and having that learning evaluated by a trained faculty evaluator. The student prepares a proposal to have the learning outcomes and competence assessed, obtains faculty approval for registration, and then provides evidence of learning through evaluation methods appropriate for the subject and competence.

Theory Seminars: Theory seminars are designed specifically for students with extensive experience and practical knowledge in a subject, who want to ground their learning with additional academic context and the theory and principles of the subject. Seminars are also appropriate for students who have strong practical knowledge but not enough theoretical learning to consider a PLA. Seminars require a diagnostic "placement" assessment to help the student self-assess whether the seminar is the appropriate format, and may also require instructor approval to register. Seminars may be an alternative to a regular course or may cover specialized subjects or survey themes. Seminars, listed in the Class Schedule, are typically scheduled to meet two to four times, with independent work between seminar sessions.

Student-designed Independent Study (SDIS): Independent study allows students an opportunity to build learning skills indispensable to the workplace and to personal, lifelong development. SDIS allows students to pursue an interest or project with the help of a faculty member who serves as a guide and evaluates the learning for credit. The SDIS project can involve a variety of learning methods, such as community- or professionally-based training, experiential learning and/or independent research. The student develops an independent study proposal, seeks approval to work with a faculty member, completes the study plan and provides evidence of learning outcomes and competence to the faculty evaluator.

For more information, see the Creative Learning Strategies section of the Web site and consider the one-credit course METR100: Getting Credit for What You Know. Registration proposal forms may be found.