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Writing from Life

Winter 2023
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
4 Credits per quarter
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Be sure to sign up when you register under the appropriate Course Number, or CRN, for either the Prior Learning from Experience or Creative and Effective Writing Track.

Writing from Life, Track/Section One: Prior Learning from Experience (Use CRN 20180)

At Evergreen we recognize that adults bring to college vital learning that has taken place outside of the classroom. In the Prior Learning From Experience Document Writing Programstudents earn college academic credit for what they have already learned in the workplace or community-based work, gaining a kickstart toward completion of an accelerated college degree.

In the Prior Learning from Experience section of “Writing From Life” students learn to research and write essays that document the college equivalency of their own professional and other learning. In other words, how has what you have done in the workplace or community given you the same knowledge that others gained through college classes?

Writing from Life, Track/Section Two: Creative and Effective Writing (Use CRN 20329)

This second track of students will build their skills in Creative and Effective Writing. They will concentrate on such things as autobiography, essays, creative writing, poetry, or other forms of writing.

Students in the Creative and Effective Writing Section must have some college-level writing experience and be capable of working on a highly independent basis, as well as in small collaborative groupsThese students will choose their own topics and writing genres, such as essays, academic writing, fiction, poetry, etc. and will draft and substantially revise two roughly six-page writing projects.

Work Both Groups Will do Together

Together, we will read one short novel, a short and fun book on writing and grammar, and a collection of essays. These will give us common readings so that we can gain skills to “read like writers” and together consider what makes effective writing.

We will have rich discussions, or seminars, on our readings. We will engage in short in-class writing exercises using writing prompts. In our final class, each student will have the opportunity to give a short reading from their work for the quarter.

The work we do together is designed to benefit all.

By week four or five, we will spend half our class time in separate groups. One will be the Prior Learning from Experience group, and the other will be the Creative and Effective Writers. 

The Work We Will do Separately: Prior Learning from Experience

The Prior Learning from Experience section of the program will begin the “how to” learning of building a portfolio of essays that reflect what the student has accomplished in a college equivalent manner through professional or community work. Our work products this quarter will include a very rough autobiography and resume, which are just “scratch” working documents that we can draw from later. Each student will also begin one of the “learning essays” that will make up the eventual PLE (Prior Learning) Portfolio.

To paraphrase the author E.L. Doctorow, you can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. You will spend three to four academic quarters, including this one, researching and writing a portfolio of your selected professional and community endeavors. Your research and writing will be closely supported by the faculty, a faculty librarian, and the learning community as a whole. 

Creative and Effective Writers

In addition to in-class writings, this group will complete and share three short, experiential pieces of writing, such as noting sensory details on a walk. Each student will complete two roughly six-page writing projects, each shared with one another as drafts, and then turned in for faculty feedback.  We will learn and practice methods of giving and receiving critique on writing. If you don’t yet know what you would like to write, begin thinking about this. The Writing Center, your critique group, and the faculty will all be available to meet with you from brainstorming to the first revised draft. In addition to your class time, expect your reading and writing to take another six hours of work each week.

We will have a drop-in Academic Fair, on Zoom, on Wednesday, November 30, from 4 to 6pm: Find out more information at

Prior to or after the Academic Fair, please feel welcome to contact the faculty, Nancy Parkes, at


Winter 2023 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr - Sr (4): 20180
Fr - Sr (4): 20329

Academic details

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Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting