I've gotten so much from these forums that I thought I should share some of my own tips. I've done several PLAs through TESU and have developed a strategy that others might find helpful. I haven't seen these ideas elsewhere, and they are in no particular order.
1. I usually purchase an older edition textbook to help me organize my thinking. I skim it, reading mostly the summaries of each chapter and refreshing myself on relevant vocab. This has another benefit: I then include this book in the bibliography.
2. Below is a checklist I created in Word. I print the checklist, crop it down so that it fits on the outside of a file folder, then tape it to the front/outside of the folder. Then I fill it out as I go. This allows me to quickly see at a glance where I am in the process. Since I have had more than one PLA going at a time, this checklist has helped me a lot. I hope it can help somebody else.
Portfolio checklist modified.docx
3. Regarding the narrative. As most already know, TESU is looking for about five pages per credit. This means 15 pages. But I prefer to think of it in terms of word count, since the page count can vary depending on font sizes and margins. My goal is to have a bare minimum of 3,750 words.
I begin with the CD (course description) from the PLA Database. Some courses have LCs (Learning Outcomes) with a list of bullet points. I use these bullet points as the "skeleton" for the narrative, and also as a way to estimate how many words each bullet point should take. An LC with six bullet points means that each bullet point should be about 625 words on average. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule but it helps me organize my thinking. Here is the CD for Accounting Systems & Concepts so you can see what I mean about the bullet points:
ACC-340 Course Descript 20160229.JPG
That's all I can think of that I haven't seen elsewhere.
Do you have any portfolio tips?