I signed up for the ePortfolio pilot in order to try it out in our Online Resources for Career Exploration class (Arts and Sciences 122). This class, designed and taught by University Libraries, is a 4-week, completely online course. Our focus is on introducing the research tools that can help individuals find out more about a career’s educational requirements, opportunities, trends and paths. After completing a self assessment that steers them towards possible careers of interest, students pick one career to explore through a variety of resources.
The plan for use of the ePortolio is to have students use it to prepare their “presentation” of materials in their final, capstone assignment. My original intention was to have half of my class use the ePortfolio as the presentation tool and the other half continue the current practice of creating a presentation in either Word or Powerpoint.
When we received training in late summer, I quickly realized that the most sensible use of the ePortfolio for this class would require a complete rebuilding of the course. Therefore, I taught my autumn quarter class as I have done in the past while redesigning the assignments for winter quarter.
The reason redesign is worthwhile is that I can create assignments throughout the course that feed directly into the ePortfolio. This will reduce the student’s need to provide the same information in two places. The work they do early in the class will feed into their final project. This frees up time in the final project to build in some peer review work, which I think will add a tremendous learning experience for students. Additionally students will have the foundations of career research sitting in their own personal portfolio for future use.
In order to assess the success of this change, am surveying students at the end of the course on their attitudes toward the assignment, the usefulness of it, and a ranking of how much they learned from it. This quarter, students working with the existing assignment are answering the survey. I’ll use the same survey at the end of the winter quarter class to use as comparison for judging what difference the use of an ePortfolio for this class has made.
Now all I need is time to make all these changes before the beginning of winter quarter!
Karen Diaz is an Associate Professor in the University Libraries, specializing in eLearning. She is the instructor for Arts and Sciences 122 (Online Research Strategies for Career Exploration).