Digital technology helps students make lifelong connections
They can be used for obtaining careers and internships, assessing courses and programs, showing personal achievement and reflection, learning, teaching and more, allowing you to create and control your unique professional online identity. With ePortfolios you can document and organize your projects, work experience, achievements, service and involvement — for life.
During the past decade, ePortfolios have emerged as a promising influence and direction for education. Educators refer to ePortfolios as part of a shift in the paradigm of teaching and learning — a change from an instructional, faculty-centered learning process to a more student-centered one.
If you haven’t created your own ePortfolio yet (or you don’t know exactly what an ePortfolio is), stop by The Faculty Center in the Melville Library and see firsthand how Stony Brook University is being globally recognized for its student-driven ePortfolio program. With the support of a grant obtained by Patricia Aceves, director of The Faculty Center, secured from the nationally recognized organization Making Connections, Stony Brook piloted ePortfolio use in Fall 2010 with six faculty and 250 students in five courses and four programs.
“ePortfolios are a multidisciplinary tool used at Stony Brook to facilitate learning, teaching, documenting learning, career development and lifelong learning,” said Aceves. "When used along with co-curricular programs and activities, the ePortfolio becomes the student’s representation of their culminating experiences and achievements that are worthy of review by professors, employers and graduate schools.”
The ePortfolio program has flourished at Stony Brook during the past two years as Charles Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, supported ePortfolio use for integrative learning and career development. Today ePortfolio users at Stony Brook are creating different types of ePortfolios, such as Learning, Assessment, Showcase, Course, Career/Internship and Teaching. The program now includes 210 faculty and more than 8,500 students in 300 courses and 20 programs, with the total number of ePortfolios in the University’s system at more than 13,500 — and growing.
Leading Stony Brook’s ePortfolio program is Nancy Wozniak, learning architect and ePortfolio program manager, who works in The Faculty Center. Wozniak manages a team of student ePortfolio and media consultants who work in the ePortfolio lab in Room 121 of the Physics Building, which is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm for walk-in help, or you can set up an appointment for personal consultation and join workshops.
“What the world is noticing about Stony Brook is that there is a student-driven learning community going on here,” said Wozniak. “The students have created an ePortfolio community, and it’s professional. This is not Facebook. The students recognize each other’s ePortfolios and leave comments. They are taking ownership of their learning as they scaffold a showcase of their knowledge and professional skills.”
Students are responsible for the implementation and success of Stony Brook’s ePortfolio program. In addition to working in the lab, the ePortfolio and media consultants and ePortfolio Advisory Board students go into classrooms that are using ePortfolios to help other students get started and talk about the inquiry process used in the design of ePortfolios. Wozniak said that this takes the burden off faculty.
Student-produced video on ePortfolios at Stony Brook
Former ePortfolio and media consultants Eda Gimenez and Ansue Jacob represented Stony Brook and presented at the plenary session at EPIC 2011, an international conference on ePortfolios and social awareness, in London. The ePortfolio and media consultants have developed a webinar series, “ePortfolios from a Student’s Point of View,” for EPAC (Electronic Portfolio Action and Communication), the leading resource on ePortfolios since 2002, and AAEEBL (Association for Authentic Experiential Evidence-Based Learning), formed in 2009 as a nonprofit, professional organization for the world ePortfolio community. Wozniak’s students have made remote and in-person presentations at AAEEBL and SUNY CIT conferences, where Stony Brook is recognized as a leading institution that is ahead of the curve in its student-driven ePortfolios.
Stony Brook has become a model for ePortfolios within SUNY as well. SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher has commissioned a task group, which Wozniak co-chairs, for the implementation of ePortfolios in SUNY. The group’s recommendation report will be presented at the 2013 SUNY CIT and the committee will continue its research and implementation support throughout the coming academic year. The Stony Brook model for ePortfolios will be promoted through SUNY faculty development workshops beginning in Fall 2013.
“Jeffrey Yan, founder and CEO of Digication, SBU’s ePortfolio provider, travels around the world to present his software,” said Wozniak. “In his presentations, he uses a video with interviews from Stony Brook students and tells others to use the Stony Brook model. The students are the reason we are being recognized.”
Students recently displayed their ePortfolios on campus at the University’s fourth annual Spotlight on ePortfolios Student Showcase on April 12 at the Center for Learning and Service. The Showcase featured the best of Stony Brook’s self-directed, integrative and career ePortfolios for 2012–13. Students in the Showcase demonstrated how ePortfolios promote self-determined learning connections and an appreciation for lifelong learning in the areas of business, engineering sciences, leadership, professional and career, academic-professional, technological systems management, the undergraduate experience, writing and rhetoric, and more.
Student consultant Emily Madsen, a junior marine sciences major, developed an ePortfolio that has been shown around the world as a model. “ePortfolio is an incredibly useful organization tool,” she said. “I found that looking over the work and reflections in my ePortfolio not only helped me remember what I enjoyed about a class, but also how the concepts were divided up — which then helped me formulate a study schedule for my final exams.”
Dillon Winegar recently obtained a marketing internship because of his ePortfolio. “The employer was impressed that I had an online professional presence,” he said. “The other finalist had more job experience, but I was told my ePortfolio demonstrated my creative abilities and entrepreneurial drive. I was chosen because of my ePortfolio.”
“ePortfolios give you an edge with internship and job interviews because they allow you to collect all of the ‘soft skills’ that employers are looking for such as teamwork and communication,” said Wozniak. “And even if employers don’t look at them, the ePortfolio prepares you for the interview.”
Employers are recognizing and reviewing applicants’ ePortfolios as part of the interview process, according to a recent survey from AACU that states: “In addition to a résumé or college transcript, more than 4 in 5 employers say an electronic portfolio would be useful to them in ensuring that job applicants have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their company or organization.”
The Digication software allows you to privatize certain sections while leaving others open for public viewing, letting you personalize your online identity. When a prospective employer Googles you, they will see your public ePortfolio.
But ePortfolios are more than tools to help students further their careers; they can be used for assessment purposes as well. Faculty can prove that students have met learning objectives because the outcomes are right there on view in the ePortfolio. Gary Halada, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, uses ePortfolios in the accreditation process with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET requires that programs show how students achieve learning outcomes, including some that are very hard to access — for example, recognizing the need for engaging in lifelong learning, as well as an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
It is also easy to track students’ coursework since ePortfolios show who is progressing, making them ideal during freshman year with retention rates. And after students graduate, Digication allows them to continue their ePortfolios at no charge, so it not only keeps alumni connected to the University, it helps track them in their post-college endeavors.
While most students begin their ePortfolios as a requirement in a freshman course, they continue them by choice during the remainder of their time at Stony Brook and beyond.
For more information about using ePortfolios in your course and program or to start your own, contact The Faculty Center at (631) 632-2780/81 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lynne Roth
Happenings - The Online Newsletter for Stony Brook
It's Not Oprah, but a TV Show Works for Professors at Stony Brook
The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 6, 2010
The person who books the guests is Mr. Glynn's colleague Nancy Wozniak, whose job title is "learning architect."
"Our dream with Innovations in Education is to get dialogue going across the disciplines," she says. "We want to see faculty members getting out of their silos, getting out of their departments, to talk about quality and teaching."
See article - IIE_ChronicleArticle.pdf
The Faculty Center Staff
Happenings - The Online Newsletter for Stony Brook
January 5, 2010
Members of the College of Business, Writing and Rhetoric, and Materials Science and Engineering are partnering with staff members from The Faculty Center in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Technology (TLT) to participate in a year-long seminar program that seeks to advance the use of e-portfolios as a way to enhance student learning, and to assist in the transfer, accreditation, and assessment processes within institutions of higher education. More