I didn’t realize I’m a planner, but when Emily suggested I start brainstorming a 2-3 year plan for the e-portfolio program, I was so excited that I realized I might be.
My thoughts about the future of the e-portfolio program have been congealing over the past several months. To anyone reading this: I welcome your ideas!
Even though my experience in this position is limited, I’m beginning to think that requiring students to make e-portfolios may not be the best route. I know that Agnes students are self-motivated and resourceful, and most care a lot about their future life paths. I know this is true from both being a student here myself, and from working in the Center for Writing and Speaking.
If you don’t already know how amazing the CWS is, let me tell you. The national average for students who come for tutoring at a university writing center out of the student body is 10-12%. Guess what our number is?
Triple that, or 30%? No. 40%? No. 50%? Nope! Over 60% of the student body came in for tutoring at least once last year. Amazing.
While professors do sometimes require their students to come to the Center, the majority of students make appointments to talk about and improve their papers and presentations. I guess grades do play some part in their motivation… OK, a large part, usually… but they still come out of a genuine desire to learn.
I’ve already seen that desire to learn in the students who have jumped on making their e-portfolios. I’m especially impressed with two first-years, Julia Burdine and Gabby Nockelin. They are blogging and reflecting and making connections all over the place.
Based on the past three months, I’m wondering, what if we make an e-portfolio center that is structured somewhat like the Center for Writing and Speaking? With tutors and a coordinator/director? Or, what if an e-portfolio center were the third component of this same center? Speaking, writing and e-portfolio-making all connect to critical thinking and communication, after all. An e-portfolio is yet another way to “find your voice” here at Agnes Scott.
The WC director here suggested I check out Spelman College’s Writing Center because they put a large emphasis on e-portfolios. Do you know of other e-portfolio centers?
Another thought that the e-portfolio group at Agnes proposed is having a four-year class kind of like ASC 101, but titled something like “ASC experience.” The class would not be graded, but would be 1 credit per semester and a requirement for graduation. It would be a time and place for students to work on their e-portfolios within the context of other activities, like the sophomores’ academic statement of purpose, internships, study abroad, volunteer work, etc. It would also be a place for exploring a range of technologies, including blogs, wikis, podcasts, and social networking media.
It seems like the required class path would allow for more time and resources to be devoted to making e-portfolios, and it would be much more likely that every student would make one. However, I wonder if this direction would also reduce students’ motivation to do it. My sense is that once something’s required, it loses some of the fun.
I bet we can also brainstorm combinations of the above solutions, too.
Students, alums, faculty, staff, do you have thoughts about what you’d like to see in an e-portfolio program at Agnes Scott?