In its second year as a post-graduate opportunity at Agnes Scott College, the Digital Design Fellowship plays an increasingly necessary role as an on-campus digital media resource. While the primary goal of the Fellowship is to promote the development of e-Portfolios to students, increased visibility of the Fellow as a meaningful campus resource is reflective of its additional impact on faculty and the academic community at Agnes Scott. As a resource for deeper learning applied through digital communication, the Fellowship has had, and is still capable of, significant positive effects on the learning community at the College.
As the Fellowship has become a more visible, and thus reliable, resource within the community, more faculty have begun to implement blogging into their coursework –whether they use a class blog as a web-based platform for hosting students’ reflective responses, or to supplement in-class discussion with externally accessible material. The role of the Fellow as “digital media liaison” for a few of these courses has both implicitly and explicitly encouraged students to seek one-on-one tutoring for digital writing – in essence, allowing students to develop an additional style of writing. As the majority of students are only exposed to formal academic writing, creating consistent (yet varied) content for a possibly anonymous online audience presents a challenge that faculty may not have the time or resources to devote to curating.
As the full-time Fellow, I am able not only to address that challenge, but generate student interest in creating individual sites (or e-Portfolios) outside of those classes that can showcase individual intellectual growth and development.
One of the main focuses of the Fellowship this year has been to encourage classroom e-Portfolio implementation in order to enhance the academic experience, a cross-disciplinary goal that could not be met without successful collaboration with faculty. My experience working with several distinctly different academic departments has resulted in each of those requiring its Senior Seminar/Capstone Course students to develop individual e-Portfolios.
Student e-Portfolios showcase the liberal arts education “at work.”
An Agnes Scott student’s e-Portfolio can operate as an effective tool for intellectual development across disciplines – in short, living proof of a multifaceted, dynamic “digital artifact of the self,” as well as a potentially useful tool for future recruitment. If prospective students are able to access students’ research or process logs (as in the case with Senior Seminar e-Portfolios), they may be able to identify with the College’s academic possibilities on a more personal level.
Continued engagement with the campus community through relevant events and conferences is integral to the visibility of the Digital Design Fellow. I work closely with the Common Reading Committee to maintain its official blog, which allows first years to engage with their assigned material along with their future classmates prior to Orientation. That blog has been presented as an “Uncommon Idea for Common Reading Programs” at the Annual Conference on the First Year Experience in winter 2011. Given each Committee member’s administrative duties outside of the Common Reading Program during the academic year, the Digital Design Fellow is the most relevant and available moderator for the site.
The Digital Design Fellowship plays an integral role in on-campus educational technology. As a full-time employee, I work not only to update the Fellowship’s site for updated e-Portfolio resources (this one!), but act as a tutor to both faculty and students in the realm of digital media. More campuses across the country are recognizing the essential role that online identities play for their students; Agnes Scott is a trailblazer of academic institutions looking to enhance student intellectual engagement in venues outside the classroom. In addition, as Agnes Scott faculty are able to access more relevant technology options (thereby allowing them to better organize and backup not only student work, but their own research), the Digital Design Fellow is essential as an educational technology resource.
– Emily Grim, ’10