The Plan: Enhancing with E-Ports

As instructors of students seeking a two-year associate’s degree, we are constantly faced with the struggle between “real-world”, “hands-on” learning versus book, lecture, and “old-school” learning.  Coming from a “technical school”, our students expect more technology than what they have been given in the past.

…enhance their learning experiences, improve their learning environments, and take control over their own education.

We need to accept the new changes that are needed for our students of the next generation, and switch from the attitude of feeling like adopting new technology processes and implementing new teaching techniques and digital tools would be considered “giving into” this new generation, and realize that we are helping our students enhance their learning experiences, improve their learning environments, and take control over their own education.  This begins when we start catering to our consumers, and quit resisting the change.  While I somewhat see their frustration and struggle, I also realize that our future adults, our future jobs, and our future country depends on how we teach the students of today!

This is my chance to launch an extremely beneficial tool that will help our students for years to come.

As most of you know, I normally teach exit-level classes.  Most of my students are either graduating upon completion of my classes, or graduating the following semester.  When I found out I will be teaching an entry-level (high-school, dual-credit, to be exact) class this fall, I immediately wanted to try something new with them!  This is my chance to launch an extremely beneficial tool that will help our students for years to come.   My entry-level students (and any others that I will have in my later classes) will develop an ePortfolio.  Teaching at a technical school, I have had several employers contact me looking for future employees.  When I send students their way they turn them down as “not-qualified”.  They are students.  They do not have work experience.  If you are looking for someone “green” to train, they will not have field experience.  These are all things our students have vented to me about after being turned down for potential job opportunities.  When it is all said and done, employers who are looking to hire students straight out of school, do not want to know what classes our students have completed, but what information and skills they have learned instead! What better way can our students showcase their acquired knowledge, other than compiling everything in one area as they progress through their educational program on some form of ePortfolio platform?

…employers who are looking to hire students straight out of school, do not want to know what classes our students have completed, but what information and skills they have learned instead!

Starting in Fall 2016, each and every one of my students will build an ePortfolio. They will submit lab summaries, assignments, photographs, videos, projects, and other class assignments through their digital portal.  This ePortfolio will later serve as a digital resume when a future employer asks what they have learned, and what school assignments could be considered as “work-experience” for their possible jobs openings.

This fall, I will be teaching our co-op class.  As you know, in the past, other instructors have made the students submit a “Co-op Notebook”.  I plan to have my students create a blog page with weekly updates, schedules, and reports on their page, rather than having to call in or schedule office visits for updates and as a replacement for the paper copy of their notebook to turn in at the end of the semester!

       I would love to have all of you supporting this implementation, and hopefully I can help you all start to launch this eportfolio platform in your classes as well.

I am currently working on a literature review to provide you all with supporting evidence that my plan will be successful.  I will be following up with this document as well as more details, including an implementation outline in the near future.  If done properly, when our students reach their last semester, they will only be adding to, updating, and adjusting their ePortfolios, not trying to build them!

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