I have been working on an innovation plan that will support the implementation of e-portfolios in the instrumentation program at LIT in Beaumont, TX. One of the main drivers that I plan to use as a student benefit will be an increase on career placement after graduation. In order to use this to my advantage I will need to research exactly how, and how much e-portfolios will actually help our students first. My action research question is:
What impact does documenting learning experiences on e-portfolios have on career placement for instrumentation students upon graduation from Lamar Institute of Technology?
The key component of action research is to remain flexible and open to necessary modifications. Feel free to look over my outline if you have not done so already. Because I will be implementing action research during the launch of my innovation plan, all of the information below is tentative and subject to change once the process begins.
Personal, professional reflection will be number one priority and an absolute must for complete success. This professional reflection will give me an opportunity to look at my own process, identify problem areas, find early solutions to potential problems on the rise, and make note of what is working well. Action Research allows the educator to continuously tweak and modify their current plans to help adapt to the environment and overcome obstacles as they arise. As noted in my literature review, not everyone understands what true reflection means, nor do they know how to perform effective personal reflections; therefore, I will provide integrated reflective prompts for each faculty member at the end of each semester in hopes of obtaining extremely personal, honest, beneficial information.
I will be using mixed methods for my research design as I plan to utilize surveys and statistics which will look at quantitative data, and open-ended surveys and questionnaires along with individual feedback interviews with small group sampling as qualitative data.
All surveys will be anonymous to ensure privacy is respected. Questionnaires and feedback interviews will always follow formal guidelines to maintain positive attitudes while obtaining beneficial information.
As of now, LIT runs the numbers each year after graduation and bases the numbers off of the percentage of graduates who are employed. This does not tell us where the student is employed, it just says they are employed. This could be a part-time job, a job at a fast food restaurant, or any other job that has absolutely nothing to do with what they went to school for. My goal is to take this a step further and design a study to allow us to track employment within their field of study. I have not worked all of this out yet, but I have a meeting scheduled with the gentlemen who tracks all of our data after our Christmas break to see if he has any advice or input for me. I feel like this will add an even higher level of quality to my research if I am able to identify the number of students who are putting their degree to work, and not just settling for a part-time job at a department store.
I will be using surveymonkey and GoogleForms for the surveys and questionnaires, and scheduling the feedback interviews at the most convenient location for the interviewee. I plan to track the data in GoogleSheets and create charts, graphs, and scatter plots to easily analyze my information and identify and cross-sections that overlap and relate across various areas.
Using the amazing, cloud-based Google tools will allow me to easily share the data with people at remote locations. It will also allow various individuals to view real-time updates as new data is processed. For the people who are involved within my department, they will also be able to keep up with some of this information by checking our physical scoreboard in our lounge that will be created through the 4DX model.
I will also keep our department blog up-to-date with the latest information to ensure that each faculty member has access to the most recent data available. Lastly, this information will also be discussed in our department meetings as a way to encourage faculty members to continue reading and remaining active in our department blog.
I have provided a tentative timeline for my innovation plan below. My goal is to have all of my ducks in a row before launching this project to eliminate any unnecessary chaos. At the point of implementation, I will be entering the last class of my graduate program, and hope to have everything in place and ready to roll!