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University initiative offers ePortfolio service

Maria Do | Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Notre Dame ePortfolio Engagement Program (nDEEP), launched its official online site April 9, offering new resources and assistance to students interested in forming virtual portfolios.

Offering new ePortfolio resources and assistance, the Notre Dame ePortfolio Engagement Program (nDEEP) held a Career ePortfolio Student Workshop Wednesday.

A new initiative by the Office of Provost, nDEEP serves students, faculty, advisors, programs and college departments. According to nDEEP’s webpage, the program’s mission provides resources that would help “build a deep and broad portfolio culture and community across the campus.”

nDEEP’s Interim Commissioner Alex Ambrose said the program formed to meet the University’s need for a committee that would provide technical ePortfolio assistance for students and faculty of all programs and majors.

“Because different faculty and departments have their own responsibilities, they are unable to invest enough time to expand on their use of ePortfolios,” Ambrose said. “Successful ePortfolio subscriptions have a support system that will help them with the skills and backing they need to implement ePortfolios into their programs or courses. That’s where nDEEP comes in.

“We’re here to help them. Not only are we creating all these accounts for students and faculty, we’re having a program to help support it,” he said.  

A Career ePortfolio Student Workshop held Wednesday addressed the relevance of ePortfolios for students in all undergraduate programs and colleges. They offered personal assistance for students interested in building or further developing their ePortfolios, Ambrose said.

“The workshop [was] broken into three parts, “Ambrose said. “We [started] off explaining ePortfolio basics – what it is and why students should create it. We [also gave] students information on how their ePortfolio can work hand-in-hand with career services that will allow them to showcase their achievements and skills to prospective employers as students are looking for internships and jobs.”

“Lastly, we [held] a hands-on workshop to show how students can create and customize their ePortfolios to make it stand out,” he said.

As a more recent initiative by the University, ePortfolios were officially offered this year to all first year students, Ambrose said. With a majority of these students creating and modifying their ePortfolios, Ambrose said nDEEP hopes to see widespread use of ePortfolios among all undergraduates.

“The Dean of First Years challenged the incoming freshman for this year to build their ePortfolios,” Ambrose said. “About 80 percent of the students took it on, and to us, that counts as a success because this is a tool that they can use later on in their careers.

“As a researcher in the field of ePortfolios, ePortfolios should be for student engagement. It should engage and benefit the student first. If it helps improve the program or department, that is secondary.”

Along with the First Year Studies, the College of Engineering use ePortfolios to help students further specify their engineering interests as well as showcase coursework and projects, freshman Rachel Wallace said.

“In engineering, we have a specific ePortfolio that we use to put in our assignments and describe our experiences as we go out and explore the various fields within the engineering school at college events and major nights,” Wallace said. “These assignments force me to go out and get informed about what I want to study. Also, putting up engineering projects on this ePortfolio helps me show others what I’ve done so far in terms of engineering experience.”  

Outside of academia, ePortfolios have become a medium for students to document their accomplishments during their undergraduate studies, freshman Ajani Crosley said.

“It’s good because you can have everything out there at once so if people want to see what you’re like for a job interview, your ePortfolio does the talking for you,” Crosley said. “It tells employers and people who are interested in taking you into a position the things that you may not be able to fully say on the spot and gives them a fuller idea and details about who you are.”

Contact Maria Do at mdo1@nd.edu