Learning Portfolios

An undergraduate student’s university experience is the sum of many parts.  Lectures and laboratory courses are an important part of this experience, but not the only part.  Fundamental to the intellectual growth of a student is the time that he or she spends outside of the lecture hall in discussions with peers, TAs, and faculty.

Co-curricular activities are also an integral part of the academic program that are often not fully represented and appreciated byt the student.  This may include volunteerism, summer work experiences, and placement courses.   Rather than this being a line on a CV, I want students to reflect upon the skills and attitudes that have been gained through these experiences.  This can occur through the thoughtful use of learning portfolios in an undergraduate program (outlined in a recent McMaster Task Force: (FWI Task Force – Learning Portfolios)

I am currently working on two initiatives that incorporate learning dossiers into student programs in the form of ePortfolios. These are electronic learning dossiers.

1) I have worked with Dr. Lori Goff from MIIETL (McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning) to introduce Learning Portfolios across the Life Sciences program.  This includes establishing a student portfolio in level 2, building upon in it in level 3, and using the portfolio to reflect upon experience in individual placements and research projects.  The Learning Portfolio provides the opportunity for self-reflection and for mentor feedback in program planning,

Funding for this initiative has been granted and the project began in January 2013.  Funding proposal: FWI Proposal – ePortfolios – Goff & Dej

2)  I am working with Dr. Juliet Daniel to implement ePortfolios into the Biology Placement course (Biology 3EP3, beginning Fall 2013).  The dossiers will facilitate student reflection and faculty evaluation in the placement courses.  Funding for this initiative is pending.  Implementation is not dependent upon funding, but will be facilitated by the provision of resources.  Funding proposal: FWI proposal – Daniel and Dej