Empowering Students Through ePortfolios M iddlesex students are “trending” with technology, and showcasing their academic and professional skills online via websites called ePortfolios. An ePortfolio is more than an electronic collection of student work – it is a dynamic website students build in class to display their skills, abilities and best products. As another component to foster student success, MCC’s ePortfolio project was introduced into a select number of programs of study in the fall of 2012. Currently, there are only about 150 students using ePortfolios, but the project is gaining popularity among faculty and students. “Teaching and learning are moving more toward students actually demonstrating how they apply the knowledge they learn in class,” said Elise Martin, MCC Dean of Assessment, who played a pivotal role in bringing ePortfolios to Middlesex. “ePortfolios have quickly become a tool students use to actively develop and showcase a set of highly transferrable skills that enable them to succeed academically and professionally.” To build their ePortfolios, students use WordPress, popular web software used to design blogs and websites. They carefully choose what to include and how to display it on their unique websites. ePortfolios have included such items as samples of completed class assignments, videos, presentations, artwork or blogs. This web-development knowledge is among the first transferrable skills students learn in this process, Martin explained. “At the end of the course, students will have the skills necessary to build a basic website. With 21 percent of all new websites being built in WordPress, having this skill really gives our students an added advantage,” she said. The ePortfolio project provides a much-needed academic and professional web presence to balance students’ social media persona, and empowers them to share their work with others. “At this stage, the project is not mandatory,” said Martin. “But the overall goal is for all students to create ePortfolios in their Freshmen Seminar courses, and then use and modify it as necessary as they progress through their programs of study and beyond.” Application of the ePortfolio project outside of the classroom is impressive, Martin added. Students can post a dynamic resumé with active links to items on their website, including video clips of how they handle themselves during 4 Dean of Assessment Elise Martin sees ePortfolios as a way for Middlesex students to showcase their abilities and skills. presentations. Potential employers can see authentic examples of students’ application of skills developed in college. “ePortfolios provide tangible evidence of student knowledge,” Martin said. Although MCC’s ePortfolio project is not yet used in all programs of study, many students are already recognizing its value. “When we initially started doing the ePortfolio project, I was really skeptical,” said MCC student Craig M. Slusser. “Now that I see the finished product, it is something that I am not only glad I actively participated in, but am proud to call my own.” Check out the MCC ePortfolio Showcase on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/middlesexcc/ • Tura Linderholm i For more information about MCC’s ePortfolio project, contact Dean of Assessment Elise Martin, at martine@middlesex.mass.edu. Profiles [9]