17 Feb

Academic ePortfolio? What the heck is that?

What you ask is an academic ePortfolio? It’s the only thing that can bring a graduate student to their knees. That’s right. An ePortfolio is akin to Superman’s kryptonite. But really an ePortfolio shouldn’t be an Achille’s heel. Granted it’s new territory to design, but once the format is setup through a template provided through Google sites, the rest is plotting your way through your academic career.

In short, an academic ePortfolio is a resume. And with any resume, it’s better to showcase the highlights of a career, rather than the low lights. The only difference is that this resume focuses on academic achievement. While there is crossover into career, the main focus is on education.

And in any good feature, don’t forget to answer the 5 W’s and H.

  • Who had the most influence in this degree program? A theorist? An instructor? A textbook? A classmate?
  • What course had the most impact in my degree program? What did I learn? What did I wish I had learned?
  • Where did I struggle the most? Where did I excel the most? Where did I most grow in this program?
  • When did I participate in my education? In my twenties, thirties, forties, fifties? In the lifelong continuum of education, where do I fit?
  • And finally…How. How has this degree program shaped who I am today? How am I different? Am I different?

While my ePortfolio remains a work-in-progress during this last semester of graduate school, it’s actually exciting to map where I was when I began this program and where I am today.

So…if you ever wondered what in the world is an ePortfolio – take a quick look. Under each tab there’s a subpage titled “Goal Evidence.” There you’ll find artifacts and evidence of work completed during this two-year degree. The narrative, explaining how each goal – Educational, Learning & Development, Technological Understanding and Research & Scholarship was met, is in the draft stage.

By reviewing and posting the evidence, I was able to travel back in time to when I started this program and what I hoped I’d learn. Two years later, my sights were set too low. The horizon of what I know today about adult education and the adult learner are vastly different and broader than I ever imagined.

Today, I walk into my classroom with a greater appreciation and understanding of the adult learners. While I have 27 years of bylines and writing experience, along with the professional knowledge on the industry, I am confident in my ability to teach someone to write, find their voice and hone their skills in their craft.

However, I haven’t always been so certain how to bridge the gap between my thirty-something-year-olds and eighty-year-olds. That’s the audience that enroll in my courses offered through the community education department at a Wyoming community college.

Before this degree program at the University of Wyoming, I waffled and taught writers the way I knew how to learn. Today, I teach through their lenses of how they learn – not mine.Their writing is stronger and more powerful because today, I know how to bridge that distance. Today, I am a more confident adult educator.





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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Weekly Columns


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