About the Communication ePortfolio Project
Given Old Dominion University’s selection of disciplinary writing as the focus of its Quality Enhancement Plan, we feel that communication students have much to gain from additional focus and emphasis on analytical writing ability. Communication students that join the professional world are expected to have mastery of different “hard” and “soft” communication competencies: Interpersonal skills, group facilitation, public speaking effective writing ability, as well as mastery of mediated communication (e.g., social networking applications, emailing, professional correspondence, “Web 2.0” familiarity) (see Robles, 2012). Furthermore, communication professionals that can express themselves clearly and effectively in their writing abilities can not only best represent their employer, but also advocate for their own expertise and educational training (Adams, 2013).
University faculty members have an opportunity to intervene and shape students’ online professional identities and share “digital wisdom.” Student writing assignments and multimedia projects, as demonstrations of their professional identity, can be developed and showcased in ways that increase their relevance and quality. Such an approach would be in line with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or the expectation that all employees will act in accordance with the best interests of the company (Sims, 2003). Poor social media identity representation of self, colleagues, and company run counter to this prevailing perspective.
The Communication ePortfolio Project will improve communication student’s writing by:
1. Providing professional development to faculty teaching upper-division courses in the Communication & Theatre Arts department.
2. Coordinating efforts across communication faculty in the refinement of writing assignments and assessment rubrics that address key communication writing genres.
3. Facilitating/support of the students’ upload of writing assignments to ePortfolios.
The Communication ePortfolio is a cross-class online platform that individual students each contribute to and maintain. The material that students upload to their own ePortfolio will come from writing assignments structured through ePortfolio-supporting classes and faculty. In such classes, students would complete normal assignments but contribute writing to their ePortfolio in five specific assignment areas: Create/curate, Problem posing, Problem solving, Public presentation, and Reflection. These five areas are meant to address the scientific or practical problem solving application of course content, as well as enhance disciplinary writing and showcase professional development.
To maintain flexibility, each individual course will differentiate in the types of assignments required to fulfill a Communication ePortfolio project. For instance, the problem being posed or question that a student may be investigating for a film course is rightfully different than an organizational communication course. This flexible innovation allows for multiple genres of writing to be included, and part or all of the ePortfolio to be implemented into a course. This allows for the instructor to direct the most appropriate methods of evaluation and assessment while students design and maintain a diverse archive of communication writing.
Adams, Susan (2013). The 10 skills employers most want in 20 something employees. Forbes. Retrieved on January 23, 2014, from
Robles, M. (2012). Executives Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills in Today’s Workplace. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 75 (4), 453-465.
Sims, Ronald R. (2003). Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility: Why Giants Fall. Greenwood Publishing Group.