In our current employment market, it is sometimes hard to stand out from a pool of applicants. A great way to assist students in showcasing their skills and archive projects (sample assignments, internship projects, or research) is to publish work using an online, electronic portfolio, or “ePortfolio”. This is not a totally new concept—but a team of Communication instructors at ODU have worked together to design a semester long, multi-part project that will allow students to build, edit, and publish work in a professional new way. Students have a chance to edit their work after receiving feedback so they are publishing only the best possible work for their Communication ePortfolio.
The Communication ePortfolio Project is focused on the following learning objectives:
Students will learn how to conduct an initial investigation into a target company or topic, in order to complete academic research appropriate for the course level and material.
This objective correlates to all five parts of the proposed Communication ePortfolio, but especially Part 2: Problem Posing. Students will be instructed in disciplinary research and begin to narrowly tailor questions that address a particular problem or need within the context being explored. These assignments require students to look for communicative solutions to topics and creatively engage with research in a new ways as they share their project proposal, sample bids (or other genre writing styles appropriate to a particular course) in their Communication ePortfolio.
Students will learn how to complete a variety of genre writings while catering to the needs of a specific audience.
This objective correlates to all five parts of the proposed Communication ePortfolio, but especially Part 3: Problem Solving. Instructing students to write for a specific audience orients their thinking beyond the classroom, and addresses the learning issue by offering more specific opportunities to write for a discipline while showcasing the work for future instructors, or professionals. This additionally directs the student to connect project concepts and theory over multiple courses.
Students will design discipline-focused projects wherein analyses are presented in logical ways, using disciplinary writing that incorporates scholarly and professional resources.
This objective correlates to all five parts of the proposed Communication ePortfolio, but especially Part 4: Public Presentation. Creative solutions found in Part 3 can then be shared in Communication ePortfolios in visually appealing and interesting genres—bringing scholarship to the forefront of a project as students consider larger implications and applications of their work.
Special thanks to our recent (Fall '17) COMM eP adopting instructor Matt French for sharing some words of wisdom on the 'why bother' question!
Each part of the ePortfolio is designed to achieve a course objective, enhance disciplinary writing, and showcase your professional development. (Though each course will differentiate in the types of assignments required to fulfill the ePortfolio project). You can also expect to give students information about the learning objectives for each activity—learning objectives should be specifically designed to meet course criteria and assess or evaluate the mastery of a class topic, concept, theory, or style of writing. The Communication ePortfolio team will provide directions, examples when possible, and rubrics to help implement this project.
Instructor Concern: Maybe you're interested and now you are thinking "Ok I'm interested, but what about plagiarism, or curating ePortfolios across multiple upper-level Communication Classes?" The good news is that the Communication ePortfolio Team has developed various resources, procedures, and best practices for preventing such an event. Further, just as any instructor would direct a plagiarised project or paper to the University Honor Council, the same high expectations hold true for anything submitted to a class, or then posted to a Communication ePortfolio. Sample resources are shared below.