Looking Back—Our Campus Project
While our project has always had and continues to have a major focus on outcomes assessment, C2L encouraged us to see reflection as an integral part of student learning at our college. Through the online C2L jams and the summer institutes, we were able to deepen on our own understanding of the importance of reflection and implement reflection-based activities into our curriculum. For example, based on our work with C2L, we developed a year-end reflection activity for all CGS first-year students; click here to learn more about this activity. In addition, we added a reflection component to our existing sophomore-year Capstone project. This activity asks students to reflect on the relationship between their work in the Capstone group project and their two years of study in our general education program; click here to learn more about Capstone and its reflection component. In short, without C2L, reflection would not have been a major part of our work.
C2L also encouraged us to present our work at academic conferences; as our scholarship page indicates, we have been very active at regional and national conferences. The C2L network kept us updated about opportunities to present our work and we benefitted from the “collective wisdom” of the group. Finally, our assessment project has been strengthened through our association with C2L. Sharing assessment methods and practices with other C2L campuses proved invaluable.
What We Learned
Through our work with C2l, we have deepened our understanding of ePortfolio as reflective, integrative, and social pedagogy. Regarding reflection, we have added two key year-end projects as described in the above section. As for integrative pedagogy, our college‘s team structure facilitates integrative learning, and ePortfolio has helped us to build upon our existing structure and deepen the level of integration. Every student ePortfolio at our college includes an “Interdisciplinary Reflections” section in which students post joint assignments (interdisciplinary assignments developed by two or more faculty and counting for a grade in two or more CGS courses). While faculty have always been encouraged to use joint assignments , they are not mandatory. But since we began using ePortfolio in 2009, there appears to be a slight uptick in the amount of joint assignments, which may be attributable to ePortfolio. Finally, our association with C2L has deepened our commitment to social pedagogy, and several faculty have created new assignments or modified exists ones to guide students to work collaboratively and consider authentic audiences in real-world contexts.
We also adopted two important practices at the recommendation of C2L colleagues. In 2012 we began using peer mentors; these student mentors work out of the Center for Interdisciplinary teaching and Learning (CITL) and help other students with every aspect of maintaining their ePortfolios. In addition, in the Spring 2013, we instituted an annual ePortfolio showcase and contest.
Our Work Together
Above anything else, sharing our work with others in the C2L network reaffirmed that our project was following a viable direction. Our C2L involvement also helped us to clarify our own ideas as we determined what was applicable to our program and what was not. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of our work with C2L is that before we joined, we thought some aspects of our project were unique to us, but we soon realized we share many of the same goals and challenges as our C2L peer institutions. We also were contacted by other institutions who were
interested in our work. Faculty from TCU visited our campus to learn more about our work with assessment and we were invited to make a presentation at NYU’s Global Studies Program.
Looking Forward—Our Campus Project
We will continue our work with our assessment as we move towards of third year of data collection. Our college’s Grants and Assessment Committee will continue with norming sessions with our new members and we will discuss ways to “close the loop” based on our findings. In addition, we are very excited about our advising component, which began in Fall 2013. We are also working with a few students to carry on their use of ePortfolios beyond their two years at our college and look forward to seeing student ePortfolios that document their four years at Boston University. In addition, we will continue to promote ePortfolio use at our university and make ourselves available as mentors to those faculty from other schools and colleges who seek to use ePortfolios for Outcomes Assessment. We expect that the Catalyst site will be a great resource to share with others on our campus.