Collect, reflect, refine, present.
We’re investing in our students and their work, by helping them implement ePortfolios into their undergraduate experience. ePortfolio is a campus-wide Auburn University initiative brought to us by the Office of University Writing which encourages students to collect their work over time and reflect on their education gradually.
We know that ePortfolios will help our students stay organized, recognize their successful work, understand their personal and professional goals through blogging with directed prompts, and ultimately present their undergraduate journey in a professional resume context. For this reason, we’re encouraging all incoming students to start their online ePortfolio, and we’ve committed to helping them evolve that portfolio into a body of work they can proudly present in an interview.
In our department, students have the opportunity to interview for internships and other positions throughout their undergraduate experience. We’ve enjoyed preparing them for these by setting up resume reviews and mock-interviews with our student coordinator. We think the ePortfolio is the “next step” in professional development for our students. Over time, we release blogging prompts that encourage students to consider important aspects ranging from class choices to long-term career goals.
What goes in to creating an ePortfolio?
The first step in our process is to help Poultry & Food students identify valuable work they’ve produced while here at Auburn University. The Office of University writing calls these pieces “artifacts” because they can range from a term-paper, to a body of images. We’ll host workshops or sit down one-on-one with students to help them identify work that represents what they’ve been learning in their classes.
Once they’ve chosen artifacts, we help guide students to reflect and explain why or how these experiences have shaped their time in our department. We also help them curate artifacts on and off these ePortfolios as appropriate, replacing weaker projects with a strong example of their work.
The next step in our process is to constructively critique the submitted portfolios. This can be as simple as checking out each page of the ePortfolio, to as specific as helping to re-write sections to convey ideas in a simple and concise manner. We also help counsel students on the design of their ePortfolio, readability and user-friendliness, and ethical use of imagery. We offer to take head shots for students, or photos of their work in our department when applicable.
Throughout the semester, we provide prompts for students to respond to in a blog housed within their ePortfolio. These questions are professional development prompts, ranging from “Why did you choose Poultry or Food Science as a major” to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What about 10 years?”
We’ve seen interviewers ask these questions in the past – and they are never easy to answer on-the-spot. By getting ahead of these typical professional development questions, we’re helping our students evolve through this thinking, and prepare themselves professionally to present their goals when the time comes.
We’re committed to helping our students present their ePortfolios in a professional way. While a resume can provide a great snapshot of accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular, we know that ePortfolios provide the whole picture of a student (or potential employee). With the ability to include photos, videos, reflective writing, contact information, and more – we see that ePortfolios take a resume to the next step.
For this reason, we’re encouraging our students to submit their ePortfolios on their resume when it comes time to apply for positions. We’ll proof-read and submit corrections or suggestions for them before the time comes, and will offer workshops throughout the semester that help refine their portfolios.