Student Leadership, Reflection, and Assessment at Lehman College

In this session Gina Rae Foster, project director of Lehman College’s  grant-funded Supplemental Instruction (SI) program, described how Lehman’s ePortfolio platform (Digication) provides SI leaders (students who lead supplemental study groups for their peers) with the capacity to build program-based portfolios, which are then used for formative program assessment and reviews of their performance. More than simply providing the template for an individual portfolio, however, the Digication platform is also being employed to manage the SI program more generally. Resources and documentation of many kinds are being housed on program portfolios and made available to interested or relevant parties. Interestingly, this mirrors a phenomenon we’ve seen at Bronx Community College, where a number of co-curricular programs are beginning to deploy Digication ePortfolios as, in effect, a substitute for web sites. Similarly, some faculty have started to use ePortfolio to publish their credentials, their accomplishments and, in one instance, informational and organizational material for a scholarly conference.

Lehman’s curricular focus for this SI project is in the Business and STEM disciplines, where tutorial and instructional support is often a critical need. As the project has developed, it’s become clear that the full extent of activities required of SI leaders amount to the equivalent of a well-designed academic course (theory, practice, self-reflection, collaboration, assessment). Consequently an SI program goal is to move toward establishing this work—articulated and organized in ePortfolios—as a credit-bearing course for students. Gina’s expectation is that SI leader ePortfolios will be one persuasive form of evidence for the success of the program and helpful both in the curricular approval process and in moving the program forward in the future.

Clearly, there is great potential in this use of an ePortfolio platform. This sort of co-curricular and student support program is fertile ground for employment, transfer, and pre-professional application. Somewhat like the Brooklyn College SEEK program, Lehman’s SI program is exploiting this potential very effectively. It falls outside the standard academic model for ePortfolio utilization, but it’s definitely well worth considering. I would like to explore it in our Instructional Technology Tutor program at BCC. I suspect it could have great value for students whose work as peer tutors and technology assistants often generates compelling narratives of growth and change. These are the stories, after all, that often make the most compelling features of ePortfolios.

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