Fostering Civic Learning with ePortfolios


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AAC&U Annual Meeting Jan. 27, 2012 in Washington, DC along. Presenters - Kristin Norris, Bob Bringle, and Bill Plater

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  • Essential Questions for StudentsWho I am? (knowledge of self)Who are we? (communal/collective knowledge)What does it feel like to be them? (empathetic knowledge)How do we talk to one another? (intercultural process knowledge)How do we improve our shared lives? (applied, engaged knowledge)Students move from the self, to others, and finally to cooperating with others for a larger public good. The point she makes is that we need critical queries for students to pose that should lead to a deeper capacity to work collectively with others toward shared social and civic ends.
  • Describes 5 basic areas of learning:Broad, integrative knowledgeSpecialized knowledgeIntellectual skillsApplied learningCivic learning
  • We will eventually get to the “How”, but first, we need to be explicit in what it is we are looking for. What are civic knowledge, skills, dispositions, motivations, behavior intentions?
  • Broken into civic KSDs
  • We don’t want to assume everyone knows what we mean when we say we are trying to cultivate the KSDs in our students without being explicit in what that looks like and the ways in which we can accomplish this task. Trying to make the implicit explicit.Civic knowledge comes from multiple sources including community members (Battistoni, 1997). This includes a deeper knowledge of public issues, their underlying causes, and how different community members understand issues. Morton (1997) includes learning about how individuals and community groups have effected change in their communities as a key element (Battistoni, in press, p. 6).
  • Vary by disciplineImportant in preparing students to be active participants in societyTraditionally defined as part of a liberal educationAssociated with workforce development
  • Identifying civic dispositions can become a contentious subject, especially in public institutions reluctant to breach the subject matter. However, dispositions is an important dimension of civic learning. Saltmarsh (2005) presents the key democratic values as participation, justice, and inclusion – values he believes “can be widely agreed upon and shared”(p.55
  • Photo adapted from:
  • Identity and Educational Experiences. This intersection represents one’s identity as a student who is involved and intrinsically motivated in educational experiences, including curricular and co-curricular activities. Intersection 1 is larger for students who are actively engaged in their education and have integrated the knowledge they have gained into their sense of identity of who they are (e.g., “I am a nursing student”). This area is smaller for students who do not consider their education to shape their current or future identity, who merely take courses, or who participate in educational activities in a perfunctory manner. A student’s identity represented in intersection 1 is unrelated to a sense of civic responsibility and, if the student engages in civic activities, those activities are not merged with educational experiences.
  • Educational Experiences and Civic Experiences. At this intersection are educational activities based in the community, but which do not become part of the person’s identity. Intersection 2 might be larger for a student who has been involved in community-based research, alternative break trips, internships, applied learning in the community, or service learning courses that challenge them to learn through active engagement. However, these activities are not integrated into the person’s identity. This area may be smaller for students who had less frequent community involvement through their educational activities (i.e., education that is primarily didactic and classroom-based) and only episodic community-based activities while in school (e.g., volunteered one time because it was required in class). These types of educational experiences represented by intersection 2 may be valuable for academic learning but are unrelated to a student’s sense of who they are as a person or as a member of their community.
  • Identity and Civic Experiences. At the intersection of identity and civic experiences is civic identity. The formation of civic identity is a developmental process (Baxter-Magolda & King, 2004; Flanagan, 2003; Flanagan & Levine, 2010; Knefelkamp, 2008). Intersection 3 represents viewing oneself “as an active participant in society with a strong commitment to work with others toward the public good” (Hatcher, 2010, p. 85). When the overlap is large, civic attitudes, commitments, values, and dispositions have resulted from active participation in the community and these are well-integrated into identity. A large intersection 3 represents students actively involved (e.g., service through a church, volunteer in neighborhood), yet this involvement is unrelated to their educational experiences on campus. A small intersection 3 represents students who have infrequent community involvement that has limited impact on their sense of who they are as people or as members of the community. The CMG Venn diagram is placed within a frame to indicate that students are situated within a particular set of cultural norms and social context. The student interacts and relates with other students, family members, university personnel, and community members, all of whom influence, and are influenced by, the person. In addition, cultural norms are learned and observed through social contexts and these influence and shape identity as well as educational and civic opportunities and experiences.
  • Support students in our scholarship programs to develop an eportfolio to document their experiences, their civic KSDs, and to encourage reflection.
  • Design questionsFree-form (Presentation) vs Structured (Matrix)Our example---- important choice point we made. But, could their reflections then be linked to an ePortfolio they do in a capstone course?The tradeoff is that students might have elaborated or made their civic learning more visible if given the opportunity ---integrated into other parts of their portfolioAssessment purposesStudents (credentialing vs authentic evidence of learning vs application)----more invested in the creation, development. Creating their ePort is a reflection process in itselfInstitution (reaccreditation, research)---Matrix ?student investment= quality of the output?Course specific (meeting specific learning objectives)---Matrix ?student investment – quality of the output? Do they see the ultimate objective? Grad students more like, hence our work in that directionWhere is the evidence?Very descriptive reflections. Lacks examination and analysis of learning ???how do you get at more critical reflection? ---feedback = time intensive. Peer feedback helpsHow do you know where to look?Multiple references to civic learningTime consumingDependent upon many factors (course design, guidance, feedback) ---UC/CSL research project challenges
  • Started with SLAs (1 scholarship program), SL courses using the PDP – products varied greatlyFew SLAs actually created an ePortfolio – great idea, just never dedicated the time and took advantage of the resources – only the exceptional studentsWithin courses – some faculty selected only 2 sections of the PDP to be completed --- too overwhelming to grade, technology issues, time consuming. We trained an SLA (TA essentially) to assist the faculty. The faculty no longer had to be the technical support. And, the TAs could help grade, give feedback, etc.Unrealistic to expect students in one course over one semester to reflect upon, social issues, how they are addressed, how it relates to their civic identity, diversity, etc. Then, just assess that one aspect.Developing rubrics for mass adoption is hard. Calibration exercises similar to AAC&U do for VALUE rubrics. Depends upon what instructions the students were given.Whole is like reading a term paper and wanting to see how things come together and are tied together. ePortfolios aren’t linear (read this first). Might not assess the CL as high because you only looked at one aspect of it.3 years later, we are still considering this a work in progress. Much has changed over these 3 years. I now try to integrate ePortfolios to different audiences so that we can learn the conditions in which they work, don’t work, and give us new perspectives for assessing.Create new experiences that yield bigger, more immediate rewards. – Video Reflection Series, Digital Storytelling, GAs,Then, CRL, OIA, more SHJ programs.
  • Why we decided to do this with our GAs-Scholars are too busyBeing a little older,, more mature, focused on themselves as a professional, they tend to see the value in it more than the scholars.We do a LOT of workshops and developmental activities for our scholars to increase their civic-mindedness. We are much less intentional with our GAs. When I asked if the coordinators (supervisors) if they evaluated their GAs or gave them any type of formal feedback, only 1 out of 6 said yes.A great way for CSL to have evidence of the value their GAs provide.
  • How can we expect our students to do this if we haven’t gone thru it ourselves?I relate this to putting a dosier together. If you didn’t have a template, couldn’t compare it to anyone else’s, and didn’t get help along the way, it would be really hard. Now add an additional skill (using technology) to make that even more complicated. The additional skill here is often – how to reflect. What should I reflect upon. How does this support me in accomplishing that?How many of you have an ePortfolio? Could you advise others that may not have access to the same tools? – hence my ePortfolio using 3 platforms.
  • Again, you might not be able to expect everyone to complete a civic ePortfolio, but we have decided to pursue a few baby steps along the way.
  • As I go thru these, I challenge you to think about what you might be able to take away from this and apply it to your campus. I realize my position is unique for most centers – you don’t have a staff person like myself who can do this work for you. I will say this isnt the only thing I can do and please use me as a resource. I am openly making myself available to assist you now in any way that I can.
  • Recruited a cohort of instructors teaching a First-Year Seminar, using our campus-level ePDP (Personal Development Planner through an ePortfolio)Created a Civic Learning Working Group – how were they incorporating Service Learning into their curriculum and how could the ePDP make that more visible?Gave them funding for an SLA (we trained the students on the ePDP) so the faculty could focus on teachingConducted a faculty workshop on scaffolding, reflection and the ePDP
  • Available to faculty , staff, students, scholarsVideo Reflection Series came out of an ISL group. Partnering with CTL – I don’t have to be the expert in the technologyOne workshop where I had 6 faculty attend (in addition to some of our scholarship recipients) turned into 3 using them this semester in their course. Why – I take the fear of technology out of the equation. I approach my work with faculty a little differently than CTL in that I am willing to be more hands on in their classroom. Not perfect as it doesn’t always help to build their capacity and means I am creating more work for myself. But, that is what needs to be done in order to gain traction.
  • I will come back to digital stories in a moment, but let me finish explaining things that we are doing in programs first.
  • Samone and Kisha
  • Fostering Civic Learning with ePortfolios

    1. 1. Kristin Norris Bob Bringle Bill PlaterJanuary 2012, AAC&U Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
    2. 2. • Discuss implications of civic learning in higher education• Tools to assess civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions• Introduce ePortfolios & civic learning at IUPUI• Ideas to take back to your campus
    3. 3. • US education in comparison of the broader international context • Civic Learning defined “We conceive of „civic learning‟ as any learning that contributes to student preparation for community or public involvement in a diverse democratic society. A loose interpretation of civic learning would lead one to believe that education in general prepares one for citizenship in our democracy. And it certainly does. However, we have in mind here a more strict interpretation of civic learning - knowledge, skills and values that make an explicitly direct and purposeful contribution to the preparation of students for active participation”. - Howard, 2001, p. 45
    4. 4. Principles of Interactivity and Integration: Diversity Education • Self Global Learning • Communities and Civic Cultures Engagement • Knowledge • Skills • ValuesIntellectual Commons • Public Action “Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility” (Caryn McTighe Musil, 2009) in Civic Engagement in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices.
    5. 5. • Higher education is experimenting with new ways to prepare students for effective democratic and global citizenship.• In developing civic competence, students engage in a wide variety of perspectives and evidence and form their own reasoned views on public issues.• The objectives of Civic Learning rely considerably on students‟ out-of-classroom experiences and their development of a capacity for analysis and reflection. df
    6. 6. • Associate level • Describes his or her own civic and cultural background, including its origins and development, assumptions and predispositions • Describes diverse positions, historical and contemporary, on selected democratic values or practices, and presents his or her own position on a specific problem where one or more of these values or practices are involved • Takes an active role in a community context (work, service, co-curricular activities, etc.) and examines the civic issues encountered and the insights gained from the community experience.• Bachelor‟s level • Explains diverse positions, including those of different cultural, economic and geo- graphic interests, on a contested issue, and evaluates the issue in light of both those interested and evidence drawn from journalism and scholarship. • Develops and justifies a position on a public issue and relates the position taken to alternative views within the community/policy environment • Collaborates with others in developing and implementing an approach to a civic issue, evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the process and, where applicable, the result.• Master‟s level • Assesses and develops a position on a public policy question with significance in the student‟s own field, taking into account both scholarship and published positions and narratives of relevant interest groups. ( 206 , pg. 18)
    7. 7. Why do we need more than a vocational education? - D. Mathews• Employers and others want to know what graduates know AND evidence to back it up Do our graduates have evidence of their civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions?
    8. 8. • Importance of applying high-impact practices (Kuh, 2008) • Curricular & Co-curricular experiences (including service learning)• Assessing and Documenting the learning as a result of their experiences • But, HOW?
    9. 9. You can‟t assess what you don‟t know to look for
    10. 10. • Civic knowledge • More than purely academic knowledge (dates, places, important civic or political events) • Knowledge of volunteer opportunities (ways to contribute to society and of nonprofit organizations) • Knowledge of contemporary social issues (current events and the complexity of issues in modern society) - Steinberg, Bringle, & Hatcher (2011)
    11. 11. • Civic skills • Communication and Listening (ability to communicate with others and listen to divergent points of view) • Diversity (understanding the importance of, and the ability to work with others from diverse backgrounds) • Consensus-building (ability to work across difference to come to an agreement or solve a problem) - Steinberg, Bringle, & Hatcher (2011)
    12. 12. • Civic dispositions • Valuing community engagement (understanding the importance of service to others, and being actively involved in the community) • Self-efficacy (have the desire to take personal action, with a realistic view that the action will produce the desired result) • Social trustee of knowledge (feeling a sense of responsibility and commitment to use the knowledge gained in college to serve others) - Steinberg, Bringle & Hatcher (2011)
    13. 13. What is educationally meaningful service?
    14. 14. Civic Education Civic Engagement• Learning activities • Active collaboration that intended to help students builds upon the resources, acquire knowledge, skills, skills, expertise, and and dispositions related to knowledge of the campus civic participation, civic processes, and civic and community to improve systems the quality of life in communities in a manner consistent with the• NOTE - Not all community-based campus mission. activities/instruction are designed to yield civic learning Bringle, Hatcher, & Holland (2007)
    15. 15. IUPUI‟s Center for Service & Learning “North Star”
    16. 16. The Civic-Minded Graduate• Personal Integration• Academic Knowledge and Technical Skills• Knowledge of Civil Society (e.g., Volunteer Opportunities, Nonprofit Organizations)• Knowledge of Contemporary Social Issues• Listening and Communication Skills• Diversity Skills• Self-Efficacy• Behavioral Intentions → Civic Behavior
    17. 17. Civic-Minded Graduates Civic-Minded Personal Graduate (CMG) Identity 1 3 Educational Civic 2 Experiences Experiences Cultural Norms and Social Context
    18. 18. 1 1
    19. 19. 2 2
    20. 20. 3
    21. 21. CM GCultural Norms and Social Context
    22. 22. Sample student A
    23. 23. Sample student B
    24. 24. Sample student C
    25. 25. Potential Factors Influencing Civic-Mindedness Norris, 2011
    26. 26. • Program Evaluation (CSL programs and others)• Service Learning Courses• Academic Units (e.g., majors)• Institutional Assessment
    27. 27. • Curricular: Service Learning Courses• Community-Based Federal Work Study• Neighborhood Partnerships• Community Service-Based Scholarship Program• Student ePortfolios
    28. 28. • CMG Scale: 30-item self-report measuring knowledge, skills, dispositions, and behavioral intentions• Good internal consistency and factor structure• Not correlated with Social Desirability• Correlated with Integrity with which persons do service
    29. 29. CMG Narrative and Rubric: Prompt: I have a responsibility and a commitment to use the knowledge and skills I have gained as a college student to collaborate with others, who may be different from me, to help address issues in society.
    30. 30. Active participation in society to address social issues:Considering your experiences at IUPUI, explain various ways you have beeninvolved in your community that have addressed social issues. Describe why youwere involved in these activities (motivation, not opinion about a particular cause).Was there anything else that motivated you to do these activities? Here are variousexamples of ways you could have been involved to elaborate upon: • Volunteering or community service (ex. Working at the Humane Society) • Political involvement (ex. Voting, working with a political group or official) • Advocating for social change (ex. Writing a letter to a public official about a cause you care about; being an active member of a group that lobbies for legislative change; avoiding buying something because of the social or political values of the company) • Informal community building (helping a neighbor, building connections in my community, teaching Sunday School)Lastly, how do you think your college education and experiences have preparedyou, shaped your views, or influenced your intentions to be involved in these typesof activities in the future?
    31. 31. • Civic-Minded Graduate Scale• Complete reflection on a professional development activity• Complete end-of-award period reflection (CMG Narrative/Scale)• Faculty mentor rates the end-of-award reflection (CMG Narrative Rubric)
    32. 32. • Design questions • Free-form (Presentation) vs Structured (Matrix)• Assessment purposes • Students (credentialing vs authentic evidence of learning vs application) • Institution (reaccreditation, research) • Course specific (meeting specific learning objectives)• Where is the evidence? • Very descriptive reflections. Lacks examination and analysis of learning• How do you know where to look? • Multiple references (civic engagement, civic learning, civic education) • Time consuming • Dependent upon many factors (course design, guidance,
    33. 33. • Lessons learned • Realistic expectations for a complete ePortfolio • Support for both students AND faculty • Identify one aspect of civic learning • Challenges associated with using rubrics • Time consuming • Assessing the whole product vs an identified component• Ideas & solutions – a work in progress • Assess, Reflect, Adapt, Apply • Student motivators • Small steps that can be integrated ----more on this later
    34. 34. • Start with our Graduate Assistants • Document civic learning as a result of their assistantship • Structured reflection • Immediate application – job searches• What better way to highlight what they did every day for 1+ years for a total of 20hrs a week?
    35. 35. • Practice on ourselves!
    36. 36. What CSL is doing to within the broader campus ePortfolio initiative
    37. 37. • Faculty Development• Partnering with other units• Building capacity on campus• Course related activities• CSL program activities
    38. 38. • Cohort using ePDP(Personal Development Planner) in 1st year seminars• Civic Learning Working Group• Funding (SLA)• Workshops on scaffolding reflection around the ePDP
    39. 39. • University College (entry-point for first year students) • Assisted them in developing the sections for the ePDP and the associated reflection prompts and rubrics • Helped with training faculty using the ePDP• Other ideas – Common Theme Book, Study Abroad, Undergraduate Research, Student Affairs, Programs with a great deal of Service Learning, Librarians
    40. 40. • Workshops • ePortfolios: The Basics • ePortfolios: Making Meaning & Sharing with Others • No more grading papers: Digital Stories • Video Reflection Series • Overview, Application, Camera operations • Filming • Editing • Assessing• Faculty Consultations• Classroom sessions
    41. 41. • Identify courses already using SL• Introduce small activities – Digital Stories • Helps to facilitate the critical reflection process • Yields a product students can include in an ePortfolio if they already have one, or use to start their own • Engages them in an activity that has multiple applications benefiting the students even moreOther ideas – encourage usage of one aspect of theePDP, creating additional possibilities for building upon anePortfolio
    42. 42. • Scholarship program related digital stories • Alternative breaks trips • Social justice issue • Focused on issues in the community• Departments with a great deal of service learning
    43. 43. • ePortfolios are extremely text heavy • More appealing to potential employers = more likely to see their civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions• Less time intensive than creating an ePortfolio • More realistic devotion of time• Facilitates a reflection process • Our scholars tend to do free-form ePortfolios, this allows us to help structure their reflections a little more• Great recruiting tool, marketing tool for us• Authentic evidence of learning IF tied to learning objectives• Students see the immediate value• Student motivations – not just another paper
    44. 44. • An illustration of learning• A way of documenting an experience(s)• One way to facilitate the reflection process • 2-4 minute digital video clip • First person narrative • Told in your own voice • Illustrated (mostly) by still images • Additional music added to evoke emotions
    45. 45. digital story Digital Story• Blogs, some tweets, etc. • Refers to a kind of video story as well as the methodology used to produce them • The methodology is the integration of knowledge, cutting, paraphrasing, revising, synthesizing, and often reflection (Alexander, 2001).
    46. 46. Use the CMG Rubric to Assess these Digital Stories1. What societal issue is PARCS addressing? How isPARCS addressing this issue? And how is it more effectivethan any other services offered to the communityaddressing these issues?
    47. 47. • Contact information: • Kristin Norris ( • Sakai ePortfolio ( • Epsilen ePortfolio ( • WordPress ( • Bob Bringle ( • Bill Plater ( • (
    48. 48. • Slides available on SlideShare at ________• Access our CMG Tools & Michigan Journal of Community Service: (•• IUPUI‟s Personal Development Planner (ePDP) (• Lumina Foundation ( s_Profile.pdf?f2206)• Digital Storytelling Information • Check out my ePortfolios • Center for Digital Storytelling (Berkley,CA) • “The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media” (Alexander, 2011) • NITLE (National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education) • Indiana Campus Compact Service Engagement Summit (March 29 in Indianapolis)