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University Studies: embedding High Impact Practices and ePortfolios at UW Oshkosh


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Presentation at University of Washington Bothell ePortfolio symposium, R. John Robertson
UW Bothell , Sept 20, 2012

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University Studies: embedding High Impact Practices and ePortfolios at UW Oshkosh

  1. 1. University Studies: embedding High Impact Practices and ePortfolios at UW Oshkosh R. John Robertson UW Bothell Symposium, Sept 20, 2012
  2. 2. Abstract “This fall the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh embarks on an new approach to General Education. With the launch of the University Studies Program (http://www.uwosh. edu/usp), we are implementing High Impact Practices programmatically for every incoming first year student; as part of this initiative, students will create a program-level ePortfolio, drawing on material from all their classes. This presentation outlines about our plans, questions, and anticipated challenges in making this program-level ePortfolio component work.”
  3. 3. Introduction
  4. 4. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Third largest institution in the University of Wisconsin system. According to CollegePortraits last year 75% of first year students were retained
  5. 5. The former structure of General Education UW Oshkosh had ~800 General Education courses listed Students had a lot of flexibility Students had the perception that general education was ‘a waste of time and money' Last HLC accreditation had concerns about lack of structure in General Education program
  6. 6. UW Oshkosh Reform process •Higher Learning Commission (HLC) •Inclusive Excellence •Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) •Provost’s Teaching and Learning Summit •2007 LEAP and LERT •Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) •Reform Framework •Summer Teams (2011): HIPs • Campus-Wide Dialogue 2011-12 • Faculty Senate Approval March ‘12 • Implementation Begins Overview (by Dr. Carrell)
  7. 7. Reform process: going further “A pride of place and commitment to change” Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise (Robert Zemsky, 2013) Ensuring Quality & Taking High Impact Practices to Scale (George D. Kuh and Ken O'Donnell With Case Studies by Sally Reed, AACU 2013)
  8. 8. Shape of the University Studies Program 41 credits Explore (Nature, Culture, Society) Explore: Quest I Explore: Quest II Explore: Quest III Quest Writing (WBIS) Quest Speaking(Comm 111) Connect: Advanced Composition
  9. 9. Shape of the University Studies Program All courses: ● connection to Essential Learning Outcomes ● connection to Signature Questions ● Early Alert Quest courses (Embedded FYE focus) ● learning communities ● co-curricular activities ● peer mentors ● Map Works
  10. 10. ePortfolios in this process
  11. 11. ePortfolio starting point Prior use in General Education was minimal. Used by Career Services, Education, Business, and a few specific courses USP intent is a learning portfolio for the program to help students reflect and make connections between courses and the program.
  12. 12. Each course a designated assignment a reflection (in or on the assignment)
  13. 13. The Program as a Whole Connect course draws this all together Produces capstone ePortfolio for USP but also feeds content into other arenas (some majors and career services)
  14. 14. Challenges and responses
  15. 15. Challenge: the unknown Technology and Pedagogy Even though the reform process and adoption of ePortfolios is part of a faculty driven initiative, eportfolios are new to many. Question: How do we help faculty see the pedagogical shift when their concern is the technology?
  16. 16. Response to the unknown Technology Online guides, handouts, drop-in labs, training, overview videos Pedagogy Professional development opportunities, resources, and examples
  17. 17. Response to the unknown For students, support: ● online guides and support ● drop-in labs for students ● training peer mentors and encouragement: ● advocacy ● student ambassadors and the peer mentors
  18. 18. Challenges: reflection Reflection is: ● new for many courses ● new for most first-year students Questions: What can we realistically expect of students? How do we help disciplines reflect if it’s not ‘normal’?
  19. 19. Responses: reflection Professional development, discussion, and examples: ● reviewing why we are doing this ● asking instructors to make explicit their underlying course design to students ● tie to disciplinary knowledge (Pace and Middendorf)
  20. 20. Challenges: Connect The Connect course is capstone-like but also an advanced writing course. ● ePortfolio development a small part of course ● fit with assessment needs? Question: How do we create space for students to draw their University Studies experience together?
  21. 21. Responses: Connect In progress… Faculty shaping and reviewing syllabi - part common, part individual. Ongoing professional development and training Focusing lab support alongside start of these course offerings
  22. 22. Challenges: assessment Assessment ● a focus and a distraction ● technological and procedural challenges for process Question: How do assessment processes fit with all of this? What are the technical or procedural issues?
  23. 23. Responses: assessment A number of approaches are being used to evaluate the program and reform effort, but from an eportfolio point of view: ● the role of Connect ● appropriate (re-?)evaluation ● copies of work - what, when, how ● access considerations
  24. 24. Other opportunities: Quest III Quest III Experiential learning courses in development ● potential for richer use of ePortfolios ● equipping instructors and students ● sensitivity to those we’re working with ● legal and ethical considerations
  25. 25. Questions R John Robertson @kavubob
  26. 26. Resources Overview videos Reflection resources: resources/eportfolio/reflection-resources resources/eportfolio/reflection-resources-1 Program information