HJP Committee and the Human Journey ePortfolio

The College of Arts and Sciences has adopted an electronic portfolio solution for the Common Core. The purpose is to provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon their own growth and development as they are asked to respond to the Four Core Questions and the Catholic intellectual tradition in their Common Core courses.  
At the heart of this initiative, you will find a dedicated team of faculty led by Dr. Michelle Loris, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. This committee, including Dr. Jeffrey Cain, Dr. June-Ann Greeley, Dr. Kathryn LaFontana,  Dr. Mark Jareb, and Professor Jennifer McLaughlin, MA, has worked tirelessly to develop the electronic portfolio template and deploy it to students during the fall semester via Blackboard. We had the opportunity to discuss this project with both Dr. Loris and Dr. Cain as it relates to technology immersion at Sacred Heart University.

Why is it so important for the College of Arts & Sciences to integrate technology into the Common Core?

Dr. Michelle Loris
“The use of academic technology, carefully implemented in an academic program, curriculum, or course can enhance student learning and extend that learning beyond the walls of the classroom. For instance, a discussion board allows students to analyze and discuss course content throughout the week not just during class time. An e-portfolio has been promoted as one of the “high impact” teaching/ learning tools in higher education.  Technology—again, used carefully and well, meets students where they are often found—in an electronic  world of email, texting, Facebook, etc. We want to use their interest in and skill with technology to extend, enhance, and deepen their academic learning, growth, and development.”

Dr. Jeffrey Cain
“The Common Core, like every other part of higher education, has technology as its immediate and long-term future. Good use of technology will enhance the delivery of the Core’s educational content.”

How will faculty and students benefit from the use of electronic portfolios throughout the Human Journey? Why online instead of paper?

Dr. Michelle Loris
“The e-portfolio allows them to hold together an archive of their thinking and reflecting on the Four Core questions and the Catholic intellectual tradition.”

Dr. Jeffrey Cain
“We haven’t entirely phased out books and paper yet. But e-portfolios have the advantage of being depositories of a student’s work and knowledge, something to be drawn upon whenever earlier ideas can help with the work at hand. Students will gain a sense of accomplishment, because they will have a body of writing stored in one place. Faculty will be able to see some of what the student has done before, thereby facilitating, for example, the Capstone experience. Most of all, over time the faculty and students will find entirely new uses for the e-portfolios that no one has yet imagined—this is really the most important reason for having them.”

How will you measure the success of the electronic portfolio initiative?

Dr. Michelle Loris
“We want to have as many students as possible in our HICC and ENCC use the e-portfolio and then have them continue its use in their CC103 and CC104 courses. We will look at how they have used it; that is how the e-portfolio has worked as a pedagogical tool.  That is: have they used the system to reflect upon the core questions and the CIT? Have their reflections and responses demonstrated their academic growth and development? We may also use a sample of the students’ responses for assessment as well.”

Dr. Jeffrey Cain
“In two years, it would be good to have an e-portfolio system for the Core, to be using it effectively for purposes of pedagogy and perhaps assessment, and to have made a start on seeing where we can go with CAS as a whole. If we can move more quickly that would be wonderful, but we have to see how the Core pilot goes first.”

The Human Journey ePortfolio Committee:

Michelle Loris  Jeffrey Cain June-Ann Greeley  
 Dr. Michelle Loris  Dr. Jeffrey Cain   Dr. June-Ann Greeley
 Mark Jareb       Kathy LaFontana    Jennifer McLaughlin
    Dr. Mark Jareb   Dr. Kathy LaFontana    Prof. Jennifer McLaughlin