Pace University – Getting Social with Bio

As our ePortfolio program has grown, we’ve seen several courses establish ePortfolio assignments that involve social pedagogy.

Professor Andrew Stout, who teaches a core English course, used the Mahara groups feature to host discussion forums, keeping the conversation among students in the course within ePortfolios. Communications professor, Dr. Michelle Pulaski Behling, has students create robust portfolios of their work and education experience and present them to their peers. In so doing one student describe e-portfolios as an evolving “live” tool that provokes thought and inspiration. Another student talked about the power of the story that was created with e-portfolio and the nature of a social narrative.

In this same spirit, Dr. Andrew Wier’s microbiology course requires students to interact with one another as they build a robust ePortfolio page. The students spend eight weeks developing an ePortfolio dedicated to a specific species of bacterial phylum. The page components include an introduction, news blog and multimedia.

The social pedagogy factor of the assignment is highlighted when students review one another’s work. This component is key! Students are required to share their page with all logged-in users. To reinforce the sharing aspect, 15% of final exam material is taken from student ePortfolios. Dr. Wier’s assignment adds to the work the e-Portfolio team is doing with biology department. Currently the team is working with the department chair to establish procedures for using ePortfolio as the assessment tool for the BIO internship course. Students that have taken Dr. Wier’s course are better prepared for future ePortfolio requirements.

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