The E-Portfolio: Why You Should Start Thinking About Your Final Class Now
As a new student you may not have even thought about your last class. You may have glossed over any mention of a final, culminating experience that is required during your final semester at the iSchool. As an MLIS student you are required to either complete the e-portfolio or a thesis during your last (or second to last) semester. MARA students are also required to complete an e-portfolio. Like most MLIS students, I chose the e-portfolio, and I am currently in the midst of compiling, writing, and editing its many pages.
The main goal of the e-portfolio is to have students demonstrate their mastery of each of the program’s core competencies. There are 15 MLIS program core competencies and 9 MARA program core competencies. The e-portfolio requires you to reflect on and produce evidence that you have mastered each core competency.
The evidence you produce can include assignments you’ve completed throughout your time at the iSchool, including papers, presentations, recordings, videos, pictures, and other items documenting work you have done. Evidence can also include work you have done outside of your coursework, such as at work, during an internship, as a student assistant, at professional conferences, or from a volunteering project.
So start saving your work now. You will receive at least one email every semester reminding you to save your work but don’t just click delete and figure you will get to that task later. It’s easier to start organizing your files now to make that last class a little easier.
I recommend making folders on your computer for each course you take. Save everything you do in these folders including discussion board posts, notes you might take, and of course all of your assignments. I also recommend saving the course syllabus to your folder even though you do have access to past syllabi on the iSchool website. Having the syllabus at hand can help you remember the course, what the assignments were and what topics you covered. I have found perusing past syllabi a big help as I write my e-portfolio.
And make sure to back up your work. Save each course folder onto an external source and perhaps in a cloud. That way if something terrible happens, such as a computer malfunction, you will still have access to your files. I changed computers during my iSchool career and even though I thought I transferred all of my files I have discovered this semester that I am missing certain documents. While it wasn’t devastating to lose a few files I thought I had, I would be much happier having them to use as evidence.
As I work my way through the core competencies, writing my interpretation of them and demonstrating my proficiency in each, I am struck by just how much work I have done over the last four years. I have been re-reading past papers and tests. I have been exploring what it means to be an information professional. While the e-portfolio is a lot of work it has made me realize how much I have done and how far I have come during the program. I often feel as though the completion of my MLIS is just the beginning of my career, but the e-portfolio has given me a true sense of accomplishment, a chance to see just how much I have learned and where I hope to go in the future.
Additional pages to peruse:
Article Describing the E-Portfolio (I highly recommend reading this article which was written by two professors and several SLIS students. It gives you insight into the e-portfolio from both faculty and student perspectives.)