SLIS Faculty and Alum Publish Articles Describing the E-Portfolio Option for MLIS Students

iStudent Blog

New MLIS students have likely heard about the e-portfolio option as a capstone project for their degree, but may have lots of questions about what goes into an e-portfolio and what such a project entails. And though it may seem a long way off, it’s never too soon to start thinking about this highly popular alternative to writing a thesis for your culminating experience.

A series of articles written by Dr. Michelle Holschuh Simmons, along with fellow SJSU School of Library and Information Science lecturer Beth Wrenn-Estes and four SLIS grads, explains what goes into an e-portfolio as a capstone project, and the different technologies that have been used since 2006, when the School started offering the e-portfolio option.

Although the articles were written for other educators interested in adopting the e-portfolio for their own programs, according to Simmons, the articles can help current students “understand how the concept of the e-portfolio was developed and the multiple purposes it serves both for students and for the MLIS program.” About 98 percent of MLIS students choose the e-portfolio option.

And because the series includes the perspectives of four alum, students can see “how e-portfolio veterans managed the various technology options for hosting the e-portfolio,” Simmons said.

When Simmons and Wrenn-Estes first started working on conference presentations about e-portfolios (which later led to development of the articles), they knew they wanted to involve students, and four – Genna Buhr, Sylvie Rusay, Alejandra Saldana-Nann and Donna Zick – joined them at several conferences in 2011 and 2012. The students, all of whom have since completed their MLIS degrees, also contributed portions of their own e-portfolios to illustrate the different technologies used over the years.

After one of these presentations, the managing editor of The Evolllution: Illuminating the Lifelong Learning Movement asked Simmons to rework the conference material into a series of articles for his publication. The resulting four-part series is now available on The Evolllution’s website. You can also read the entire article series here.

The first article looks at the e-portfolio’s purposes, structure and content. The second and third explain the different technologies SLIS has used for them, while the last article describes both the challenges and successes of implementing an e-portfolio program.

The four alum may have future opportunities to share their perspective on the e-portfolio experience.

“When we turned our efforts toward writing a published piece, these four students collaborated to write a section that included their experiences with the technology as well as the challenges and rewards they experienced,” Simmons said. “We hope to submit an article to another venue with these additional perspectives from the students, some of which were not included in the Evolllution piece due to length constraints.”

If you want to learn more about the e-portfolio option for MLIS students, you can check out the School’s LIBR 289 E-Portfolio Handbook. But don’t worry if it seems a bit complex right now. Your core courses will introduce you to this culminating experience option, and later you’ll have an e-portfolio advisor to guide you through the experience.

If you have any thoughts after reading the articles, please share them in the Comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.