Integrative Learning and ePortfolios
This is Tom, the associate director in the IR office, and this is my inaugural entry into the IR blog. Last week, I celebrated the two year anniversary of my dissertation defense. The dissertation explored the facilitation of integrative learning through a reflective ePortfolio process. By developing integrative learning, students are expected to be able to make meaningful connections of their experiences, synthesize their learning, and gain a greater understanding of how their skills and knowledge can help them achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals.
I’m always excited when I have the opportunity to apply what I have learned to about integrative learning and ePortfolios to my work at Bates. With its focus on helping students “identify and cultivate their interests and strengths and acquire the knowledge, experiences and relationships necessary to pursue their aspirations,” the Purposeful Work initiative is particularly interested in integrative learning as a student learning outcome. Recently, the Institutional Research team met with the Purposeful Work team to discuss assessment results related to Purposeful Work programs. Since its pilot year (2014), the Purposeful Work staff has diligently collected both participation data and survey data, while the IR team has provided consultation about data collection and research design. Having done our first deep dive into the analysis, it is exciting to see the results of this collaborative process come to life.
Over the past two summers, we have included a set of integrative learning measures in the assessments of the Purposeful Work Internship Program. Throughout the summer, students in the program respond to a set of prompts that encourage them to reflect on what they are learning through their internship and how what they have learned connects to their classroom learning and to their goals at Bates and post-graduation. Our initial analysis of the data shows that students are getting from the reflective process exactly what we hoped they would get. From the start of the summer to the end of the summer, students are reporting strong gains in their abilities to identify and provide evidence of their knowledge, skills, and values and their ability to transfer their knowledge to other situations.
The Office of Institutional Research is committed to promoting a strong culture of assessment on the Bates campus. Our office welcomes partnerships with individuals and units throughout the college on projects that will improve our understanding of what students are getting out of their experience and what we can do to provide the best educational experiences possible.