What is the Electronic Portfolio?
This online document facilitates reflection and enables students to connect the lessons of the college classroom to the world beyond the campus and to explore how these experiences affect their college experience. This electronic portfolio of coursework, off-campus research, and various off-campus experiences ultimately translates into a resume that will give students an edge that prospective employers and professional programs are looking for.
The conventional definition of the word "portfolio" brings to mind a briefcase containing important information that a person will need to achieve some significant professional purpose. When the term appears in the name, it refers to the Web pages that are created by participating students in order to record their progress toward personally significant developmental objectives. These "electronic portfolios" are not just lists of completed coursework. To a certain extent they are like diaries because the writers declare their goals, report their efforts to achieve those goals, describe the outcomes of their efforts, and examine the ways in which those outcomes influence the formulation of subsequent goals. In other ways, they are like ledgers because they contain a tally of the lessons learned from the total spectrum of classroom experiences, fieldwork, co-curricular enrichments, and social activities that shape the transformation from college freshman to college graduate. By compiling these autobiographical records and reflecting on their contents students participating in PORTfolio discover important insights about themselves, the requirements for a happy and successful future, and the value of a liberal arts education as an environment for fostering both knowledge and know-how.
Each electronic portfolio is constructed around seven areas of responsibility for which PORTfolio students are expected to prepare themselves. Collectively, these seven areas are known as The Dimensions of Living and were derived from a set of educational objectives developed by Virginia's State Board of Education. In the following list, the Dimensions of Living are named in alphabetical order and each is accompanied by examples of the behavioral goals that PORTfolio students are advised to achieve in order to meet each area of responsibility.
- be aware of problems facing your community
- interact with the cultural groups that are present in your locality
- involve yourself with organized efforts to improve society
- consider the impact of publicly expressed ideas and actions
- fulfill the responsibilities of a good citizen
- explore the meaning of human rights
Cultural and Creative Endeavors
- engage in a variety of cultural, creative, and recreational activities
- analyze the impact of these activities on the people who participate in them
- study the arts in order to learn more about past and present societies
- understand the processes that shape the material world
- appreciate the vital importance of the physical environment
- know how to use natural resources both effectively and responsibly
- evaluate actions and events in terms of their ecological consequences
- protect and preserve living systems
- build and nurture meaningful friendships
- exhibit honesty, fairness, and integrity
- learn how to resolve conflicts using collaborative methods
- respect the views expressed by the people with whom you assoicate
- improve your ability to communicate with people from cultures other than your own
- deliver high quality products and services
- examine the dynamics associated with projects performed by groups
- demonstrate and encourage personal responsibility for the completion of tasks
- adapt work methods to suit the circumstances
- become competent in the use of emerging technologies
- acquire knowledge about the local and global marketplace
- anticipate likely trends and plan how you must change to cope with them
- identify resources that can help you prepare for probable futures
- practice alternative learning strategies
- adjust to new demands
- assess your strengths and limitations
- implement plans to achieve your goals and revise them as circumstances change
- avoid behaviors that contribute to poor health
- pursue a balanced assortment of self-development goals
- find ways to satisfy your needs without imposing unfairly on others
- base decisions that affect your life on valid and reliable information
PORTfolio students work closely with their faculty advisors to identify the attitudes, skills, and knowledge that are necessary to make progress along each Dimension of Living. As the essential elements become evident, the students and their advisors collaboratively examine our curriculum, campus life, and resources available both within and beyond the Hampton Roads metropolitan area in order to plan a course of action that can achieve the desired results.
- Evidence of CIVIC PARTICIPATION could include enrollment in POLS 221 (Current Events and Public Policy), being elected to an office in Student Government, or volunteering to assist in a campaign to encourage voter turnout in a local election;
- Evidence of CULTURAL AND CREATIVE ENDEAVORS could include enrollment in ART 315 (Printmaking), joining our college's choir, or completing a two-week externship under the supervision of a curator at the Chrysler Art Museum in Norfolk.