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Portfolios to Professoriate: Helping Students Integrate Professional Identities through ePortfolios

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Creative and Cross-disciplinary Methods Part II

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1048.1 - 25.1048.15



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Paper Authors


Lisa D. McNair Virginia Tech

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Lisa McNair is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she also serves as Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs and co-directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communication Center. Her research includes interdisciplinary collaboration, communication studies, identity theory, and reflective practice. Projects supported by the National Science Foundation include: interdisciplinary pedagogy for pervasive computing design; writing across the curriculum in statics courses; a a CAREER award to explore the use of e-portfolios to promote professional identity and reflective practice. Her teaching emphasizes the roles of engineers as communicators and educators, the foundations and evolution of the engineering education discipline, assessment methods, and evaluating communication in engineering.

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Wende Garrison Virginia Tech

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Wende Garrison is the Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Communication for Portfolio to Professoriate at Virginia Tech. She received her master's in rhetoric and composition and film and television from Portland State University in 1999. Garrison has been the conference Chair for the Association of American Colleges and Universities' Eportfolio Forum for three years. She is on both the Editorial Board and the Review Board for the International Journal of Eporfolios and on the 2012 program committee for the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning annual conference. Garrison also served as the VALUE Initiative Manager for AAC&U, where she facilitated the creation of 15 national rubrics.

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Portfolios to Professoriate: Helping Students Engage Professional Identities throughe-PortfoliosAs articulated in Jamieson & Lohmann’s 2009 report, Creating a Culture for Scholarly and SystematicInnovation in Engineering Education, institutionally prioritizing connections between engineeringeducation research and practice is a critical need. In this project (P2P), electronic portfolios are used tohelp engineering graduate students achieve the interdisciplinary goal of developing professionalidentities as both educators and engineers. This presentation reports on early-stage methods used toengage students in constructing e-portfolios that highlight reflective practice as both researchers andeducators.E-portfolios are used extensively to enact meta-cognitive practices of learning development,professional career preparation, and program assessment. This project takes these uses to a new level byexploring how e-portfolios can be used to integrate reflective practice into a range of program modelsthat promote scholarly teaching and engineering education research. E-portfolios are ideally suited tothis task because they are flexible, they promote student motivation and ownership, and they can besituated outside of established course structures and even linked with multiple institutions nationwide.The program models are based in four academic institutions that are integrating e-portfolio work intotheir existing graduate curricula. The authors track the progress of students’ professional identities aseducators through annual surveys, portfolio assessments, and individual case studies. Each programrepresents a different model, including an engineering education graduate program, teaching andlearning programs established at different levels of the institutional structure (university, college, anddepartment levels), and an urban, Hispanic-majority university that is promoting engineering educationin its graduate engineering programs.The method used to engage students in e-portfolio construction is a calendared progression of technicaland reflective tasks supplemented by consistent feedback and assessed using a rubric jointly constructedby stakeholders at each site. Portfolio and identity construction is described and assessed in terms ofeffectiveness in engaging students in each of these learning environments. Qualitative analysis of theportfolios shows patterns of challenges and successes as students construct portfolios that showcase theirachievements while simultaneously constructing narratives of professional identities. The presentationwill include reflection prompts that engage students, insights on how formative feedback increasesstudent engagement in portfolio-keeping, and analyses of how portfolios help engineering graduatestudents be reflective practitioners who can leverage scholarly teaching approaches to contribute to thecycle of experience, learning and practice.

McNair, L. D., & Garrison, W. (2012, June), Portfolios to Professoriate: Helping Students Integrate Professional Identities through ePortfolios Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21805

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