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Electronic Portfolio Project Report|Family and Consumer Sciences

UW Department of Family & Consumer Sciences

Dr. Bernita Quoss
Narrative of Accomplishments

Outcomes Addressed/Reinforced

Academic Plan.  Three action items of the institution's current academic plan were addressed by the electronic portfolio project of the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS):

            #38  Outcomes Assessment

            #49  Off-Campus Degree Programs

            #66  Course Integration in FCS

All three items relate to the department's work to improve its teaching and learning process through comprehensive curriculum restructuring.  In response to data from outcomes and course evaluations, FCS faculty members have worked for several years to improve curricula and teaching, with occasional collaboration.  The electronic Portfolio Project enabled the faculty to initiate a fully collaborative, comprehensive assessment and curriculum restructuring process.

The financial support to hire a technical consultant enabled the faculty to identify problems and some solutions and to choose a web-based, developmental portfolio as our approach.  In the pilot version of the portfolio in fall, 2002, students will be introduced to web page design, and their portfolios will focus on self-assessments in 8 core college skills: lifelong learning, information and computer literacy, critical thinking, communication, global diversity, art and creativity, self in community, and professional behavior.  We assured that the portfolio can be used by both resident students and by off-campus students enrolled in current and future distance degree options.  Participation by all faculty in this project resulted in several important commitments:

1) the faculty will analyze all curricula in AY 2002, to integrate the portfolio skills across the curriculum, in all course;

2) the curriculum analysis also will integrate FCS core concepts across all courses;

3) a model of distributed leadership will be used, with individual faculty members assuming responsibility for specific skills of the portfolio, becoming key resources for those skills;

4) students will be involved in this curriculum restructuring process through creation of a learning community (funded by Academic Affairs).

In summary, FCS successfully used the Electronic Portfolio grant as a process to advance its ongoing curriculum and assessment work to a more complex stage of development.

How Outcomes Are Being Accomplished

Outcomes Assessment.  In fall, 2002, both resident and distance students enrolled in the department's F-1 course, FCSC 1000, will be introduced to the 8 skills and to web page design.  In the spring, 2003 introductory core course, FCSC 1010, the same freshman students will be joined by new transfer students; both sets of students will complete self-assessments and learning goals for all 8 college skills, as their foundation portfolio.  Future expectations for developmental uses of the portfolio will be explained.

The portfolio project will be an important element in creating learning communities among 3 distinct types of FCS student cohorts: late transfer students, new freshman students, and distance students.  The substantial number of late transfer students in FCS has always posed a challenge to our efforts to improve student learning.  Therefore, we plan later to have former freshmen students, as juniors, work with transfer students as peer resources in portfolio development.  Transfer students also may be organized into a learning community, as will distance learners.  Eventually, an all-FCS learning community can be formed, using the electronic portfolio as a source of commonality.

Off-Campus Degree Programs.  UW's F-1 course focuses on resident students who need support for successful adaptation to college life.  Distance learners need a different kind of support to adapt to the higher level of learner autonomy required of them.  In AY 02, the department's online F-1 course will be adapted to support distance learners, using the electronic portfolio.  Some experimental strategies for creating a distance learning community may also be implemented.

Course Integration.  FCS faculty understand that successful use of developmental portfolio will require us to have an even more tightly integrated curriculum, so that clear expectations can be communicated to students in each FCS course.  In particular, integration of the introductory FCS 1010 course and the capstone 4010 course must be developed.  A trio of faculty members is working this summer to redevelop the 4010 course, incorporating the 8 skills and working toward a formal portfolio assessment process in that course.  Their approach is essentially that of illuminative evaluation, so that they can report to the entire faculty the lessons learned for future work.  Other individual faculty members have begun researching specific skills of the portfolio, in order to take leadership roles in the curriculum analysis and restructuring process.

Before classes begin in AY 02, the faculty will meet in an all-day planning retreat, to outline a timeline and tasks for completion of the year's curriculum work.  FCS core concepts will be examined first, to expand and strengthen use of those concepts in all FCS courses.  In this way, the department can emphasize its integrative nature without having to create additional courses for students to take.  Similarly, the 8 college skills will be examined and incorporated into all FCS courses, with attention to developmental progression of learning.

Augmentation of Resources

The most important aspect of this project was the opportunity to secure involvement and commitment from all faculty - to facilitate creation of a collaborative work group.  Time resources, from the Curriculum Committee and the entire faculty, were heavily spent.  Curriculum Committee members worked with the technical consultant and monitored project progress.  The faculty as a whole requested frequent reports and held a final consultation meeting the technical person.  Most important, the department contributed funds for a reception for Barbara Cambridge.  This event enabled the FCS faculty to make their collaborative participation visible to the campus community and assured their further commitment.

Expenditures Report (already submitted)

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