Transition Online and Maintain Experiential Learning

Page Content:​

 

Many faculty in at UNT are doing experiential and high impact learning as a part of their courses.  As UNT transitions to online instruction, we recognize this may impact how your courses include certain educational experiences such as experiential learning or other high-impact practices such as service-learning, collaborative assignments and projects, or capstone projects which are likely to be set up as in-person experiences (on-campus or off). There are alternative models for delivering these high impact experiences online and at-a-distance and Career Connect is committed working with DSI and other groups in helping faculty through this transition by providing support and resources.  We can work with faculty to make sure their investment in experiential and high impact learning continues despite the disruption.

 

Fortunately UNT provides a rich set of instructional tools. As faculty transition courses and make decisions, the ePortfolio (Foliotek) is one tool we encourage. This tool is fully integrated in Canvas and is available to all students, staff, and faculty. Why would ePortfolio help in moving experiential learning online?

  1. Allows more robust presentation of evidence of learning.
  2. It facilitates student reflective practice.
  3. Helps students make connections among and between various experiences and assignments, which will be particularly important when they are disconnected from face-to-face facilitation.
  4. Project templates are available and ready to use even if faculty are not familiar with the ePortfolio.  Projects are a tool that let faculty guide students in arranging work to either tell a story about a project or task task completed, or to show different examples of student competency in a skill area based on more robust evidence that can be presented and organized in an ePortfolio.

We can assist with re-envisioning these types of courses for alternate delivery, related Canvas functionalities, ePortfolio integration, marketable skill assessments, and connect faculty with specific resources relevant to delivering a course in an online format.

We recognize there is pressure to make this transition over the next week. We are available to speak with you, respond by email, or meet via Zoom at your convenience. 

Contact: UNTCareerConnect@unt.edu and you’ll be directed to the appropriate team member for help.

    Ready-Made ePortfolio Template Available for Use

    As a recognized high-impact practice, ePortfolios often supplement in-person classroom experiences. As UNT transitions online, we are fortunate to have access to a digital learning tool that can be used to support high-quality instruction and can be used with flexibility while still offering a rich collection of evidence to evaluate and reflect upon for both faculty and students. As a tool that can hold a compilation of evidence, the ePortfolio provides a rich repository that can be accessed far beyond the scope of the course.

    To get started, Connect has developed a basic ePortfolio submission as a plug & play option. In other words, you can use this, as is, to offer your students a chance to reflect and collect work from the time they have spent working in your course. You can view the generic instructions they will be presented. In Canvas using the add assignment feature, you will be able to add your own guiding text to supplement this generic framework. For information about how to do this, you can view this step-by-step process and launch it whenever you are ready.

    When students view the assignment in canvas, they will be asked to view this assignment in a new tab. Every project includes two sections, a reflection, and a project. The project side (loaded above) is where they can showcase their work and share it publicly, should they wish to do so. For this section, they will be asked to provide a summary of what they did in your class for the assignment you are asking them to submit to the ePortfolio. They will then be asked to share how they believe the assignment helped them develop and demonstrate one or more marketable skills (written communication, oral communication, critical thinking, and teamwork). They have the ability to delete any slides that they are unable to discuss.

    The reflection is confidential, between you and the student, and facilitates their meta-cognitive reasoning around what they learned, why it matters, and how it connects to their future goals and careers. For more information on reflection prompts, look here. These are already built into this generic template and often provide a great deal of insight into student learning and understanding.

    To use this template, as is in your course, view instructions here. If you’d like to modify this or have other ideas, please contact us at UNTCareerconnect@unt.edu. We would be happy to support you!

    Capturing Learning in a Crisis

    University of North Texas students, faculty, and staff are responding to the COVID-19 disruption by transitioning courses to an online format to keep everyone safe during this uncertain time. Many people may view this time as disruptive to the learning process, but disruptions can provide opportunities to capture learning in a unique way. 

    During uncertain times, we are forced to adapt and learn in new ways. Career Connect developed a project template entitled “UNT Students Responding to COVID-19” as a place for students to process their experiences of the pandemic. This reflective based project gives students an opportunity to honor their personal reactions while connecting their experience to their identity as a student. Faculty can integrate this template into their courses through Canvas. 

    The UNT community is caring and creative, and this space can be used to forge connections during a time where we may be feeling isolated or helpless. This project template was created as a space for UNT students to document, process, and/or share their own responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects can be archived in students’ ePortfolios as a learning artifact documenting this experience.

    Responding to COVID-19

    The pages on this project hold various ideas for reflection that can be expanded upon, deleted, or modified to fit your needs and can then be linked directly into an assignment in Canvas. If you are interested in using or revising this template, or if this has inspired another idea, please contact UNTCareerConnect@unt.edu and we would be happy to support you in this process. 

     

     

    Maintaining rigor in STEM courses with the ePortfolio

    UNT’s ePortfolio is an ideal digital learning tool to consider when envisioning how to maintain rigor and support student learning while gaining robust and meaningful archived evidence that can serve the department for future years of course planning and evolution.

    On its own, the ePortfolio is provides an online repository that can help students record a progression of their work and learning over time, and in turn, reflect upon their experiences. This reflective component also allows students to practice articulating what they have learned and allows them to contextualize their knowledge within their field of study.

    Finding creative methods to include the digital tools during the quick transitions to alternative delivery may seem like an extra layer, but Connect is prepared to support this process. Including the ePortfolio can be as simple as replacing the way that assignments are submitted via canvas, using the external tool instead of the file upload function. These methods can be used for typical lab assignments (virtual labs), problem sets, or even to test conceptual knowledge of content being presented in the course.

    1. Lab reports


      Many, if not all, lab courses require submissions of lab reports as evidence of work completed and to summarize findings. While labs may be changing into virtual or simulation formats, or may lend themselves towards more hypothetical situations than a typical hands-on laboratory course, the submitted components can be easily transitioned to the ePortfolio while maintaining the same components typically tracked in a lab notebook.

       

      Evidence of STEM Lab Courses

    2. Researching Lab and/or Research Techniques


      With alternate delivery, engaging in full-blown research techniques may not be possible. As virtual or simulation labs become a tool that is used more heavily, ensuring students are grasping techniques and how and when to employ them can be a challenge. Using the ePortfolio as a bridge, faculty can support student research on techniques and help them create something that becomes a repository for students to use as references in the future.

       

      Lab Technique Research

    3. Teach-backs and Virtual Presentations


      As a way to engage students more deeply in their own learning, and as a way to check for learning, incorporating small topical teach-back presentations with students logging on to share a short summary of a topic, technique, or concept may be helpful. A step to extend this type of assignment to be more meaningful than something students do for a grade would be to collect it in the ePortfolio with reflection questions that ask what/why/and how it matters to them for their major and potential career plans.

       

      Mini-Lecture on STEM Topic

    Any of these templates are available to you to modify to fit your needs and can be presented to students in a streamlined format, directly linked into Canvas. It has the added benefit of being a part of the student’s journey and provides an opportunity to help them track the progression of their work over time. Contact UNTCareerConnect@unt.edu if you would like to try any of these in your course and we would be happy to support the process.

     

     

    ePortfolios in Capstones & for Professional Practice

    For capstones and in preparation for professional practice, ePortfolios hold great potential. While it can be helpful for students to have a repository to document their work ePortfolios can help students move to a new level of learning by engaging in reflective practice and considering different audiences for which ePortfolios could be created. As you transition your professional practice and culminating courses online or further modify what is already occurring, the ePortfolio can be used in different ways: to serve as a repository of past work, to showcase professional readiness, or to help students create a personal brand that summarizes the experience they’ve had at UNT and how prepared they are to enter the workforce. An added benefit is that each of these projects and websites can be prepared as ready-to-share assignments, meaning, each of these can be tools that your students later rely on for the job market or graduate school.

    A straightforward approach may be to ask students to share what they have gained through their degree and focus on articulating how they will connect it to their future career goals. In addition, this template can be used to collect samples of student work and may provide a look into how their learning has integrated throughout the degree.

    Capstone Summary

    Alternatively, students can also be encouraged to build a digital portfolio for employment or graduate school, inclusive of past work experiences and other items that typically go on a resume. The benefit however, is in the fact that students are creating a personal site that can be shared in addition to resumes, with evidence of items that are typically relegated to a bullet point. Your class may already include a variety of these components, however, making the shift and using the ePortfolio to build a website extends the process to produce a well-rounded picture of a student’s skills and abilities with the inclusion of evidence and interactive components that are becoming more and more necessary employment searches. 

    Culminating ePortfolio Site

    Whether working with students as a capstone instructor or an advisor, Connect has a variety of options available that can be plugged into existing materials and will support the technical needs. Contact UNTCareerconnect@unt.edu if you would like to explore this option and introduce it to your students while the move to online mediums is already necessitated. Both of these templates are available to use in a Canvas assignment immediately and once submitted, can be graded in speedgrader. Steps for the project template (Capstone Summary) can be found here, and at step #7, use Capstone Summary for the search. For the ePorfolio site, you’ll follow instructions shown here and at step #7, search for Culminating ePortfolio.

     

     

    Documenting Internships in an ePortfolio

    As students are faced with their internships ending abruptly, they will need to gather information and document their experience to share with you and future employers. As you navigate the transition online, Career Connect developed a seamless way for your students to document and reflect on their internship work through the use of an ePortfolio project template entitled “Documenting Your Internship.” As an example, this project template is a general internship template and can be edited to meet the specific needs of the particular program and may be an alternative to being unable to complete internships during this health event.

    Documenting your Internship

    Steps to add this to your course, if you’d like to use it as is, can be found here with the search term for step #7 bolded above. To learn more about how to modify this template and how to use Canvas to integrate it into assignments, contact melanie.mitchell@unt.edu.

     

     

    Continuing Collaborative Learning Virtually

    As a faculty member, you probably integrate collaborative assignments/projects into your face-to-face instruction for many reasons such as facilitating opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to engage with one another and to resemble real-world work environments built on collaboration. You may wonder how to continue this high-impact practice as you transition into the virtual world in an assignment built on collaboration. 

    As you navigate the transition online, Career Connect developed a seamless way for your students to continue building and reflecting on their collaborative work through the use of an ePortfolio project template entitled “Continuing Collaborative Learning Virtually.” This project template was created with general goals of collaborative learning in mind and can be edited to meet the specific needs of your class. You can use this template, or make modifications to fit your needs, then link it to an assignment in Canvas, making it a seamless experience for you and your students while bridging the work done in early parts of the semester with the realities of alternative methods needed now.

    Continuing Collaborative Learning Virtually

    Contact jordan.rogers@unt.edu if you need assistance integrating the template into Canvas or if you’d like to brainstorm relevant additions for your course. Steps to add this to your course, if you’d like to use it as is, can be found here with the search term for step #7 bolded above.

     

     

    Adding your Project Template to your Canvas Course

    1. Enter your Canvas Course.

    2. Click on Assignments.

    3. Select “+ Assignment” to add an assignment.

    4.    Fill in assignment details in highlighted areas. For “submission type,” select external tool.

    Select “Find” to enter or find your External Tool URL.

    5.    Under “Configure External Tool,” click Foliotek Content Selection.

    6.    Select “Create an Assignment in your Course Management System” in order to add the template to your course. You will be asked if you want students to “auto-submit” their work: we do not encourage this. 

    7.    Select “Project Template” and search for: ePortfolio Submission. Hit enter.

    8.    Select the project template and confirm your selection. 
    Do not select autosubmit otherwise the grades will enter as 100% in the gradebook automatically.

    9.    Once the submission screen closes, you will be able to click “select.”

    10.    Assign due dates, and any other details you would like to have attached to your assignment. Then, select “Save & Publish” to make your assignment available in Foliotek. 

    11.    Your assignment is now available in Canvas. You can release it to students in the same way you have opened other assignments to them.




    Creative Commons License

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License