By Faculty Partner, Dr. Jenny Billings, Chair of ACA, DRE, and ENG and English instructor at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
As an English instructor, I’ve seen thousands of student portfolios. Most of these have been in print, hole-punched, and submitted in three-ring binders. Others have been emailed or uploaded as a single Word document or PDF. Needless to say, student portfolios can become monotonous for both students and instructors. While they’ve become #JustOneThing required for Comp I courses, with Pathbrite, portfolios are no longer #JustOneThing students have to turn in. Instead, these portfolios are creative, all-inclusive, and something students can submit with pride.
In writing-intensive courses, such as the ones I teach, students go through multiple drafts for each essay. There are four assigned essays in our ENG 111, or Comp I course. Students submit a rough draft that goes through at least two peer review processes. During the editing and revising stages, students can complete this on their own, utilize the College’s tutoring services, or schedule an office hour. They can also visit me during my Starbucks Sessions, where students have a two-hour window to stop by and ask me questions about their essay. For each essay, students go through four to five versions before submitting their final draft. Multiply that by four essays, and we’re now at 16 to 20 essay versions. Because our courses focus so much on these drafts, we use portfolios to highlight students’ work and progress throughout the semester.
With Pathbrite, students can easily drag, drop, upload, or import all of their documents into their digitally created portfolio. Here, they’re able to name it; provide information on what the portfolio means to them; and add video, text, images, documents, web links, and other items from their Pathbrite library or social media sites (such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook). Students always have the option to add #JustOneThing more to make their portfolio really stand out.
In Pathbrite, students can build portfolios from scratch, or they can view ideas and even download templates for later use. Under the “add work” option, there are Sample Items, including a resume, diploma, video, and even a Quick Start: Building a Successful Portfolio document that students can view.
Students are able to edit the style, category, and layout of their portfolio. They can also decide if they want their portfolio to be private or public—allowing it to be discoverable by others in their selected community. There are even options for others to leave and view comments and to download the portfolio via a provided link.
Since reinventing portfolios through the use of Pathbrite, my students’ submissions have been more colorful, more personable, and more innovative. Students have enjoyed the portfolio process more than ever, and truthfully, so have I. Submitting their final portfolio is no longer #JustOneThing they have to do—it’s something they look forward to and something they can take with them, even after the course is over. With Pathbrite, students’ portfolios—as well as their academic and career paths—are, well, brighter.