Education Briefcase FAQs

Overview

The education briefcase (eB; eBriefcase) has been in development, conceptually and literally, for the last three years. The purpose of the eB is to foster our students’ ability to view their entire college experience holistically; major, minor, liberal studies, and elective courses as well as cocurricular (e.g., undergraduate research, service learning, internships) opportunities, student employment, participation in clubs, organizations, residential living programming, and intramurals, all contribute to our students’ educational development. The eB allows students to capture, retain, and reflect on their learning in a way that is formative, constructive, and meaningful. Electronic files of students’ work such as research papers, business and work plans, art, video, practical experience evaluations, field reports, laboratory analyses, formal presentations and posters, etc., will be compiled, organized, and stored with reflective statements created by students about the nature of their work and the relationship to the global learning outcomes established as part of Synthesis: a pathway to intentional learning, our institutional Quality Enhancement Plan. The five learning outcomes (civic engagement, effective communication, integrating information, solving complex problems, clarifying and acting on values and purpose) are designed to promote and realize synthesis and intentional learning…two critical elements in a 21st century education. The plan provides a framework for integrating the learning outcomes within the context of academic majors, co-curricular practices (engaged learning), student life opportunities, and personal and professional goals and experiences.

Oversight and Implementation of the Education Briefcase

The education briefcase is designed to be self-directed and intuitive for our students.
Students will only use the education briefcase if:

  • it is an integral aspect of their college life,
  • continually referenced in their academic coursework,
  • emphasized in student life events and activities,
  • built into the cocurricular opportunities available to students (for example, service learning, undergraduate research, international travel, field work),
  • monitored as part of their academic and career advising,
  • if it has utility beyond documenting the degree to which the global learning outcomes are met,
  • And if it is technologically and conceptually easy to use.

Administrative oversight for implementing the eB is shared between several units, with the Coulter Faculty Commons, IT, and the Education Briefcase Implementation Team (EBIT), chaired by Nory Prochaska, Director of the Math Tutoring Center, providing the bulk of the support. Although there is no staff administrator responsible for daily maintenance and monitoring of the eB, the
Office for Undergraduate Studies has primary responsibility for the eB, with technical and instructional support provided by the Coulter Faculty Commons (Jason Ottie, learning management systems support), Technology Commons (Technology Instruction-Peer Success; Laura Dinunzio), and others. Ultimately, academic departments, academic support units (e.g., Advising Center, Career Services, Center for Service Learning, International Programs and Services, the Coulter Faculty Commons and others) will oversee respective portions of the eBriefcase on an ongoing basis.

Implementation of the eBriefcase will begin in the fall semester, 2010, with all students enrolled in English 101 (over 730 students); assessments and updates to the eB will be completed during the 2010-11 academic year. A call for academic programs who wish to adopt the eBriefcase in the 2011-12 academic year will be issued in fall, 2010, so that appropriate resources and support can
be provided to those departments in the spring semester, 2011.

The Education Briefcase’s Platform

Our adoption of a new learning management system by Blackboard, version 9.1, in 2010, afforded WCU the opportunity to combine two major instructional support systems connected under one umbrella. Although the eBriefcase is constructed in Blackboard’s portfolio system and the online learning management system is also built by Blackboard, they are housed in separate entities that support each other. The portfolio system in Blackboard is the framework we are using for the eBriefcase. It is a robust, comprehensive, flexible portfolio system with potential for developing professional showcase presentations, communicating with faculty, advisors, prospective graduate school contacts, prospective employers, and others, and importantly, creating a rich tapestry of a student’s entire educational life at WCU.

Support for Students, Faculty, and Staff Using the Education Briefcase

Developing our education briefcase with the capacity for fostering student intentionality and integrative learning carries with it issues related to student autonomy over the eBriefcase. Beginning in 2011, new student Orientation sessions will include introductions to the eBriefcase for the 2,000+ freshman and transfer students who attend Orientation. Class TIPS, part of the Technology Commons, will be conducting the orientation introductions. Class TIPS will also provide tutorials imbedded in the eBriefcase, materials on the newly launched eB Web site (eBriefcase.wcu.edu), scheduled open-attendance workshops, and one-on-one student support. These resources are currently available for students enrolled in English 101.

The Coulter Faculty Commons provides campus wide, small group demonstrations of the eBriefcase to faculty and staff, as well as individual support to instructors who incorporate assignments related to the eBriefcase in their classes. See the Faculty Resources link on the eBriefcase Web site (eBriefcase.wcu.edu) for recommendations on incorporating. Staff in the Coulter Faculty Commons also offer training to faculty participating in the pilot and technical module support to units that have responsibility for specific modules in the eBriefcase and will be developing support for academic departments when they develop and control their major-related
sections of the eBriefcase.

Assessment and the Education Briefcase

The primary role of the eBriefcase (facilitate student learning) will be strengthened by the ability for academic departments, academic support areas, the QEP Assessment Committee, and Institutional Planning and Effectiveness to conduct authentic assessments of student learning. The Education Briefcase Implementation Team (EBIT) is exploring the process of using the eB to assist assessment without compromising student ownership or burdening faculty and staff, and while preserving the eB as a student- and learning-centered tool. Updates on assessment will be forthcoming.

Issues Remaining

There are a number of remaining issues to be resolved over the course of the next year that will impact the implementation of the eBriefcase, including but not limited to, faculty access, department oversight and monitoring, student acceptance and commitment, major- and cocurricular related common assignments, and authentic assessment. EBIT will facilitate forums on the eBriefcase and solicit feedback from its users. Academic departments and support units will recommend key assignments for students to include in their eBriefcases in addition to the artifacts students identify and include.

For More Information

eBriefcase@wcu.edu
eBriefcase.wcu.edu

eBriefcase Steering Committee

Dr. Nory Prochaska, Committee Chair
Director, Math Tutoring Center
Undergraduate Studies
828.227.3830
prochske@wcu.edu

Overview

The education briefcase (eB; eBriefcase) has been in development, conceptually and literally, for the last three years. The purpose of the eB is to foster our students’ ability to view their entire college experience holistically; major, minor, liberal studies, and elective courses as well as cocurricular (e.g., undergraduate research, service learning, internships) opportunities, student employment, participation in clubs, organizations, residential living programming, and intramurals, all contribute to our students’ educational development. The eB allows students to capture, retain, and reflect on their learning in a way that is formative, constructive, and meaningful. Electronic files of students’ work such as research papers, business and work plans, art, video, practical experience evaluations, field reports, laboratory analyses, formal presentations and posters, etc., will be compiled, organized, and stored with reflective statements created by students about the nature of their work and the relationship to the global learning outcomes established as part of Synthesis: a pathway to intentional learning, our institutional Quality Enhancement Plan. The five learning outcomes (civic engagement, effective communication, integrating information, solving complex problems, clarifying and acting on values and purpose) are designed to promote and realize synthesis and intentional learning…two critical elements in a 21st century education. The plan provides a framework for integrating the learning outcomes within the context of academic majors, co-curricular practices (engaged learning), student life opportunities, and personal and professional goals and experiences.

Oversight and Implementation of the Education Briefcase

The education briefcase is designed to be self-directed and intuitive for our students.
Students will only use the education briefcase if:

  • it is an integral aspect of their college life,
  • continually referenced in their academic coursework,
  • emphasized in student life events and activities,
  • built into the cocurricular opportunities available to students (for example, service learning, undergraduate research, international travel, field work),
  • monitored as part of their academic and career advising,
  • if it has utility beyond documenting the degree to which the global learning outcomes are met,
  • And if it is technologically and conceptually easy to use.

Administrative oversight for implementing the eB is shared between several units, with the Coulter Faculty Commons, IT, and the Education Briefcase Implementation Team (EBIT), chaired by Nory Prochaska, Director of the Math Tutoring Center, providing the bulk of the support. Although there is no staff administrator responsible for daily maintenance and monitoring of the eB, the
Office for Undergraduate Studies has primary responsibility for the eB, with technical and instructional support provided by the Coulter Faculty Commons (Jason Ottie, learning management systems support), Technology Commons (Technology Instruction-Peer Success; Laura Dinunzio), and others. Ultimately, academic departments, academic support units (e.g., Advising Center, Career Services, Center for Service Learning, International Programs and Services, the Coulter Faculty Commons and others) will oversee respective portions of the eBriefcase on an ongoing basis.

Implementation of the eBriefcase will begin in the fall semester, 2010, with all students enrolled in English 101 (over 730 students); assessments and updates to the eB will be completed during the 2010-11 academic year. A call for academic programs who wish to adopt the eBriefcase in the 2011-12 academic year will be issued in fall, 2010, so that appropriate resources and support can
be provided to those departments in the spring semester, 2011.

The Education Briefcase’s Platform

Our adoption of a new learning management system by Blackboard, version 9.1, in 2010, afforded WCU the opportunity to combine two major instructional support systems connected under one umbrella. Although the eBriefcase is constructed in Blackboard’s portfolio system and the online learning management system is also built by Blackboard, they are housed in separate entities that support each other. The portfolio system in Blackboard is the framework we are using for the eBriefcase. It is a robust, comprehensive, flexible portfolio system with potential for developing professional showcase presentations, communicating with faculty, advisors, prospective graduate school contacts, prospective employers, and others, and importantly, creating a rich tapestry of a student’s entire educational life at WCU.

Support for Students, Faculty, and Staff Using the Education Briefcase

Developing our education briefcase with the capacity for fostering student intentionality and integrative learning carries with it issues related to student autonomy over the eBriefcase. Beginning in 2011, new student Orientation sessions will include introductions to the eBriefcase for the 2,000+ freshman and transfer students who attend Orientation. Class TIPS, part of the Technology Commons, will be conducting the orientation introductions. Class TIPS will also provide tutorials imbedded in the eBriefcase, materials on the newly launched eB Web site (eBriefcase.wcu.edu), scheduled open-attendance workshops, and one-on-one student support. These resources are currently available for students enrolled in English 101.

The Coulter Faculty Commons provides campus wide, small group demonstrations of the eBriefcase to faculty and staff, as well as individual support to instructors who incorporate assignments related to the eBriefcase in their classes. See the Faculty Resources link on the eBriefcase Web site (eBriefcase.wcu.edu) for recommendations on incorporating. Staff in the Coulter Faculty Commons also offer training to faculty participating in the pilot and technical module support to units that have responsibility for specific modules in the eBriefcase and will be developing support for academic departments when they develop and control their major-related
sections of the eBriefcase.

Assessment and the Education Briefcase

The primary role of the eBriefcase (facilitate student learning) will be strengthened by the ability for academic departments, academic support areas, the QEP Assessment Committee, and Institutional Planning and Effectiveness to conduct authentic assessments of student learning. The Education Briefcase Implementation Team (EBIT) is exploring the process of using the eB to assist assessment without compromising student ownership or burdening faculty and staff, and while preserving the eB as a student- and learning-centered tool. Updates on assessment will be forthcoming.

Issues Remaining

There are a number of remaining issues to be resolved over the course of the next year that will impact the implementation of the eBriefcase, including but not limited to, faculty access, department oversight and monitoring, student acceptance and commitment, major- and cocurricular related common assignments, and authentic assessment. EBIT will facilitate forums on the eBriefcase and solicit feedback from its users. Academic departments and support units will recommend key assignments for students to include in their eBriefcases in addition to the artifacts students identify and include.

For More Information

eBriefcase@wcu.edu
eBriefcase.wcu.edu

eBriefcase Steering Committee

Dr. Nory Prochaska, Committee Chair
Director, Math Tutoring Center
Undergraduate Studies
828.227.3830
prochske@wcu.edu

 

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