Queens adopts Portfolium for its students

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On August 26, 2019, students received an email from Sarah Fatherly announcing the implementation of a new social media outlet into the Queens University of Charlotte identity.

Portfolio systems are fairly common among institutions of higher education, and Queens landed on a new system called ‘Portfolium.’

Since 2017, Queens has utilized the ‘Yes/And’ strategic imperative, implemented during the administration of former President Pamela Davies in order to brand Queens as an institution where students can participate in multiple aspects of life without having to fear that they could not fully commit to each. 

After creating a task force for Yes/And (now defunct) and attending a conference on digital portfolios, the Queens administration decided to integrate Portfolium into the initiative, an online portfolio system in which students can post and compile any academic work they wish to from their college tenure.

“It was decided that a good way to kind of kind of keep track and institutionalize and help students sort of make sense of their time in college was to use an online portfolio system, so that’s where Portfolium came in,” said Margaret Commins, Shelton professor of political science and member of the Yes/And Task Force.

Dr. Daniel Terry, Director of Yes/And Initiative and associate professor in the Cato School of Education, was not a member of the task force but has had prior experience with digital portfolio systems.

“The reason that I think they chose to go with Portfolium is that it’s a fairly structured approach to doing digital portfolio work, he said. “Some other portfolio systems are much more creative and from scratch. Portfolium comes to the student in a little bit more structured way, structured in ways that students are fairly familiar with the look and the feel of it.”

For Professor Shawn Bowers, Portfolium impressed with its privacy settings that allowed students various levels of personal liberty as to who has access to certain pieces of work. She is also excited by the similarities Portfolium shares with other platforms of social media used by many college students.

“It looks and functions, to me, a little bit like Facebook,” she said. “It has the banner, you’re able to pick profile picture, background picture, but it’s a more professional sort of thumbprint of yourself. It’s much more storytelling than a piece of paper with, ‘Here are the things that I’ve done.’”

For Jeffrey Thomas, a professor in interdisciplinary studies and associated director of biology and member of the Yes/And task force, Portfolium adds a boost to students’ validity with potential employers by allowing them to directly portray their work by pairing their portfolio with LinkedIn.

 “’I’m really smart’ or ‘I’m a great communicator, and you write that on your resume, people go like “Uh-huh, sure you are.’ So digital portfolios allow you to say, ‘Alright, I have good communication skills and, in fact, here is a link to a video of one of my presentations.’ Or “Here is actually one of my papers that I wrote in class, and you can verify for yourself that I actually have the skills that I say that I do.’ So it can function as, in some ways, a digital resume,” he said.

Portfolium will not be required for any students at Queens but will be encouraged heavily through first-year Roadmap courses. This will allow for students to build a robust portfolio throughout their four-plus years at Queens. Upperclassmen and faculty will not receive as much instruction but will still have access to the site. 

“The process we’re gonna start later this semester is getting opportunities to introduce Porfolium to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, through workshop kinds of settings and where we can introduce them to what the tool is, how to use it, how it can be beneficial, the kinds of things that they can put in it that employers might be interested in seeing in terms of examples of your work,” said Terry.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.