Argument for E-Portfolios in STEM
Course Examples, Assignments and Rubrics
STREAMS SPIDER Network Program and Mentoring
Assessment and Deep Learning
Hints for Implementation and References
Different Models for Different Purposes
STREAMS at BSU has, as one of its core program components, a mentoring and networking program designed to assist freshmen and transfer students. The SPIDER Network program matches a web of four STEM students new to BSU with an experienced peer mentor, where all these students are in the same major. Program goals are to help the new students acclimate to the expectations of science and mathematics courses at Bridgewater, excel in those courses, learn about opportunities for student engagement outside the classroom that are relevant to STEM fields, and gain faster entry into their home department’s life.
As part of the SPIDER Network program, students create an online e-portfolio where they communicate with their web and peer mentor, highlight their work that semester, start to build an online resume’, and reflect on their progress and goals. Since the learning portfolio is not tied to a particular class, the prompts for reflection are designed to apply in general to students in the STEM fields new to Bridgewater. Students will create an evidence folder with examples of their work from that semester. They will reflect periodically on goal-oriented prompts, discussing their reflections with their web, and receiving feedback from their peer mentor and some selected faculty advisors from the BSU Academic Achievement Center.
The SPIDER Network will connect a small group of students physically and electronically, with the peer leader strongly encouraging behavior leading to students reaching out to other students and taking part in departmental and co-curricular events. The e-portfolio will be the glue that ties these activities together. Broadly speaking, the e-portfolio will help students “tell a story” about what they learned through the semester, explicitly connecting their learning and co-curricular activities with their professional goals as future scientists and mathematicians.
The STREAMS grant team aims to make the e-portfolio process as easy as possible for the students while providing them a platform for reflective thinking. The STREAMS SPIDER Network coordinator will provide prompts for student reflection, and will also train and oversee the peer network leaders. A STREAMS Graduate Assistant will keep a calendar of upcoming STEM activities and a list of opportunities for student involvement that the Network will distribute. The Grad Assistant will also assist the webs in creating their portfolios and will scan documents for students to include in their evidence sections.
While we liked this idea as part of the STREAMS program, it turned out to be very difficult to implement in practice and have discontinued the program.