Episode 137 Nurturing Careers: The Role of ePortfolios in Nursing Education Part 2

Welcome to Digication
Scholars Conversations.

I'm your host, Kelly Driscoll.

In this episode, you'll hear Part Two of
my conversation with Tina Abbate, Clinical

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of
the Nursing Student Internship Program in

Stony Brook University School of Nursing.

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conversation can be found on Digication's

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So I was curious when they start creating
their ePortfolios, are there specific

templates or prompts that they use?

Uh, you mentioned that.

They're given some requirements on,
you know, certain kinds of content,

um, that they should include, but are
you utilizing any kinds of templates

or, or prompts as part of that process?

Yes, I think that type of
guidance is very important.

Um, so, uh, apart from the rubric, uh,
which we pulled from the literature

to decide like what we wanted them
to include in their, um, ePortfolio.

So, apart from the rubric, which like I
mentioned is very prescriptive, it leaves

very little to subjectivity, um, and
then again, we add that, you know, the,

the top tier points for visual appeal.

I also developed a template of
my own, um, so that they can have

something to peruse as they develop.

I think that, that's very helpful to them.

Um, so that they know that they know
exactly what to expect, um, right

in this e-portfolio assignment.



And so with the, the template that
you created, does that have, um, was

that kind of personalized for you
or is it kind of a sample student?

I've seen different approaches.

Yeah, at this point, I've made it very
generalized to the student, um, and,

uh, the nice thing about the template is
that you can include notes in there, like

a pro tip, you know, stuff like that.

So I made it very generic and, you know,
um, with some hints and, you know, uh, pro

tips in there and suggestions about how
to make a particular tab, um, enhanced.

So, yeah, no, no, no.

Mm hmm.

And is that where you're maybe giving
them ideas about, so you mentioned in the

kind of welcome page or, um, area where
they might be sharing some of their, uh,

background and, and why they're studying
what they're studying, that they're not

just using writing to communicate that,
that they're sometimes incorporating.

I don't know if they've done
any kind of video there.

Is that where you're giving them
some of those pro tips or have

they started to kind of see other
examples that are out there?

I do encourage them to look at
Digication's, um, uh, repertoire

of templates that they can't see.

I'd love to see a bit
more video and audio.

So, I was thinking about adjusting the
rubric and, and just making one part of

it, you know, have, have their welcome
page be a video or, or audio recording.

Um, so with the post licensure
students, I haven't seen that

much, but I feel like in the pre
licensure, I might see that much more.

Um, so I just kind of little thoughts
about how to make it a bit more,

um, bring it more to life, you
know, instead of too deep, you know?

Mm hmm.

Mm hmm.


It is really interesting, um, what
one can kind of learn about an

individual and what they, you know,
the way that they kind of communicate

who they are and what they know.

When they're speaking, whether they're,
you know, just speaking into a mic or on

camera, that's very different than I think
the kind of mode that folks might get in

when they sit down to, to write something.

And, um, we've often found that for,
you know, your students may be a little

more experienced in the process of
writing about themselves, but in a lot

of programs that we work with, for,
for some students, it's very hard to

just kind of sit down and, Fill in any
kind of welcome or about me, you know,

what, what do I have to contribute?

What, what values and skills
do I have, especially in that

kind of undergraduate setting?

Um, and sometimes doing a video or
audio recording can kind of open up that

space Doors for them that might not have
happened, you know, as quickly as if they

just had to sit down and write about it.

So it can be a great, um, way to get
people, you know, literally talking.

I think that would be seamless with my
pre licensure students because I have them

already do an elevator pitch assignment,
so it is literally 30 to 45 seconds,

like it's very short, um, quick pitch
about themselves, um, that I think would

work well that they could just take that
and just put it into their ePortfolio.

And I do hear anecdotally how hard it is.

And how they re record it several times.

I have them do a peer, a
peer assessment on that.

Oh nice!


That they, you know, have
that type of feedback.

Um, but it's hard.

It's hard to talk about yourself like
that, you know, in a short period of time.

So, I give them all the tools and
resources to make a very, You know,

succinct statement about themselves,
but that would really fit really

well into their ePortfolios.

Yeah, absolutely.

And, uh, it was funny because as
we were talking, I recently had,

uh, a conversation with a student
that, uh, did get their dream job

and it involved, he, he, he spoke
about it like he had to chase down.

Someone, um, at an event, you know, he
had the opportunity to, to get in front of

them and, um, you know, try to hook them.

And he was very, he was scared to do
it in the moment, but he was kind of

speaking about how, you know, if he
hadn't been prepared to kind of have

that pitch ready, that he might not
have made such an incredible impact.

that person that led to him
getting the, the current position.

So even though he was so nervous about
it, he was actually quite well prepared

and he, yeah, set him on his way.

So yeah, it is interesting, you know, how
preparing things and You know, different

modes and methods, you know, can, can
help you in different kinds of experiences

where you may have that opportunity
to, to make a connection with someone.

And I know earlier in the conversation,
you mentioned that, uh, you are using

this rubric that, uh, outlines, you
know, all of the kind of requirements

and specifications for what you're
looking for in thePortfolio.

And some of that is related
to the visual elements.

But what are some of the other kinds of
criteria that you have in that rubric?

Very often in working with different
schools and programs, they're very

interested in this kind of portfolio
pedagogy and reflective learning

and career oriented portfolios.

But when they Um, Kind of sit down to
think about, you know, how they're going

to assess them, may not already have,
uh, tools in place, and it sounds like

you've spent some time creating that
rubric as a way to make that process, you

know, straightforward for the students
and how they're going to be assessed and

also straightforward for their teachers.

Those that might be reviewing them.

So what are some of the other criteria
that you have in that rubric now?

I'm putting on the spot, you know

No, no, I'm thinking back to the rubric
I mean we have the welcome page the

nursing philosophy the goals Um, their
resume, their, um, poster project, um,

another section would be any awards
or honors that they have received.

I think that's a great opportunity,
you know, sometimes it's hard to

toot your own horn, but it's a great
way to professionally present some

of the things that you've achieved.

So that would be a section,
um, their contact information.

And that's pretty much it.

We, we don't have a ton of tools because
we want whoever to read it to be able

to do so in a short period of time.

So we just keep it as concise as possible.

Right, right.

That makes sense.

And then are there, um, is it kind
of, uh, You know, yes they did it, no

they didn't, or are there different
kinds of levels that they have for

the criteria that are listed there?

There's definitely different levels.

If they want the top tier max points
for each criteria, there needs

to be some visual appeal to it.

It needs to look good and the
information contained in that

category needs to be clear, you
know, succinct, if it's a narrative.

And just present it
well and appropriately.


And then as you're, uh, reviewing their
ePortfolios, is that something that

happens, you know, when maybe there's
certain kinds of milestones that are set

up, I know in, um, some courses, they
may look at them at the middle of the

semester and the end of the semester.

There's other faculty members
that have kind of weekly

submissions that are going on.

What's the kind of timeline for when the
students may begin their portfolio and

when it's kind of considered completed,
at least in the, um, context of your

course or maybe their, their program?

Um, and how often is it being
assessed and what's that process like?

We do one assessment at the end of
the semester, it's kind of like the

cumulative sort of career development
because they've gone through the

simulation for interviewing, they've
had their resume reviewed, they do

peer to peer resume review as well.

So we're slowly building up towards
this final product that's assessed

one time at the end of the semester.

Okay, and the, you know, from your
perspective with that assessment

process, um, is that I'm sure it
takes some time, but is that an

enjoyable kind of process for you?

And how might that Process differ from
maybe, you know, reviewing a kind of

standard paper or you mentioned the
poster presentations that the students do.

It's definitely a fun assignment to grade.

Because again, they just put together
this beautiful ePortfolio art, as

I mentioned earlier, and it's, it's
enjoyable for me to take that journey

through each ePortfolio because, you
know, every student has a different story.

And if they're willing to share
it, you can really pick up on that.

In their ePortfolio.

And you get to know, like, some of
these students have a very colorful,

um, in depth work histories that this
might be a second career for them.

Right, yeah.

So interesting to see where all these
individuals have come from and have

landed into the nursing profession.

So, I, um, have to tell you,
unless my course has a writing

requirement, I don't have papers.

Absolutely not.

I have completely eliminated them.

Um, there's just different ways now
with active learning and innovating,

innovative, uh, teaching practices now
that, uh, You know, unless you have a

writing requirement, I can understand,
but there's different ways to present

an assignment, um, that's not, you
know, 15 pages of narrative to read.


15 pages from a Word document
or a Google Doc or Sure.



And with AI too.

Oh, right.



Well, and we really encourage folks to
think about, you know, as you're, you

know, it's a space where you can actually
do the creation of the work as well.

You know, it doesn't have to be something
where you're creating and always, um,

posting it after the fact that it, you
know, because of its flexibility and.

Design options and, um, you know, ability
to, to, you know, get feedback and have

it reviewed, you know, it can be that
space for, uh, creation, uh, not just,

you know, sharing individual documents.

So it's wonderful to hear that you,
you know, Have that approach with your

students and are open minded about, you
know, even if they are doing writing

about them, themselves or their, um,
their history and experiences that

they can do that really within the, the
pages of thePortfolio and incorporating

other kinds of media as well.



Um, so I was curious, um, as part of the
assessment process, I know with Nursing.

There's a lot of, um,
professional practice standards

that they're working towards.

And are those mentioned at any point
in some of the materials that they're

presenting within thePortfolio?

I, you mentioned that
there's specific course.

Course learning objectives that
they're working towards as well.

So are those being kind of
included as part of that process?

I've seen that in some other, um,
nursing program oriented portfolio work.

Yeah, actually we are working towards
a competency based curriculum now.

So our accrediting body Has, um,
switched from, you know, most of

us have a content based curriculum.

Now, our accrediting body has
set up all of these different

competencies and we're in the
process, we'll adopt this next year.

And what we've done is we're
mapping out all of our competencies.

The competencies type, you know,
relate to the student learning

outcomes, the program outcomes,
everything is all like a giant matrix.

Yeah, well, so right now we're in
the process of, you know, taking

our assignments, matching them
up with the proper competencies.

And, um, I think that's a, a good
direction for us to go because

we're really want to be able
for students to demonstrate.

Core competencies that are important,
you know, so that we can graduate,

um, nurses at different levels, um,
with different abilities and maybe a

more sound critical thinking ability.

So right now we're in the process
of doing, doing all of that.

Well, it aligns really nicely with a whole
rollout of tools within Digication for,

um, Being able to essentially kind of tag,
uh, ePortfolio submissions to specific

learning outcomes, whether they're
some of these professional practice,

um, Standards or learning outcomes
for various courses that they have.

Um, so if you would like to, you
know, start to make use of some of

those tools, we can turn that on for
you whenever you're, you're ready.

And it can be a really valuable way to
continue to offer the kind of flexibility

for students to tell their, their stories
and, and share what they've done and

have this other kind of, Layer for your,
um, for the school of nursing to be

able to see how the students are really
meeting those benchmarks and to, to share

that with accrediting teams as well.

That's what I was just gonna say.

It'd be we have exemplars when they
come and, and do our visits and that

would be a great opportunity to show
them, this is how, you know, this

assignment is linked to this competency.


Student Learning Objective.

And it's an innovative way, I think.


So how are you able with the exemplars
that you have now, you know, when

you have accrediting team visits?

I know that that can be kind
of a stressful time, but It's

also somewhat celebratory.

Maybe the deep breath with it.

Yeah, for sure.

I know a lot of time and effort, you
know, goes into the preparation and then,

you know, when you do have that time
to celebrate what your students have

done with external audiences, you know,
maybe it'd be nice to have a little less

scrutiny, but it's there for a reason.

But, so I was curious, how are
those exemplars, um, shared with the

accrediting teams that are visiting now?

So we choose, you know, we pick
and choose what we'd like to share.

And we actually have, um, an
area designated within the

School of Nursing where those
individuals can be those exemplars.

Um, we do have some that are on
paper as well, um, but we, um, have a

repository, if you will, of exemplars
that, um, the accreditors can easily

access and visualize and assess.




And, um, do you know if the
ePortfolios have been, I know

they're kind of including work that
they may be doing in other courses.

Do you know if other nursing, um,
faculty have created other templates

that they might be using or if they,
um, ever see the kind of final results

that the students have created?

Uh, I'm not too sure.


I'm not, I would like to know if
the graduate, um, faculty use it

in any place in, in any of the
programs, but I'm not too sure.

Yeah, well, and we hear about that
often, especially in these kinds of

fields where thePortfolios are often
naturally private and not shared within

the school's ePortfolio directory.

Um, there's a lot of other disciplines
like the writing, Um, program at

Stony Brook that are often shared in
more of a public manner because the

students are interested in having their,
their writing viewed for their roles.

But yeah, often in healthcare,
they're, um, they're more private.

So often they're not, um, seen
by, by other faculty members.

Yeah, that's definitely a direction to
go though to kind of showcase their work

Yeah, as they're getting their To, you
know, prepare them for sharing as part of

the internship process and, uh, potential
showing them to potential employers.

Having that option to, to make them
more visible is, is very helpful.

And they always have that option for
password protection too, if they'd like.


Which is great.


So when the students are kind of,
um, getting near the completion,

uh, of thePortfolio for your course,
um, do you ever get feedback from

them about if there's certain things
that you want Areas of thePortfolio

that they may be most proud of.

I don't know if it's sometimes
the, the poster that they did or

maybe it is that welcome page.

Have you gotten feedback
from them about that?

The feedback that I've
received is more general.

Oh, that they, when they,
uh, evaluate the course.

Um, it's more of just a general, you
know, comment that they enjoyed putting

the ePortfolio together or, gee, there
was a little bit of a learning curve

there, but once I got it, I got it.


Um, but nothing specific
to particular aspects.


Because we don't ask those
like pointed type of questions.

So it's like a general, uh, feedback
as part of their course evaluation.


That makes sense.

That makes sense.

Um, so when, um, you mentioned that the
students right now aren't giving any

kind of peer feedback on thePortfolios
themselves, but that they do have

opportunities, um, as part of the Yeah.

Um, kind of interview, mock
interviews that they do.

What is that peer feedback process like?

We use a learning management
system called Brightspace.

There's the ability, um, for students
to give feedback, um, into something

that's been submitted by a student.

Um, so it's something that's
built into our LMS system, uh,

that they're assigned a resume to
give, um, feedback on based on.

Certain criteria, which is, you know,
like a rubric and the student can

use that to improve their resume,
for example, and then when they have

the simulation, um, the career center
will give them kind of the final.

Feedback on their resume.

So it's, you know, ready
and to go off the runway.

Well, that's awesome.

Well, Tina, thank you so
much for your time today.

It was wonderful to hear
about your experience and.

What brought you to Stony Brook
and the wonderful impact that your

work has had on the students there.

It was wonderful to spend some
time chatting with you today.


Thank you for having me.

I really appreciate this.


Take good care.

You too.

Coming up next, we'll be chatting
with JT Torres, Director of the

Center for Teaching and Learning
at Quinnipiac University.

Here's a quick preview.

I want everything to be just
in time, not just in case.

Right, I want people to be so immersed
in the moment that when they run up

against a challenge, and they don't
know how to respond to that challenge,

The faculty member swoops in with,
here's what you need to know right now.

And then I can incorporate
that, here's what I need to

know to overcome this challenge.

That develops into schema, right?

That develops into long term memory.

That's what we call active learning.

And that's also what we call agency.

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