S3 E24 How Nursing ePortfolios Enhance Learning and Empower Students

Welcome to Digication
Scholars Conversations.

I'm your host, Kelly Driscoll.

In this episode, you'll hear part
two of my conversation with Lillian

Rafeldt, professor of nursing at
Three Rivers Community College.

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There is something else beautiful
that you said about the learning

experience of your students.

I don't know if this is something
that you kind of think about

often, but you described it as this
kind of process of coming undone.

and then coming back together again,
and that there is this vulnerability

in the, uh, the coming undone.

And honestly, this is something
that happens to all of us through,

throughout our lives, um mm-hmm.

in our decision making.

This kind of lovely description of how,
you know it is in that vulnerability and

the, the strength that they're finding
when things do come back together again,

that's kind of solidifying why they really
did make the best choice for themselves

in moving into this particular field and
the, the kind of life changing impact

that it has had on them to, to do so.

Um, and I was curious, um, with some of
the students as they're kind of going

through this process of, you know,
coming undone and coming back to together

again and sharing some of what they've
done, um, after they've gone through

their reviews, it sounds like they do
sometimes have the opportunity to share.

These, um, portfolios or maybe some
curated versions of that with external

audiences, if they have shared with you,
um, you know, what, what that experience

was like and maybe some of the feedback
that they got from, from those audiences,

whether it was from family or friends or.

Um, maybe some of them have used
the e-portfolios to get employment.

Um, I would love to hear if you've
gotten some stories from students

about, about that aspect as well.

Um, Many stories from family and friends
who they're like, oh, so this is why

I never saw you, um, or, because
there was so . You know, there, there

are are activities that you miss when
you're in any professional program.


So it just Oh, sure.

Help solidify the family and how
they helped with dinners or whatever

they helped with at different points.

Um, and, and a sense of pride, right?

A sense of pride.

When we have the pinning ceremonies,
some students have taken pictures from

different experiences and they put
together a whole slideshow with, um, While

people are coming into the auditorium
waiting for the ceremony to begin.

So there's that whole visual and,
and, you know, from the beginning, all

right, you know, funny pictures too.

And, and so, so maybe not as many patient
stories, but stories about themselves.

Okay, so that's there.

Um, the, the employers is an
actual interesting question.

Um, and that's possibly because
we're regarded well, so I will say

electronically, students can put the
link to an e-portfolio, another mm-hmm.

E-portfolio, another learning
portfolio that they've used all the

time, but a, uh, more polished, um,
portfolio that they wanna share.

They do put that link on
that electronic submission.

and the feedback we've gotten is
that some people actually click into

it, but some people do not because
they prefer an in-person interview.


So, um mm-hmm.

. Mm-hmm.

. So, but, but I will share
one thing with you in how.

Portfolios are being used, let's
say for me, professionally, right?



. So it's not the beautiful
story portfolio, right?

What it is is I just reapplied
for my certified nursing

educator, um, you know, renewal.

And what was interesting to me, you
have to do this every five years.

You can either take the exam.

Or submit how you're meeting
each of the eight outcomes.


So, mm-hmm.

, I did it.

I submitted it.

Do you know it was a
portfolio system, right?

Provide a reflection, an artifact,
and how, um, you've achieved this.

And I got a response back within a day.

Alright, that you have now earned
your next five year renewal.

In previous years you did fill out
electronic submissions, but it wasn't

set up in a portfolio, so Right, right.

So it's a different type of portfolio,
but I would say that the speed in

which I received my reply was amazing.

It was amazing.


So yeah, so in that sense there's
that, um, the schools per se.

Um, also some students share, we have
many articulation agreements, so there's

multiple factors of why, um, Students
articulate into different programs.

Um, but again mm-hmm.

, I think it's the thinking process.

It may not be the actual product,
but it's the thinking process.


that has been developed in the
student that helps them to succeed

with employer interviews and within
school work, um, and graduate work.

Um, And in academia, actually, many
of the four year ac um, academic

settings, they ask for a portfolio.

So those people that have access to
previous work they've done can be used.

And do you know, for the students that
may be developing, uh, these more kind

of, I think you referred to them as
polished versions of their portfolio,

um, that aren't the same portfolios where
they may have been doing more of their

storytelling or these kind of mm-hmm.

case studies of their experiences.

Um, , do you know what the, the
process is like for them as they may be

creating that, um, additional portfolio?

What, as we're working, and I'm asking
this because as we're working with

different institutions and organizations
around, uh, portfolios in the variety

of different ways that the technology
can support teaching and learning and

preparation for career after graduation.

You know, we very often get asked
this question of, you know, well,

you know, we want students to be able
to create these learning portfolios,

but we also want them to have this
kind of showcase portfolio and, you

know, how are we gonna manage that?

And, you know, Jeff and I, well and,
uh, all of the kind of evolution

that's happened within our product
that it's always been, you know,

a space for students to be able to
create really as many kind of separate.

ePortfolios or, um, you know, collections
of work and experiences that they may need

to, to share with different audiences.

So, um, even though this question comes
up so much, we're always like, well, you

know, this, this is how we've solved this.

You know, we make it really easy for
students to, you know, create whatever

they need and, uh, you know, that
they can easily kind of copy and move

things from one portfolio to another.

They can add new pages, they could
duplicate the whole thing and

then go in and make modifications.

But I'm curious if you could share a
little bit about, uh, within nursing, Some

of the, um, practices are specifically
for your students if they are developing

a portfolio that has more of this kind
of, um, in the field kind of story

storytelling element, and then, you know,
what that might look like as they're

creating a different version that they
may wanna share with other people.


So, so I mean that, that traditional
model that they have, um, You know,

you put in that brief resume, you,
you say your experience per se.

Um, I do believe you might have multiple
showcase portfolios because depending

on the position you're applying for, you
do need to match to right the position.


So, so right, right.

That you might have certain areas that
are the same, but ultimately your goal

would be there, um, as to what you
want, and then supporting evidence as to

how you would be qualified to do that.

Some of the, you know, looking
at the employer's website and

what are their core values.

For instance, one of our hospital's
values integrity and communication

and patient centered care.

So if you address their core
values, um, then, right?

That would be the best way to do that.

Now I do.

. So here's my question though.

This is my question because mm-hmm.

HR in theory is not supposed to
know what you look like, right?


in theory.


. because I, I, truthfully, one of the best
things I would think would be to have,

you know, maybe a one minute introductory
video being that Digication, you can,

um, you know, video actually straight
through, um, the computer itself.


and upload that.

I mean, yes, you can use your phone
and you can upload things and,

and, but would that be accepted?

That, I don't know.

Um, because I'm not in an HR department.

All right.

So I don't know.



Um, and I think it's an important
conversation and I think it's one that,

you know, I will continue to kind of
evolve over time with, with technology

and vary by different fields and
organizations and, and what's accepted.

I mean, I think we know now.

Whether someone is submitting or a
resume or a link to their portfolio that.

The ability to simply Google someone and
see pictures of who they are or yeah.

Their, how they live and breathe
on a variety of different

social media platforms.

You know, that that's the reality that
we live in now that it's very visual.


. So I do think it's a, it's an
interesting conversation and it'll

be, um, something, you know, to
continue to watch and respond to.

And I think the more.

Open conversations we're able to
have with the organizations mm-hmm.

that, that we know may be hiring from
our programs and institutions and,

you know, what is it that they value?

Knowing about these, uh, potential
candidates, you know, what are, what are

they hoping that they can capture about
them from their, you know, about me or

their cover letters or their resumes,
so that, That the kind of coaching and

mentoring that we give the students is
gonna be, um, you know, in line with

what the employers are, are looking for.

Yeah, and you spoke a little bit earlier
too, that some of the students, um, as

they may be going through the, the process
of creating these more, um, Uh, kind

of different versions of their career
oriented portfolios that they, they may

actually be creating more than one and,
um, that they have the ability to kind of

shape and model and kind of pull evidence
and experiences that align with the

very specific kinds of job opportunities
that they may be applying for.

Um, Which is lovely to hear, and
I think a real asset with some of

the, the customization available.


And, and the one actually, um, if
they could do a visual, I would think

they should do something of what's
called that elevator statement.


If you see somebody in an elevator who
would hire you and in one minute or

less tell them why they should actually
hire you or interview you at least.

Um, and that would be
a great opening, right?

Um, if the visual was part of what
you could do, uh, because mm-hmm , it

just makes sense, you know, that
quick, you know how most humans are.

They're like, okay, let
me see in two seconds.

or less, should I keep watching?


? Um, right, right.

And then somehow incorporating if you
can, besides the hard, um, resume, the,

that you are demonstrating soft skills.


Because most employers really, they say
they can train all other types of things,

but not necessarily the soft skills if
you don't come with those, so, So that

might be something in all those Right.

Other portfolios.


And, and how you might have,
um, you know, a, a fit with.

The other colleagues within the
organization or really bring

in a new perspective that they
desperately need and don't have yet.

And, um, mm-hmm.

, you know, all of these are things that I
think would be incredibly hard to gather

from, you know, bullet points on a resume.

But I think that we have the ability
to, um, , you know, get quite a lot

of that information that we're looking
for from sometimes these very brief,

but media oriented kinds of, um,
storytelling, you know, where we're

sharing a little bit about who we are
and why we believe we would be, um,

a good addition to a team and what
skills we bring to the table and...

So, um, I think it's a lovely perspective
and one that, um, you know, as you're kind

of continuing to, you know, I, I believe
be a kind of trailblazer in e-portfolios

within the nursing field to kind of keep
pushing at the edges of what, what this

technology can do for your students.

While they're moving through your courses
and in their clinical experiences,

um, it's a beautiful thing that you've
developed this community for the students

to provide mentorship for each other.

Um, I did wanna touch on one other
thing that you mentioned earlier about.

And I believe you said you've already
started to do this, but, uh, correct me

if I'm wrong, maybe it's something that
you're planning for, but have you also

started to invite, um, alumni to take
part in some of this mentorship as well?


We, um, asked the graduates
of, of the spring semester, um,

to come back and share things.

About testing, about studying, about
getting ready for the program and what

to, you know, do those type of things.

And so they came back and
created some videos and we.

Asked a variety of
cultures, um, to do that.

And, you know, some came directly
into school, um, and we set up the

cameras and did it that way and
did it, you know that a few of them

were there together for support.

We'll be meeting as a group soon because
we're going out to either lunch or dinner.

Um, and I've been sharing how it's worked.

It has been supportive.

We did have one student create,
um, the way he passed NCLEX.

Um, He did it while he
was sitting in his car.

It was very, it was a funny
video, but it was right on.

It was just, yep.

That makes so much sense.

So that was something shared with all
the faculty and then they could choose

to put it into their Blackboard shell.

Um, but I have the video.


, when I talk about the Digication future,
um, You know, that it would happen.

So, so that's what we're doing.

There are graduates from the past,
um, who have said they're willing

to help and meet either in person
or virtually, or how we wanna do it.

Um, we just have to have more of
a structure too, uh, to mm-hmm.

, because our curriculums have changed.

So, so in the sense of mm-hmm.

, if.

Somebody from a previous
curriculum wants to mentor someone.

We just have to be a little careful, um,
as to, well, let's just run through what

mentoring really means and what you would
be sharing and what you know, might have

been changes and that type of stuff.

So that's a ongoing process.

But definitely we don't have a nursing
alumni association, but we do have.

Nurses connected on Facebook.

So , you know, most of them, we
don't friend them as educators when

they're in the program, but after,
um, they graduate if they'd like to.

And, and even if they don't graduate
and they, you know, move on to something

else if they'd like to after, um, they're
welcome to ask to friend any of us.


Many of us have quite a few followers.

And so in that way we've stayed connected.

So it, it looks like it's going to
evolve into a more formalized, um, way.

Right now we just track
people, have you passed NCLEX?

Okay, where do you work?

How long do you work there?

You know, that kind of stuff, right?

But now it's, it's moving
into some other areas.

Um, and, you know, can I, like
I say, with that, that larger,

um, e-portfolio collage, let's
call it a collage of mentoring.


, um, you know that ha,
that does have potential.

All right.

And again, you're inspiring me to, to
keep, keep moving on with this song,

I have the context now.

I have to move them into digital

I have, uh, all the faith that
you'll be able to, uh, keep

moving that, that forward.


Um, and I know we're getting close
to the, the end of our time, um, but

I did wanna touch a little bit on.

The assessment of the
student e portfolios as well.

We spent a good bit of time talking
about the mentorship it at some stage.

Um, are these, uh, e-portfolios
going through any kind of

formal assessment process?

We have some nursing programs that use
them, um, specifically for, um, You

know, assessment towards professional
practice standards and learning outcomes,

and in some cases, some program level
kinds of accreditation activities.

Is that something that's happening
within nursing at Three Rivers as well?

Um, our focus more at Three Rivers
has been the general education

assessment to bring it across.


, the college.

Um, that was our push, um,
with Kem Barfield and, and, um,

Mike Stutz and Terry Delaney.

We pushed it in that way so that
yes, we're assessing, um, artifacts

related to science or any of
the general education courses.

That nursing has had, um, we did change
the curriculum from a three credit

course to a one credit leadership
course, so that in essence in nursing,

that changed the, um, assignment to
some degree to respect student time.

. So the assessment is there,
but it's more informal.

Um, is it growing?


, it reemerging again.

Yes, of course it has to because
accreditors now are asking

to see authentic assessment.


Authentic assessment.

So right.

No longer, can you just say, our NCLEX
pass rate is always about 90 or 100%.

Um, here are our mountain measure reports.

You have to say, well, What
artifacts or what reflections are

you choosing to demonstrate authentic
assessment and in that case, right.

Um, Digication comes
back to life in that way.

And, um, I just, anybody who's listening
to this, I do want them to understand that

there's an ebb and a flow to the process.

Um, and again, it has
to do, I mean, when you.

You know, um, faculty change positions
and, and especially in nursing,

faculty might go back to practice cuz
it's a different pay differential.

So, um mm-hmm.

, it's, you know, there's a, there's a
training process and a uh, um, you know,

excitement process about using this and.

We've passed accreditation.

So, you know, eight years
from now, not quite.

That was a while ago.

You know, it keeps reemerging.


What is our authentic assessment?

Um, and so that's how
curriculum meetings go.

So it is reemerging again, it,
it's, it's the ebb and flow.


But Three Rivers definitely.

Um, we do have that five year cycle of
all the elements of the gen ed assessment

and, you know, we're science is diligently
putting in artifacts for the whole

college to review, um, in January, and
then we'll move on to our next set of.

You know, in May and that type of thing.

And that's been a fun process, um,
for faculty to learn that assessment

is part of, um, teaching too.

And also to see that we at Three
Rivers treat assessment in a

positive way, that it's not meant to
penalize any instructor, you know.

, if the cla, it's not a class
assessment of a person, right?

It's a let's look at the college, the
program and areas we need to, to show.

And let's say for instance, when we looked
at communication artifacts, um, you know,

public speaking, and we looked at those
and they were, they were in Digication.

It was fun to review.

The outcomes became, okay, we
need this better equipment.

We need to structure the
assignment differently, not.

Who wasn't doing what.

So really assessment needs to be thought
of in a positive way, in a growth way.

So that's, that's where we
are at Three Rivers right now.

And we kind of think about
it with, um, you know, being

able to draw from that data.


, you know, one other piece
to the story, right?

And it's often this data that
gives the, you know, the kind of

information that's needed to make.

Decisions that are going to create
the best opportunity for the students.

And that might be that, you know,
budget changes need to be made

to allocate more for resources,
to improve classrooms, et cetera.

So it's, it's often, um, You
know, when everything gets pulled

together, it, it's really not a
story about, um, an an individual.

It, it's really about how all
of the pieces come together.

Um, and the, the data can
actually show that quite.

Quite clearly and, and Three Rivers
has so much that has been collected,

you know, since 2014 as evidence of
the student learning across general

education through that time period.

It's really remarkable.

Yeah, so, but thank you so much
for, for touching on that too.

And you remind me of the, our login too.

So our login, it's is tied directly
so that there's not multiple logins.

I mean, that came through
in, through our system.

But the other thing is that if you are
a graduate now or an alumni, you have

the ability to save your portfolio.


Which, um, is something
that is very valuable.

And when you talk about the future
and, and career portfolios, the ability

to, to go back and see that if you're
moving on to a different, different,

um, position or if you're moving into
the BSN program or the MSN program later

on, that having that ability to not only
have your portfolio while you're in.

School, but have your portfolio,
um, as an alum too is is an

excellent, um, opportunity that
we have through Digication.

So thank you for that.

Oh yeah, absolutely.

And you know, when we created this
technology, um, myself and um, co-founder

Jeffrey Yan, it, we always had this
knowledge that it's important for the

students to be able to have all of
that evidence of what they did while

they were a student is something that
they can continue to hold onto and that

they can continue to go back in and.

Refine and share as they need to.

And I know you mentioned within nursing
that there's, you know, some requirements

in continuing your professional
development and having a space where you

can keep adding evidence of what you've
done and reflections on those experiences

so that when you are up for those kinds
of renewals or recertifications mm-hmm.

that it's material that you can
all, um, get back to and, and.

, you know, download if you need to or
share publicly if that's appropriate.

And, um, so we've really paid a lot
of attention into trying to make, um,

something that will be valuable for
students after graduation as well.


? Yep.

So thank you very much, Lily.

It was wonderful to
connect with you today.

I really appreciate this time for us
to kind of go down memory lane a little

bit and also celebrate what you've
done and brainstorm some new ideas too.

Uh, I can't wait to see where some
of these new plans of yours go,

and we'll have to connect again
in the not too distant future

and see how things are evolving.

That sounds wonderful.

All right.

Thank you, Kelly.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Take good care.

This concludes our conversation.

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