The Career Concept Map: ePortfolio Content and Critical Thinking Skills

The Career Concept Map: ePortfolio Content and Critical Thinking Skills

Paul A. Fritz (University of Toledo, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1933-3.ch009

Abstract

Many undergraduates do little active reading about their intended professions. This becomes a problem when they interview with potential employers and cannot demonstrate their depth of knowledge about the job they seek. To help prevent this problem, the authors designed a semester-long project requiring the students to gather at least fifty news clippings from The Wall Street Journal about current issues in their careers. At semester’s end, students presented short speeches summarizing their career research on a concept map with two axes: North-South and East-West. They organized their presentations with evidence from their clippings in the map’s four quadrants: stories about jobs in this profession migrating to other countries, stories indicating jobs were being developed domestically, stories about a decreased need for jobs in the future, and stories about this profession’s increase of jobs. These clippings became documents for students’ ePortfolios.
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Setting The Stage

Some academic disciplines and professors may think that an undergraduate ePortfolio is a type of scrapbook of term papers and laboratory reports students have accumulated over their undergraduate careers. By scanning an ePortfolio’s contents an experienced instructor can make a reasonable estimate of the student’s intellectual depth. Academics may assume that potential employers reading the same ePortfolio would gain as much meaning from the content as they did.

Ward and Moser (2008) at the University of Findlay surveyed 700 employers to learn what portfolio content employers would find meaningful. The responses included: reports on campus or class projects, analyses of current employment problems, students’ proposed solutions to current workplace problems, interviews with industry leaders or diaries of how students managed a budget for a club project. 
 With just as an academic reading, an ePortfolio can perceive how well a student fits into the academic community, employers apparently want documents in the portfolio that might indicate how candidates might fit into the corporate world. Charlotte Braumer (2007), a professor at Samford University, found that employers saw many benefits for ePortfolios if they were filled with such practical writing samples. In her study, employers specifically indicated that reading an applicant’s ePortfolio would probably reduce the costs of hiring the wrong person to fill a position.

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