The Master of Occupational Therapy Program has developed a department specific portfolio which serves as an instrument for program learning outcome measurement. In previous years, our students have completed a portfolio as a hard copy assignment, however, in the Fall quarter of 2015 we decided to transition to using the Livetext ePortfolio program. In part, we chose to make this change to promote ease of process for PLO assessment completion and accreditation reporting. We were also hopeful that the students would view the ePortfolio as a tool for developing a professional career portfolio in preparation for transition from student to professional.
Development of the portfolio is integrated into our students’ final didactic quarter of the program, in a course which focuses on their upcoming transition to the professional world. Through this course, students prepare for their National Certification Examination, in addition to building resumes, refining interviewing skills, developing a professional development plan, and preparing for professional expectations in the workplace. It seemed a natural fit to include development of a professional career portfolio, to be shared with prospective employers, as well as to be used as a tool to inspire reflection and growth, as they furthered their development in these areas.
The content outline of the portfolios was determined through collaboration between the program chair, program director, and faculty who teach the course. Consideration was given to items which both could clearly provide assessment measurement and meet learning goals for the students in the program. The faculty of the course then developed specific assignment prompts for each content area which could elicit the information needed to serve this dual purpose. Didactic oriented assignments include a research abstract, service learning abstract, and development of a personal philosophy of occupational therapy. Assignments which enhance this projects use as a career portfolio consist of development of a resume, personal statement, and long-term career goals, the latter of which outlines a students projected career path for years 1, 3, and 5 post-graduation. See table below for a comparison of ePortfolio content sections with select course objectives and accreditation standards.
In addition to these objectives, our department desired students to demonstrate development and competency in Loma Linda University institutional values. To achieve this, wholeness, service, and core values have been emphasized through student reflection of program experiences, including service learning, clinical, research, and mission opportunities. We believe this to serve as a means for students to process the value of these experiences, as well as to appreciate the responsibility of integrating these concepts into their professional roles long after their student participation in our program. We additionally saw this as method for demonstrating the well roundedness and strengths of our students and alumni as a result of our university mission when sharing with prospective employers and professionals outside of our system.
Once students complete the ePortfolio, course faculty directly assess program learning outcomes using a PLO rubric in Livetext. This then allows the program director to view summative data regarding our student’s progress in achieving these outcomes, and to consolidate this information with that of other courses for annual accreditation and university reporting requirements. Our department additionally uses these outcomes for quality improvement purposes, at our annual curriculum retreat, during which faculty consider strengths and potential gaps in courses and overall program performance.