In this poster session, we will explain how students can exit an online Liberal Arts program with personalized ePortfolios, where they make, state, demonstrate, and support their individually defined and developed Competency, Application, and Skill Emphasis (C.A.S.E.) Liberal Arts majors are routinely undervalued for lacking “career readiness,” as compared to majors in career-oriented degree programs. Nevertheless, leaders across multiple sectors assert that liberal arts graduates have skills deemed broadly applicable and desirable, including, but not limited to critical thinking, writing, analysis, research, and multi-cultural perspectives. Despite such affirmations, misconceptions about the marketability of liberal arts degrees place particular pressures on first-generation and non-traditional students who would otherwise derive great benefit and lifelong competencies from pursuing such studies. Our approach, unlike other online liberal arts degree programs, provides explicit support for students throughout their course of study in terms of documenting, reflecting upon, refining, and expressing the extent their competencies can be applied in and beyond the workplace. Our ePortfolio design is driven by what we call C.A.S.E.-based learning conceived after surveying various ePortfolio systems, uses, and applications. Students learn to develop and deploy their C.A.S.E., informed by self-identified and instructor supported goals and objectives. Through the use of ePortfolios, we emphasize closing the knowledge-to-competency gap by creating a modality that helps students visualize their futures more concretely, which, in turn, serves as a degree completion motivator. Finally, student-driven identification of paths to attaining competency objectives makes this approach to online liberal arts education directly relevant to achieving individualized goals.
Associate Professor of History, Department of Education and Liberal Arts, University of Arizona Global Campus, Arizona, United States Cheri Ketchum
Student, PhD, University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC), United States
EPortfolios, Liberal Arts, Online Learning, Non-traditional learners, Competencies, Individualized, Career Readiness, Applied Learning, Lifelong Learning, Motivation, Degree Completion