Too often our students consider their work in the classroom as required assignments—not work that has anything to do with what they will be doing in the real world. Oh, maybe they are picking up some skills they might use in their future employment, but that’s about it. As teachers, how do we get students to understand that the work they do in our classes—such as team projects, community service, technical papers, and even research—is relevant to what they will be doing after they graduate? How do we encourage them to keep their materials and use them to validate their work as students? I think I have an answer. Teaching an e-portfolio capstone course for several years has given me a perspective that I believe should be the framework for validating student learning outcomes across all institutions of higher education.
As an instructor of Cisco Networking Academy training for 12 years, I’ve tried many types of teaching strategies. The students in this area of the CIS Department bring various technical and soft skills to the classroom, from less-than-fundamental to exceptional. In relation to these skills, The National Business Education Association (Glenn, 2011) reported that workforce requirements suggest that educational institutions should do more to help their students develop the “four Cs”: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.