Assessing and Documenting Student Civic Learning

July 2011 AAEEBL Conference,
Boston, MA
Assessing & Documenting Student Civic
Learning through ePortfolios
Kristin Norris
Kathy Steinberg
Mary Price
Susan Kahn
Indiana University Purdue University
Indianapolis (IUPUI)
How many of you…..
• Are familiar with the
concept of ePortfolios?
• Currently use ePortfolios?
• Use ePortfolios in the
context of service-learning
and civic/community
Session Goals
• Introduce ePortfolios & civic learning at IUPUI
• Discuss implications of civic learning in higher
• Define a ‘civic-minded graduate’
• Provide you with a suite of tools to assess civicmindedness, including ePortfolio application
Institutional Context
• Campus Culture
• Campus Assessment Culture
- Principle-based approach
to general education
• Campus ePortfolio
Campus Commitment Civic Engagement
Alternative Spring
Sam H. Jones Community
Service Scholarship
George Washington
Community Schools
Campus Challenge for Civic Learning
• Demonstrate the value-added
dimensions of SL/CE to multiple
• Critically assess how SL/CE
experiences contribute to civic
Civic Learning in the context of
Higher Education
What is the purpose of civic learning?
What are the implications of civic learning
on higher education?
Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile
• Preparing students for responsible citizenship is
a widely acknowledged purpose of higher
• Higher education is experimenting with new
ways to prepare students for effective
democratic and global citizenship.
• In developing civic competence, students engage
in a wide variety of perspectives and evidence
and form their own reasoned views on public
High-Impact Practices (by Kuh, AAC&U,
First-Year Seminars & Experiences
Common Intellectual Experiences
Learning Communities
Writing-Intensive Courses
Collaborative Assignments & Projects
Undergraduate Research
Diversity/Global Learning
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
Capstone Courses & Projects
Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile
• The objectives of Civic Learning rely
considerably on students’ out-of-classroom
experiences and their development of a capacity
for analysis and reflection.
The Intellectual Commons—Musil (2009)
Essential Questions for
• Who I am? (knowledge of self)
Intellectual Commons
• Who are we?
• What does it feel like to be
them? (empathetic knowledge)
• How do we talk to one another?
(intercultural process
• How do we improve our shared
lives? (applied, engaged
Students should be able to:
• Gain a deep, comparative knowledge of the world’s peoples and
• Explore the historical legacies that have created the dynamics and
tensions of their world;
• Develop intercultural competencies to move across boundaries and
unfamiliar territory and see the world from multiple perspectives;
• Sustain difficult conversations in the face of highly emotional and
perhaps uncongenial differences;
• Understand – and perhaps redefine – democratic principles and
practices within an intercultural and global context;
• Secure opportunities to engage in practical work with fundamental
issues that affect communities not yet well served by their societies;
• Believe that actions and ideas matter and can influence their world
(Hovland, 2005)
Civic Learning
At IUPUI and your campus
Defining Civic Engagement
• Civic engagement is the acting on a heightened
sense of responsibility to one’s communities that
encompasses the notions of global citizenship
and interdependence, participation in building
civil society, and empowering individuals as
agents of positive social change to promote
social justice locally and globally. (Musil, 2009)
Definition of Civic Engagement at
• Active collaboration that builds on the resources,
skills, expertise, and knowledge of the campus
and community to improve the quality of life in
communities in a manner consistent with the
campus mission ( .
Service Learning Defined
• Service learning is a course-based, creditbearing educational experience in which
▫ Participate in an organized service activity that
meets identified community needs, and
▫ Reflect on the service activity in such a way as to
gain further understanding of the course content,
a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an
enhanced sense of personal values and civic
responsibility .
Civic-Minded Graduate
A developmental model for looking at
student development of a sense of civic
Civic-Minded Graduate
• Civic Mindedness refers to a
person’s inclination or
disposition to be “mindful” of
the community and to his/her
duties as a citizen of that
community. This includes
being aware of community
strengths, weaknesses, issues,
organizations, and individual
• A civic-minded graduate is
skillfully trained through
formal education (bachelor’s
degree or equivalent), and has
the capacity and desire to work
with others to achieve
collective public goods.
Steinberg, Hatcher, & Bringle (in press)
How do you assess Civic
CMG can be used to assess:
• Civic identity
• Understanding how social issues are addressed
in society
• Active participation in society to address social
• Collaboration with others (includes diversity
issues, interconnectedness, mutuality, and
• Benefit of education to address social issues
Tools CSL has developed to assess
• SL Course Evaluation
• CMG Scale
• CMG Narrative, sub-prompts, and Rubric
Why Civic Learning ePortfolios?
Why Now at IUPUI?
Value of ePortfolios for Service
• Most assessment tools are self-report
instruments (nationally and locally)
• Eportfolios provide “authentic” assessment
• Draw on strengths of Service Learning
▫ critical reflection
• Eportfolios are not just for research
▫ also for course use and program assessment
▫ designs can be simple or complex
Various forms of Portfolios at IUPUI
• Course-based (ex - First Year Seminars ,
• Process (Matrix)
• Assessment/Evaluation (Matrix with Evaluation
tools and report functionality)
• Presentation (both students and faculty)
Service Learning Assistant
Process Matrix within Portfolio site
Kristin Norris ([email protected])
Kathy Steinberg ([email protected])
Adelman, Cliff, Peter Ewell, Paul Gaston, and Carol G. Schneider (2011).
Degree Qualifications Profile. Lumina Foundation: Indianapolis, IN.
Hovland, K. (2005). “Shared futures: Global learning and social
responsibility”. Diversity Digest, 8(3), 1, 16-17.
Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who
has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of
American Colleges and Universities.
Musil, C (2009). Educating students for personal and social responsibility:
The civic learning spiral. In B. Jacoby, Civic engagement in higher
education: Concepts and practices (pp. 49-68). San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass.
Steinberg, Kathryn S., Julie A. Hatcher, and Robert G. Bringle (2011). “A
North Star: Civic-Minded Graduate.” Paper submitted to Michigan Journal
for Community Service Learning.

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