Jill Tomasson Goodwin (Department of Drama and Speech Communication)
Katherine Lithgow (Centre for Teaching Excellence)
In 2016, Jill and Katherine received a Learning and Innovation Teaching Enhancement (LITE) grant to fund their research project Bridging the Articulation of Skills Gap through WatCV: Career and Competency ePortfolios. The WatCV ePortfolio initiative is a research project involving 22 courses; 18 unique instructors, 23 teaching assistants; 1700 students; and 4100 ePortfolio reflections written and graded. It is also a teaching and learning intervention. As a practice, WatCV makes professional, transferable employability skills explicit and visible to instructors, students and next-stage stakeholders such as employers.
The project responded to a 2013 research study on employability that noted post-secondary institutions can advance student employability by integrating soft-skills and problem-solving learning objectives (Finch, Hamilton, Baldwin & Zehner, 2013). In addition, it built upon their 2014-2015 pilot study that compared a non-WatCV control group and a WatCV experimental group on their ability to articulate, using a structured reflection, employability skills (such as team work, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking) tacitly acquired while completing coursework. The results were promising: the WatCV experimental group provided good evidence of retention, articulation, and transfer of learning (p < .05) six months after course completion. Furthermore, WatCV supports the university- and government-level mandate to ensure students meet the Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations, particularly “Communication,” and “Autonomy and Professional Capacity,” which address employability skills.
At this session, Jill and Katherine will provide an overview of the WatCV assignment, and share findings to date related to their research question and intended outcomes.