The UNE ePortfolio initiative began in the fall term of 2016 with a set of English courses. At UNE, Blackboard is the usual platform for digital course work, but because this new English course required students to engage with the platform over the course of two semesters, a different model was needed. The course was also designed to include significant reflection and sharing of student work. The use of ePortfolio in WordPress continues to be a good match and allows the possibility of further development as students continue through their time at UNE. As of fall 2018, approximately 1150 undergrad students have created an ePortfolio.
In conjunction with the launch of ePortfolio, the DigiSpace was created. The DigiSpace is a computer lab staffed by work study students called digital literacy consultants. The consultants assist peers with digital needs, including using a high-definition video camera and green screen to create iMovie videos, customizing and building ePortfolio, and creating audio podcasts with Audacity software. This assistance is typically delivered one-to-one in Decary 049, but consultants are also available for classroom visits to assist professors with ePortfolio development and other digital projects.
In 2016, two consultants staffed the lab for a few hours each week night, but as of 2018, the staff of consultants has grown to seven, who offer drop-in hours every weekday as well as on Sundays. The DigiSpace Coordinator Jen Gennaco, who is also an adjunct associate lecturer for the English Department, coordinates staffing and classroom visits in addition to providing faculty support. In 2017-2018, the DigiSpace staff made over 20 visits to classrooms and assisted 175+ students with digital projects and ePortfolio customization. In the fall of 2018, 275 students launched an ePortfolio, and DigiSpace staff visited Education, English, History and Spanish courses to offer assistance. In this UNE News feature, digital literacy consultants and students shared their opinions on the benefit of this peer-to-peer support.