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.
In conjunction with the launch of ePortfolio, the DigiSpace was created. The DigiSpace, which is part of the Student Academic Success Center, is staffed by undergraduate 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 recordings and podcasts with Audacity software. This assistance is typically delivered one-to-one, but consultants are also available for classroom visits to assist professors with ePortfolio development and other digital projects. In this UNE News feature, digital literacy consultants and students shared their opinions on the benefit of this peer-to-peer support.
In 2016, two consultants staffed the lab for a few hours each week night. Since then, the staff of consultants has grown and are now housed in SASC at the Commons, where they offer drop-in hours on weekdays as well as 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 2018-2019, DigiSpace staff assisted in 31 classes, including Education, English, History and Spanish courses, and also assisted 170 students with digital projects. Each term, 250-275 students begin an ePortfolio.