Students to get ‘living portfolios’ aimed at boosting job prospects

DCU initiative part of trend among universities to focus on employability of graduates

DCU professor Brian MacCraith says the modern workplace increasingly requires citizens with transferable skills who are “resilient and adaptable, and capable of reflective and critical thinking”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

DCU professor Brian MacCraith says the modern workplace increasingly requires citizens with transferable skills who are “resilient and adaptable, and capable of reflective and critical thinking”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Thousands of third-level students are to receive new online learning portfolios aimed at enhancing their job prospects when they leave college.

Dublin City University has created a “living portfolio” for its 17,000 students which, it says, will allow them to showcase their academic, professional and personal achievements.

The move is part of a wider trend across universities to enhance the employability of graduates and to emphasise so-called 21st century skills needed in the modern workplace.

The university’s new “reflect” platform allows students to curate their coursework and assignments, create shareable online CVs, upload certificates of achievement and maintain monthly journals of internship experience which can be used to create personal blogs.

This will, in turn, it says, assist future employers in visualising the breadth of students’ learning and experience. To date, more than 5,000 students have signed up to the pilot phase of the platform.

Modern workplace

DCU professor Brian MacCraith said the modern workplace increasingly requires citizens with transferable skills who are resilient and adaptable, and capable of reflective and critical thinking.

“The reflect portfolio challenges traditional approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, capturing all facets of student learning and providing our students with an opportunity reflect on their personal and professional as well as learning development,” he said.

Matt Moran, director of BioPharm Chem Ireland, said this new approach would help graduates get noticed by employers.

“Getting that first job can be difficult for a graduate, therefore, they really need to distinguish themselves,” he said.

“As well as having a strong academic education, they need extra skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communications, skills which employers value.”

He said the new development was a flexible way of learning and good way for students and graduates to acquire these skills.

“An additional advantage is that once they get that job as graduates, they can continue to develop themselves through portfolio learning professionally,” he said.