Portfolium: A social network for students

The Department of Information Technology and the Student Technol­ogy Fee Committee have partnered to give UW Tacoma students access to Portfolium, a learning and career readiness social networking website. Portfolium allows students to showcase all the work they have done during their time at UWT, from essays and PowerPoint presentations to videos and materials from extracurricular activi­ties. Projects can be tagged with a va­riety of “skills” so that students and alumni can demonstrate their capa­bilities to employers.

“The way we see it is as a live resume,” Chris Fuentes, IT project manager at UWT, said. “This allows companies to dig deeper and see what students have done and see their creativity.”

The IT department chose Portfolium for its usability, unlimited storage and permanent access for students who have expressed interest in having an elec­tronic portfolio system. Even if UWT decides to sever ties with Portfolium in the future, students will not lose access to the service.

Portfolium is currently used in over 3,600 schools by 4 million students in 18 different countries. Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Lockheed Mar­tin and Disney have Portfolium profiles that students can “follow,” which contain job listings and basic information about the company. In turn, employers can search for profiles by using a variety of filters, such as searching only for stu­dents from UWT.

The site has several features that also benefit academic departments on campus. Teachers and administrators can look at which tags students add to their projects, and at what frequency, to see how well those skills are being taught and whether what students re­port actually matches the skills listed in a course’s learning objectives. Fuen­tes hopes departments will make use of this information to improve the qual­ity of classes. Portfolium can also been integrated with Canvas, although this has not yet been implemented by the IT department.

According to Fuentes, as students upload more projects to Portfolium, departments will get more valuable data for improving learning outcomes.

“[Portfolium] will become a stron­ger tool as more students jump on,” Fuentes said.

Zoe Violet LeBeau

Zoe Violet LeBeau is a writing studies major at UW Tacoma.