Happy and Empowering New Year wishes to everyone in 2017!
It’s the beginning of an exciting year in VIA and with our work in the EEP-project.
Here in VIA our university college is already sizzling with students of all ages preparing for their exams here in January, but also of course discussing how New Year’s Eve was spent, which menu and which bubbly drinks were served :-).
And we as teachers and researchers are preparing for the next semester and our EEP pilot project.
Our pilot project will have a focus on adult students in continuing education, who have been admitted to their respective diploma programmes through a validation of prior learning (VPL).
Teachers in our diploma programmes are usually not informed about which students are admitted through VPL, because after their admittance they are considered equally with the same status as other students. But sometimes these students do experience some difficulties in their studies, maybe with reading academic texts or with writing academically, and sometimes also with relating their former praxis to the present teaching.
So by being a part of EEP, we can now try to do something EMPOWERING for these students with this immense potential :-).
A central part of the admittance process on validating prior learning is through a digital portfolio, minkompetencemappe.dk (in english My Competence Portfolio), where the aspiring student gathers information on different competences which is then being evaluated by the accepting education institution.
There is a lot of work put in by the applying student gathering all this information on her competences – but this portfolio is never used in a teaching or career guidance setting after admittance, even though this could be relevant as a means of reflection.
We see a lot of potential in using this digital portfolio in a reflection process for students engaged in new studies that challenge them on a personal level. Entering an education programme as an adult and maybe with a different background from other students can challenge your views on yourself, your integrity and your career perspectives – “Who am I, and where am I going?”
In our pilot project we therefore want to gather together students admitted through VPL and use their individual digital portfolios for different kinds of reflection activities relating to their present studies and to their personal career perspectives. The output will hopefully be good practices that can be incorporated in an empowering “E-portfolio-praxis”.
Right now two things are happening:
- We are drafting and developing the concrete design for the pilot project with the focus on empowering a group of students with a great potential, but who sometimes experience difficulties with their studies
- We have started a collaboration with the career guidance practitioners and the professionals who know the students or who has knowledge of students admitted through VPL at VIA, so we can start selecting a group of participants in the project.
The career guidance practitioners here at VIA are very excited about helping us out in the EEP- project, and particularly our local pilot project since, as they say, ‘it hits the nerve’ of what is often discussed in their professional circles as an issue where ‘more could be done’ to support the VPL students.
So we feel just as sizzling as our students right now coming back from holidays, with the anticipation of much to be done in the new year, but also an anticipation of being part of an empowering process and collaboration ourselves.
Once again, a Happy New Year to all of you!
Bo and Miriam,
VIA University College in Denmark