Portfolium bridges communication gap

While it may not be proper for students and teachers to be friends on Facebook, there’s a new platform to connect the two groups.

Faculty and students at Pierce College can network internally and with institutions by using Portfolium, a new Canvas integrated program that displays teachers’ information on a user-friendly online profile.

Pierce Web Page (PWeb), which was the old system, was mainly used among faculty and committee members as a directory and information page. PWeb also did not comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and needed to be replaced with a program that is.

“Portfolium is ADA compliant and is easier for faculty to build and add content,” Mark Henderson, manager of information technology, wrote in an email response. “It is similar to Facebook or LinkedIn regarding how information can be added.”

Although Portfolium is a new system, its functionality is structured the same way as existing profile-based web interfaces.

Wendy Bass, the distance education coordinator, was one of the first to use Portfolium and said Portfolium is user-friendly for faculty members and students.

“Faculty can put information on the Portfolium page that may help students decide whether to take the class or not,” Bass said. “You might have a sample syllabus. You might have some sample lessons.”

This system will help students make informed decisions about professors and classes they plan on taking.

With Portfolium, students have access to a faculty profile that is compatible with Canvas.

“The switch will benefit the students because it will allow faculty to provide even greater content for student interaction,” Henderson wrote in an email response. “There is also integration with Canvas, so the faculty member can have a seamless experience between platforms. These qualitative changes can attribute to student success.”

Professor Joseph Perret said although Portfolium was initially designed for students, but the way Pierce implements the program, it is designed to bring back faculty web pages.

While a link to Portfolium has already been sent out to faculty, students automatically have an account set up for them when they initially start using Canvas.

“It’s a wonderful student tool and I have no objection to it,” Perret said. “I’m glad we have a standardized tool and we are hopefully going to help students understand how to use this.”

Similarly to students, Perret said a lot of faculty don’t have adequate training on how to use Portfolium. He also said that faculty don’t know how to build their faculty web pages.

However, once faculty and students learn to navigate Portfolium better, the program will serve as a way to display department information.

Bass said there will soon be department websites available using Portfolium.

“Eventually we are going to link to them all from our Pierce College homepage,” Bass said. “So, it’s just a matter of getting it all linked.”

“The future hope is that Portfolium will have more tools that will integrate with classroom teaching tools to promote and support student success,” Henderson wrote in an email response.

Students are encouraged to customize their Portfolium account and learn how to get the most out of its resources.