Developing a Portfolio tool for future oriented soft skills
Dr. Aleid Fokkema is a senior lecturer at ESHCC’s department of Media and Communication. She has been involved in the IBCoM program from the start (in 2009) coordinates two mandatory year 1 courses concerned with writing and research skills. Aleid received CLI funding for adapting a serious game in ethical decision taking and from September 2019 she chairs the Media and Communication Programme Committee.
This project is about creating a tool for an online portfolio that rubrics and presents the various so-called soft skills students develop in the course of their degree.
The trend is that the future employment market will be looking for a number of ‘soft skills’ that are not mentioned in the standard overview of courses in a Bachelor’s degree. Future oriented soft skills include, for example: communication skills (this figures high on any list of future employability skills), leadership, critical thinking, creativity, team collaboration, strategic thinking, flexibility, giving and receiving feedback, dealing with failure, planning, and project management, all with their respective social, ethical, and intercultural dimensions.
These skills form part of the educational approach and assessment in many mandatory and non-mandatory courses in the IBCoM program. Apart from communication skills, however, they often do not explicitly form part of the courses’ end products, therefore remaining somewhat intangible. This means that students are not really aware of the sellable abilities they have developed in the course of a few years. Yet, IBCoM students score invariably high in evaluation reports issued by company coaches after completing their mandatory internship. They excel in team collaboration, their capacity to adapt to the company culture, taking initiative, and organising their work. These are the kind of skills employers are looking for in an increasingly flexible and generalized labour market.
A digital portfolio for these ‘soft skills’ meets the problem of their intangibility in the curriculum and lack of awareness on the part of students. The portfolio will reinforce our students’ position in the work field of the future. The fellowship project will cover the following steps:
- Defining future oriented soft skills
- Determining which of our courses contribute to these skills
- Including additional online modules
- Developing the digital portfolio proper