Introduction

Welcome to the electronic portfolio of Susan Edwards. I created this portfolio as the culminating experience of my coursework with San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), in pursuit of a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. The purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate my mastery of 15 core competencies that the School of Library and Information Science has identified as essential learning outcomes for the degree, and as core areas of proficiency that professional librarians and other information professionals should have.

My workstation while working on the e-portfolio

My workstation while working on the e-portfolio

For 14 of these competencies, I have written essays in which I provide my interpretation of the competency and evidence showing my applicable skills and knowledge. These are numbered A through N, and can be accessed through the navigation at the top and right side of this website. In addition to writing about the meaning of the competencies, within each of these essays, I also describe the coursework, projects, and professional experience that gave me experience in the competency. Several items of evidence for each competency serve to demonstrate my accomplishments in each area. The evidence takes the form of research papers, discussion forum postings, research projects, websites, videos, and professional documentation. The 15th competency is addressed in my Statement of Professional Philosophy, where I also explain my reasons for pursuing the MLIS, the journey I have taken throughout the MLIS program, and describe how I see these competencies helping me meet the professional goals I have for the future.

The image included here shows my workstation at home, where I sat for several hours just about every day for two months. I used the color wheel to track the competencies as I finished drafting them, and as each was approved by my advisor. This was an idea I got from someone on the e-portfolio support group on Facebook (also depicted here), who made a similar wheel last semester. This wheel, and the Facebook group, did a lot to keep my spirits up and keep me motivated through this process. The chart on the left lists the competencies, each in a row along with potential pieces of evidence. The red circles mark the pieces of evidence I eventually chose for each competency. I originally listed items in these rows with what I thought to be the most relevant items listed first, to the left. The number of red circles to the right are testament to how my thinking about these items changed as I worked through the e-portfolio. In many cases, after reviewing my coursework multiple  times, I found a hidden assignment that was perfect match for the competency. Or, after writing an essay about a competency, I saw an assignment in new light.

My coursework has taken me five-and-a-half years, since I have taken one course at a time in order to fit it with my full time work and personal responsibilities. Over this time I got married and saw the birth of my daughter (she’s almost 2 now!). Thus, the portfolio has been a great opportunity to review coursework that was spread over many years, and to synthesize the knowledge and skills that I have learned within a meaningful structure.

Almost from the moment I began the program, I knew I would write an e-portfolio as my culminating experience. And so I began preparing for the e-portfolio early on. I took heed of warnings from those who went before me, and from SLIS advisors and administration, to save all of my work in an organized fashion. Throughout the process of writing these essays, I have continually combed through the materials and work from my courses, over and over again. Although I regularly checked my courses throughout the program to see if I was covering all the competencies, in the end, I decided to take courses that matched my professional interests, rather than cater to the e-portfolio. I am happy that I made this decision, because I have been surprised about how much evidence I had for most of the competencies. In fact, I have also been surprised at how my understanding of each of these competencies has evolved just in the course of writing these essays. In many cases, I made new realizations about the essence of these areas of expertise. I also had several “aha!” moments of realization when I noticed how many skills in these competencies I actually demonstrated in many of the projects I did for courses, as well as projects in my professional life. Overall, creating this e-portfolio has been an incredibly fulfilling way to complete my MLIS degree. I feel like have a strong grasp of the core values and knowledge of the field, and a breadth of knowledge that I am sure to make use of far into the future.

Last update: April 5, 2014