About the e-Portfolio

In the JSGS 884 course, we will give you tools to help you with the self-teaching that you will do on the road to becoming a professional.  The first is the e-Portfolio.  It is a ‘portfolio’ because it constitutes a record of the areas in which you have demonstrated the practical competencies of a professional person trained to apply the principles of public administration in order to achieve outcomes desirable for advancing the public good.

Through the collection of evidence of your competencies in your e-Portfolio, you will be able to demonstrate, in some areas, that you have attained the expected standard of practical ability. With respect to other competencies, you may be able to demonstrate that you have a particularly high level of ability, well above the expected standard required.  In still other areas you may be able to show through the entries in your portfolio [what the lingo here refers to as the ‘artifacts’] that you have evolved over time moving from a weak, to an acceptable, and perhaps to a high level of competence.

Putting together your e-Portfolio

In putting your e-Portfolio together, you will be engaged in evidence-based self-assessment.  These competencies can be evidenced in the portfolio in a variety of ways limited only by your imagination.  There may be written pieces of work and assignments (imported texts and electronic files), personal reflections or diary entries, evaluations of oral presentations, testimonials from team members, comparative charts or statistics, unique presentation tools utilized to get across points, demonstration of applied skill sets from writing to stats to surveys to other forms of analysis, ethical tests, images and videos, blog entries, hyperlinks, and all manner of other evidentiary artifacts that might be used to establish applied professional competence.  The important point is that your evidence or artifacts must be relevant to, must bear a relationship to, the skill which you are self-assessing.

Your e-portfolio and capstone presentation will be used to determine your final performance (and grade) in the JSGS 884 course. The more important purpose, however, is to help you develop the competencies or skills that you will need to be a high-functioning public servant.

A little about the Mahara e-Portfolio tool

There are several things that you should note about Mahara:

  • Privacy:  The only people that will have access to your ePortfolio in Mahara will be your JSGS 884 instructor. Your instructor will have access in order to make sure that you have signed into Mahara and that you are making entries [posting artifacts].  They will also use their access to provide comments from time to time in response to your entries. When you registered at JSGS you signed a form giving all faculty, at both campuses, access to your work.  This applies to your e-Portfolio in Mahara. You may also decide to grant access to your peers for certain purposes but this will be up to you.
  • Post 884:  Take your ePortfolio with you:  You will use Mahara to develop an e-Portfolio of competencies throughout the JSGS 884 course.  After the course, you may wish to continue to develop the e-Portfolio for use in finding employment, for tracking your professional development or as a permanent electronic C.V.  This will be up to you but you should know from the start that this is an option and possible on-going advantage for you that will live on after this course.
  • Self-Taught:  In addition to the 500 page manual (available online), there are also some short, but useful, YouTube videos. The best learning, however, will come from experimenting with the program and talking to your classmates.

Explaining Core Competencies

We have identified six basic skills (called ‘core competencies’) that every public policy professional must possess to effectively develop and implement public policy.  Each core competency can be broken down into a number of sub-competencies (total of 21 sub-competencies). 

  • Management, Governance and Leadership
    • Attribute:  Ability to inspire support for a vision or course of action and successfully direct the teams, processes, and changes required to accomplish it.
    • Examples of sub-competencies:
      • Integrate values and ethics into organizational practices
      • Develop effective management skills
      • Other (Student determined)
  • Communication and Social Skills
    • Attribute: Ability to communicate effectively and build enduring, trust-based interpersonal, professional relationships
    • Example of sub-competency:
      • Speak and write in a clear, logical, and grammatical manner
  • System Thinking and Creative Analysis
    • Attribute: Ability to identify key issues and problems, analyze them systematically, and reach sound, innovative conclusions.
    • Examples of sub-competencies:
      • Apply principles of leadership in analyzing organizational issues
      • Apply statistical and economic principles and methods
  • Public Policy [Formation] and Community Engagement
    • Attribute: Ability to understand how organizational and public policies are formulated, their impact on public policy and management and how to influence their development.
    • Examples of sub-competencies:
      • Understand the structure of policy making and program management
      • Assess impact of government policy and regulatory requirements
  • Continuous Evaluation and Improvement
    • Attribute: Commitment to on-going evaluation for continuous organizational and personal improvement
    • Examples of sub-competency:
      • Apply key concepts and principles of change management
      • Demonstrate commitment to objective self-assessment
  • Policy Knowledge
    • Attribute: Ability to analyze and contribute content to at least one applied policy field.
    • Example of sub-competency:
      • Apply policy analysis theory and methods

We have asked the professors in each of your courses to identify and discuss with students the kinds of core and sub-competencies they can expect to gain in class, while learning the substantive content of the course.  

For example, in JSGS 801 Governance and Administration, in addition to learning about how public policy is shaped by our institutional environment, a student might gain experience in working in teams with other classmates or making oral presentations.  The teamwork, and the ability to make oral presentations, would be sub-competencies in the core competency area of “Communication and Social Skills.”

Note: In addition to the sub-competencies that have been specified in advance, students have the option of proposing additional sub-competencies which they feel reflect part of the skill set embraced within the effective practice of the core competency.  There is room for creativity here, and for a student to demonstrate, as part of his or her ePortfolio, that he or she has developed skills, perhaps unique skills, that contribute to professional practice in his or her area.

We have already placed the six core competency areas along with their attribute descriptors, and the sub-competencies that make up the core competency area, in Mahara.

Helpful Documents