The Notre Dame ePortfolio Engagement Program (nDEEP), launched its official online site April 9, offering new resources and assistance to students interested in forming virtual portfolios. Offering new ePortfolio resources and assistance, the Notre Dame ePortfolio Engagement Program (nDEEP) held a Career ePortfolio Student Workshop Wednesday. A new initiative by the Office of Provost, nDEEP serves students, faculty, advisors, programs and college departments. According to nDEEP’s webpage, the program’s mission provides resources that would help “build a deep and broad portfolio culture and community across the campus.” nDEEP’s Interim Commissioner Alex Ambrose said the program formed to meet the University’s need for a committee that would provide technical ePortfolio assistance for students and faculty of all programs and majors. “Because different faculty and departments have their own responsibilities, they are unable to invest enough time to expand on their use of ePortfolios,” Ambrose said. “Successful ePortfolio subscriptions have a support system that will help them with the skills and backing they need to implement ePortfolios into their programs or courses. That’s where nDEEP comes in. “We’re here to help them. Not only are we creating all these accounts for students and faculty, we’re having a program to help support it,” he said. A Career ePortfolio Student Workshop held Wednesday addressed the relevance of ePortfolios for students in all undergraduate programs and colleges. They offered personal assistance for students interested in building or further developing their ePortfolios, Ambrose said. “The workshop [was] broken into three parts, “Ambrose said. “We [started] off explaining ePortfolio basics – what it is and why students should create it. We [also gave] students information on how their ePortfolio can work hand-in-hand with career services that will allow them to showcase their achievements and skills to prospective employers as students are looking for internships and jobs.” “Lastly, we [held] a hands-on workshop to show how students can create and customize their ePortfolios to make it stand out,” he said. As a more recent initiative by the University, ePortfolios were officially offered this year to all first year students, Ambrose said. With a majority of these students creating and modifying their ePortfolios, Ambrose said nDEEP hopes to see widespread use of ePortfolios among all undergraduates. “The Dean of First Years challenged the incoming freshman for this year to build their ePortfolios,” Ambrose said. “About 80 percent of the students took it on, and to us, that counts as a success because this is a tool that they can use later on in their careers. “As a researcher in the field of ePortfolios, ePortfolios should be for student engagement. It should engage and benefit the student first. If it helps improve the program or department, that is secondary.” Along with the First Year Studies, the College of Engineering use ePortfolios to help students further specify their engineering interests as well as showcase coursework and projects, freshman Rachel Wallace said. “In engineering, we have a specific ePortfolio that we use to put in our assignments and describe our experiences as we go out and explore the various fields within the engineering school at college events and major nights,” Wallace said. “These assignments force me to go out and get informed about what I want to study. Also, putting up engineering projects on this ePortfolio helps me show others what I’ve done so far in terms of engineering experience.” Outside of academia, ePortfolios have become a medium for students to document their accomplishments during their undergraduate studies, freshman Ajani Crosley said. “It’s good because you can have everything out there at once so if people want to see what you’re like for a job interview, your ePortfolio does the talking for you,” Crosley said. “It tells employers and people who are interested in taking you into a position the things that you may not be able to fully say on the spot and gives them a fuller idea and details about who you are.” Contact Maria Do at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Bodie V. PennisiUniversity of GeorgiaAlong with evergreens, poinsettias embody the holiday spirit andhelp create festive displays. The challenge is deciding how manyand what color, leaf shape, plant size and form to buy.You can choose among plants with traditional red, strong white,creamy white, light pink, solid pink, bright orange-red, deeppurple-red and various marbled or speckled bracts. Plants rangefrom 4-inch pots to 18-inch hanging baskets, living wreaths,topiaries and 3-gallon floor planters.You can use poinsettia stems as cut flowers in arrangements, too.If you supply enough water, as when using florist foam, some newpoinsettia cultivars can last up to two weeks as cut flowers.Buying the best is easy (Bodie Pennisi is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.) Look for Georgia-grown plants. This year the crop promises tobe phenomenal. Locally grown plants may cost more, but they keepbetter. They’re usually sold to florist shops and gardencenters.Select plants with fully colored and expanded bracts. (Bractsare the colored leaves. The actual flowers are the yellowcenters.) Avoid plants with too much green around the bractedges, a sign that it was shipped before it was mature enough.Choose poinsettias with dense, rich green leaves all alongthe stem. They should be well branched and proportioned and abouttwo and one-half times the height of the pot.Examine leaves for “hitchhikers.” Silverleaf whiteflies geton the underside of the leaves and suck the juices. This is thegiveaway: whiteflies excrete “honeydew” onto the leaves below.Don’t buy plants with sticky leaves and dots on the leafundersides. The dots are whitefly nymphs.Look closely at the roots. White and light tan roots thathave grown to the sides of the pot are signs of a healthy plant.Brown roots or few roots may indicate disease.Don’t buy plants with weak stems, few bracts or any signs ofwilting, breaking or drooping. Often in stores poinsettias arecrowded. Sometimes they’re displayed in paper, plastic or meshsleeves. They need their space. The longer they stay sleeved, thefaster their quality deteriorates.When you take your poinsettia home, protect it from chillingwinds and temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Place it in asleeve or large shopping bag.Once you get home, place it where it looks best. It will lastabout three weeks in fairly dark places. Don’t put it near a colddraft or excessive heat or near an appliance, fireplace orventilating duct.Water a poinsettia only when the soil feels dry to the touch.But don’t allow it to wilt, as it may cause leaves to drop.Overwatering is a common cause of plant loss. Don’t leave theplant in standing water. This, too, may cause leaf drop. Alwaysremove a plant from any decorative container before watering itand allow the water to drain completely.Don’t fertilize it during the blooming season. This willcause the plant to lose some of its quality.After the holiday season is over, move the poinsettia to abright spot in either a south-, east- or west-facing window.Eventually, the bracts will start to fall off. By early April,cut the plant back, leaving four to six nodes or segments on thestem. At this point, it can be grown outdoors in full sun.Fertilize it weekly with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer atthe same rate you give houseplants.Trim your poinsettia in June and plant it in a 1-gallon potor large indoor planter. Trim back new growth again around July 1and again by mid-August. Keep fertilizing through spring andsummer, applying nutrition once every two to three weeks as fallnears. With enough water and nutrition, poinsettias can grow ashigh as 5 feet.Poinsettias are nonpoisonous and safe for display aroundchildren and pets.