Introduction to your Saint Mary’s ePortfolio during your first year of studies:
Reflecting on the Integration of Learning
Saint Mary’s considers integration of learning as essential to lifelong learning and especially important to the complex world of the twenty-first century. It is for this reason that integration of learning plays a prominent role in the Sophia Program, living at the center of the Knowledge arms of the cross (the LO1 outcomes).
There are multiple ways to understand what integration of learning means and how to achieve it, but Saint Mary’s will ask you to forge your own understanding and discover your own path. This will take time. The Sophia Program does not include a single grand one-semester course on the integration of learning; instead it gives you the responsibility of integrating your own learning over four years. You must discover the meaningful connections that exist across the broad array of disciplines included in the knowledge outcomes (LO1), or how the engagement outcomes (LO3) inform the knowledge you’ve gained and the skills you’ve acquired (LO2). For example, how does a particular novel read in a literature class expand your understanding the French Revolution or in what ways do the economic, political, and socio-cultural theories that you’ve studied intersect in your host country while studying abroad? How does your Social Responsibility class influence the lesson plans you write for an Education class, the care you give in a Nursing clinical, or the topics your choose for your research in a Psychology class? Only you can answer these questions. Your advisors and your instructors will be in dialogue with you about how you are fitting together the parts of your education, but you alone, not your courses, not your instructors, will be the agent of integration.
In order to trace the development of your integration of learning, you will compile a collection of artifacts to be submitted to the Integration of Learning section of your Saint Mary’s ePortfolio. These artifacts will be organized according to the following four areas: Reflection, Adaptation, Praxis, and Synthesis. As you progress through the Sophia Program, you will examine these four areas in greater depth in this section of your ePortfolio. During your first year at Saint Mary’s, you will focus on Reflection. Your first ePortfolio artifact is a reflective essay on the integration of learning written in your SPLL 101 course. Your instructor will provide you with the full prompt and additional guidelines when this essay is formally assigned.