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Making connections with ePortfolios

March 17, 2011

ePortfolios are collections of digital artifacts that can be used to reflect on one's learning, demonstrate proficiency with specific learning objectives, or showcase work to potential employers.  In this session, faculty who have been piloting an ePortfolio platform called Digication shared their experiences.

  • Laura Sue Phillips asked undergraduate students in her etching class to create "Digital sketchbooks," modeled on the type of online presence created by many professional working artists.   Laura Sue asked students to include an artist's statement, a biography, images of art work, and a contact page.  Many students created portfolios that went well beyond the course requirements to include artwork created outside the class, audio, video, and social media widgets.  Laura Sue showed two examples - one portfolio created by a student in his 70's and one by a student in his 20's.
  • Jessie Daniels described how her Community Health Education program moved from paper portfolios to ePortfolios in 2009.  Students are asked to create professional portfolios that include a resume, a biography, and information about fieldwork experiences.  Jessie created a rubric that she used to evaluate both the content and format of the portfolios.  At the end of the semester, students were surveyed about their experience with ePortfolios.  Students found value in the potential to share ePortfolios with family, friends, potential employers, and professors.  Students also reported that creating their portfolios helped them make connections between their internship and their classes in the program.
  • Yang Hu discussed the evolution of portfolios in the Master's in Literacy program, which transitioned from paper to electronic portfolios in 2010.  Students in the program are required to create portfolios in order to graduate.  In the past, portfolios have primarily been used as a form of summative assessment, in which students demonstrate that they have met specific professional standards.  Yang is currently developing a plan to use ePortfolios for formative assessment beginning in fall 2011.  Incoming students will be introduced to Digication during orientation and encouraged to develop their ePortfolios as they progress through the program.  Yang is working on reflective prompts for students and thinking about ways to provide opportunities for interaction among students as they work on their portfolios.
  • Following the presentations, Wendy Hayden engaged the group in a discussion about ePortfolios.  We addressed questions such as: differences between ePortfolios and paper portfolios; limitations and affordances of Digication; differences between Digication and other ePorfolio tools; assessing the impact of ePortfolios on students; rubrics for evaluating student work; and supporting social pedagogy in ePortfolios.