As we approach the end of the academic year, students across programs are gathering and reflecting on their curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular work; they are thinking about their futures and possible paths to take to achieve their goals; and they are writing essays that provide coherent narratives of their personal, academic, and professional trajectories. In other words, students are working on electronic portfolios (eportfolios).
All first-year students in CUSP complete an eportfolio as a culminating project for their first year experiences. Tasked with reflecting on at least three artifacts of their own learning, like papers, projects, presentations, and artworks, CUSP students write an evidence-based narrative essay to show where they have been, where they are now, and where they are going, in terms of their academic and professional goals.
Students in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (SIAS) produce degree portfolios in which they demonstrate their achievement of the SIAS learning goals. Started in the first major-level course, BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry, and completed in BIS 499, the Capstone Portfolio course, the eportfolio works as a tool for student learning as well as an instrument for programmatic assessment.
UW Bothell uses Google Sites, one of the applications in the suite of UW-branded Google Apps, as the eportfolio platform. A simple-to-use website creation tool, Google Sites allows students to build out a series of web pages in an organized hierarchy to form a portfolio. There they can store their learning artifacts in electronic form, either by placing the artifact (text of a paper, embedded video, etc.) on the page itself or “attaching” it to a web page. In addition, they can write essays that form arguments or narratives about their own learning. These are the main components of the eportfolio, conceptually and technically.
Despite the relative ease of use, Google Sites can still thwart even the most savvy of users. That is why UW Bothell Learning Technologies has built a broad range of web page and video tutorials on how to use Google Sites to build an eportfolio.
If you are working on an eportfolio and need help, perhaps the best place to start is your program page:
CUSP eportfolio help page: http://www.uwb.edu/learningtech/eportfolios/cusp
IAS eportfolio help page: http://www.uwb.edu/learningtech/help/how-to/eportfolios/ias-resources
Beyond the initial start up section for your program, the next best place to start is:
Google Sites Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page: http://www.uwb.edu/learningtech/help/how-to/eportfolios/google-sites-faq
The FAQ page answers many common questions regarding Google Sites.
Remember: if you are a student and you aren’t sure about what kinds of things go in your portfolio or how it should be organized, talk with your instructor. If you aren’t sure how to accomplish something technically in Google Sites, that’s when you should check out Learning Technologies’ web pages.
If all else fails, email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain your question and what you hope to accomplish in detail. Someone will get back to you quickly with help.