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5 Lessons Worth Learning About E-Portfolios


The University of Alaska discusses their recommendations to effectively implement electronic portfolios to gain success from students and faculty through 5 main steps:

1) Promote from the Bottom Up

The university’s faculty senate decided to take a more “grassroots approach” and slowly introduce the portfolios to the campus instead of making it mandatory. They worked on gathering appropriate resources for two years to support the eportfolio. Furthermore, they discussed this idea with the provost office and student government.

2) Dedicate a Team

There needs to be a proper team to manage the work of the eportfolios, and it needs to not be seen as just an IT or faculty development project. The team would need to both do the mundane activities, such as fitting the portfolio to an IT architecture, as well as the essential tasks such as creating a focal point where conversations can begin, be fostered, and then matured. Paul Wasko, an eportfolio initiative coordinator, and Heather Caldwell, an eportfolio strategist, worked with students and faculty to integrate them to the curriculum, courses, and created workshops for them. There would also need to be a team of student coaches to help out professors and students.

3) Master the art of the RFP

The university had to go through a request for proposal (RFP) process that required them to propose to several vendors. They chose the company Digication because they responded in the best terms by addressing every one of the requirements. They were also the cheapest option for them.

4) Hire vendor as the team player

Digication CEO Jeffrey Yan and President Kelly Driscoll participate in advisory committee meetings to “bring examples and understanding of how their tool worked in other universities”. The university was looking for a partnership with the vendor, not a relationship.

5) Identify new uses in unexpected areas

The university is experimenting with the functionality of the portfolio in order to further expand it. One example is Caldwell asking some faculty to use Digication to submit their PMT files. They are also trying to eliminate paper forms as much as they can by digitizing forms like peer reviews. The university is trying to fully integrate eportfolios into the school system, and one way they are advertising it is through student orientations.

For more information on this topic, visit the article here

Behind the Hype: A New Perspective on ePortfolios

In an article written by Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed, the E-Portfolio Forum, taking place at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), addressed the hype and excitement surrounding ePortfolios. As a way to understand student outcomes and provide a holistic analysis of student performance in a course, ePortfolios have recently garnered a negative reputation due to instructors ineffectively and passively using ePortfolios in their courses. One pattern was apparent for ePortfolios:

Investing in the tool for the sake of keeping up with the trend is a recipe for failure.

Read More!

Student Perspectives: ePortfolios

UW Bothell student and Learning Tech Assistant Avalon Willows gives her perspective on ePortfolios:

As a student who has gone through two portfolio classes already, I have been around my fair share of ePortfolio frustration. Any UWB student will agree with me when I say that the process of compiling a portfolio, while technically easy, is very tedious. On top of that, many students just don’t “get” the ePortfolio; the reason for it is just unclear. This causes many students to have feelings of disdain towards the degree requirement.

This is unfortunate, considering that an ePortfolio can be a very useful tool for students. ePortfolios show things that a college transcript or GPA won’t. They showcase the hard work that goes into individual assignments, they reflect on individual learning styles and processes, and of course, they show what fantastic work you have the ability of producing.

Reflection is a vital part of the education process, and ePortfolios allow students to reflect on progress in the beginning, middle and end of their time in college. This allows room for improvement and perhaps the creation of set goals. Personally, when I was going through past assignments to build my ePortfolio, I came across a lot of work that I enjoyed reflecting on. Some assignments I had turned in in such a hurry that I didn’t even realize what great work I had produced. While reviewing other assignments, I often found things I didn’t like—so, I took note and used it for improvement in my future work.