28 August 2008

ePortfolio Requirement: Student Maintained

As mentioned in a previous post, I have 3 requirements for ePortfolio: that it be web-based, faculty designed, and student maintained. This week I will address each of those aspects.

Presumably, an institution or academic program establishes student ePortfolios to demonstrate competencies, whether those are defined as skills or knowledge or both. Concomitant learning comes through the student's maintenance of the ePortfolio project and may not be articulated in a purpose statement by the student, nor in a Student Learning Outcome statement by the institution.

A summary follows in this format:
Concomitant learning for student.
How it can be supported by program or institution.

Make a sustained effort over time. Understand the scope of the project and plan accordingly. The academic program can assist by displaying sample ePortfolios and providing a template that helps the student plan the work in segments or chunks. Further, the program can provide a practice field, either in the form of a low-stakes review of an initial effort in the ePortoflio or even a stand-alone "practice portfolio."

Work independently. Exercise your own judgment. The academic program can encourage independence by presenting clear guidelines and expectations. With appropriate consideration for level (undergraduate or graduate), the program can further support independence by limiting oversight to specific and well-publicized check-points. At these checks on progress, the program should give students meaningful feedback so that students benefit from formative assessment that they can act on, building confidence in their own judgment between check-points.

Set the pace for one's work. Create and follow a schedule. The program's schedule of check-points can support pacing directly, first by setting deadlines for the class or cohort and then by gradually moving to individual student-selected deadlines.

Self-evaluate. Develop techniques for review of your own work so that you literally become your own editor, your own critic. The academic program can provide coaching for students with self-evaluation as the goal. Depending on level, peer or mentor review may be more productive. (Not all instructors are well suited to this role.) Through the sharing of rubrics and evaluation criteria, the program can communicate to students the customary standards for the ePortfolio. Of course, students may use additional criteria in their own evaluation, such as level of cool (hard to define and a great criterion to leave to the individual).

Learn ancillary skills. Standards of professional presentation and intellectual property (including copyright of original works) may not be addressed directly in course work but affect the impact of your portfolio. The academic program can provide information along these lines, either through additional ePortfolio guidelines or support from a portfolio coach.

Make technology decisions. Select technology that enhances ePortfolio content. Students may need assistance in understanding ramifications about technology decisions with respect to adequate file storage, bandwidth, and a back-up strategy. The institution can support the student choices with campus services or online knowledge bases. Specific to the ePortfolio platform, the institution should provide technical assistance via an internal or external HelpDesk.

Student maintenance of the ePortfolio doesn't necessarily emerge from the student's initiative. It relies on the academic program's adoption of a system, publication of guidelines, and supervision of processes. But when those foundations are in place, it is possible for students to assume the responsibility of the ePortfolio and the result is much more than a collection of evidences of competencies.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology. She can be contacted at bold[AT]marybold.com using standard email format instead of [AT].

1 comment:

Cameron said...

The requirements stated above may be found in one of the many commercial eportfolios in the market.

Or is it a requirment to build your own in house eportfolios.

If you require further information about this please leave a comment and I can get in touch to explain further.