Helen Barrett's presentation on e-Portfolios as Digital Stories of Deep Learning is available on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/23513397 . . . (Approximately 20 minutes in length.) She shares an excellent review of electronic portfolio. I loved her illustration that Leonardo da Vinci may have been the first famous person to develop a folio. His notebooks are certainly one of the most remarkable written record of his creative work in art, science and architecture. In fact, you can purchase a copy of his 3 notebooks from Amazon.com for $175. Most impressive.
The purpose of this eportfolio is two fold:
Gone are the days of collecting your notebooks and books in a school locker or backpack. Smart phones, e-readers, tablets and thumb drives are common-place in our increasingly digital society. It is not unusual for us to carry a wealth of information on small thumb drives (USB) in our pockets or in my case, on a leash around my neck. I have left a USB drive attached to the instructor's computer in the classroom and every semester a student comes to me reporting a lost drive. Unfortunately, these tiny digital "luggage" are frequently lost, stolen, or corrupted by exposure to heat or electricity. I utilize eportfolios in my electronic marketing course to document a student's fulfillment of the learning outcomes. The frequent loss of USB drives is one of the reasons that I have know switched to an online repository via Weebly.com similar to this eportfolio. Not only are they useful for a course, an electronic portfolio can serve as a repository of an individual's entire academic career. Just as students are not all alike, electronic portfolios are not all alike. There are several different types of eportfolios:
Developmental Portfolios are often used to facilitate communication between students and faculty. Similar to a reflective journal, a developmental portfolio documents the development of student skills over a specific time period. For example, a writing portfolio may require a series of written projects which are reviewed by the student, their peers, and the faculty member. The writing portfolio demonstrates the student's development of writing skill over the course of the semester.
Showcase Portfolios are a compilation of exemplary work and student skills over the course of a student's academic career. The purpose of this type of portfolio is to exhibit artifacts demonstrating a student's knowledge, skill, and/or talent. This type of portfolio can play a significant role in marketing a student's capabilities to potential employers upon graduation with a degree or certification.
Hybrid Portfolios are a combination of two or all three types of portfolios listed above. Rarely will you find a portfolio that is strictly used for assessment, development or showcase purposes. Occasionally, you may come across showcase portfolios that do not show evidence of self-reflection, rubrics for assessment or feedback, however, as Helen Barrett, an expert in the field of e-portfolios, would say "a portfolio without standards, goals and/or reflection is just a fancy resume, not an electronic portfolio."
"Active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends, constitutes reflective thought" (John Dewey, 1933, p. 9)
Why reflect before developing the portfolio? Integral to your production of an effective electronic portfolio is the process of reflection. Reflection provides clarity and direction for the development of the portfolio. As illustrated in the diagram above, Norman Jackson identifies 3 points of reflection: before beginning the project (reflection for action), during the project (reflection in action), and after the project is completed (reflection on action). Reflecting before initiating the portfolio informs you regarding what you have learned, your strengths and weaknesses, your personal style, and your goals/objectives.
What is Reflection? John Dewey's work is often used to help define reflection, and many contemporary writers on reflection point to How We Think (1933) as a modern basis for defining reflection. Successful reflection enables self-awareness, personal and professional growth and improved practices.
Electronic portfolios or digital portfolios have been utilized for over 20 years. Today, you may find students at all academic levels developing an eportfolio to document their improvements across their academic career. Students may utilize an eportfolio within a specific area, such as, to document their improvement in writing, journal their observations during a study abroad experience, track the progress in a research experiment or evidence their ability to utilize a new software application.
"A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student’s efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas. The collection must include student participation in selecting contents, the criteria for selection; the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection." (Northwest Evaluation Association, 1990, http://www.nwea.org/),
Instructors may ask students in their courses to develop an electronic portfolio to document their progress and improvement over the duration of the semester, a year, or longer. Colleges are incorporating eportfolios to evaluate the student's learning across the entire academic experience. The eportfolio provides each student an opportunity to reflect on learning outcomes achieved. The university can drive an internal and external assessment of the effectiveness of a curriculum or general education to meet standards. I utilize an eportfolio in my PRT 5460/6460 Electronic Marketing to evaluate the effectiveness of a course's learning activities to facilitate student learning. The very dynamic nature of electronic portfolios have contributed to their increasing popularity as an alternative to traditional paper-based portfolios.
Dr. Ralston is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah. The students in her electronic marketing course design and create an electronic portfolio to reflect their accomplishments during the course.
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