Learning and ePortfolios

Audience: Faculty, Students and Teaching Assistants

This KB Article References:
This Information is Intended for: Faculty, Students, Teaching Assistants
Last Updated: March 22, 2017

Student assessment plays a vital role in providing students with an education. In ePortfolios, faculty members can monitor student learning experiences through course work documentation and reflective learning. In an ePortfolio students can upload course assignments, lectures, projects, research work, work experiences, etc. Afterwards, students reflect on the artifacts they have uploaded, stating what they have learned from each and, eventually, their courses at the end of each semester as well.

With all the documentation archived in an ePortfolio, faculty can gauge if students are taking out what is and should be learned from their coursework. Simply, ePortfolios make education and student learning measurable. With students consistently uploading documents into their ePortfolio, faculty can see the growth and progress of a student in a class.

ePortfolios include an evidenced-based reflective aspect which is an important learning process that can help meet rubric and outcome requirements. With students documenting evidence of what they have learned in their courses, they can demonstrate an understanding of coursework requirements that far exceed what can be demonstrated by simply handing in homework. 

Examples of reflective learning:

  • Highlighting lab work and learned methodologies
  • Uploading writing drafts and speaking of how each draft has changed and why they have
  • Including readings and dictating the main themes within each and relating them to current societal themes
  • Uploading scientific research work

Additional Resources: The inaugural issue of the International Journal of ePortfolio(IJeP),a double-blind, peer-reviewed, open access journal,is now available online at http://www.theijep.com/current.cfm

Documenting and Reflecting on the Learning Experience

A course assessment portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work intended to reveal a student's progress or achievement over the course of a semester, year or their entire academic career. A portfolio can be used to showcase a student's knowledge and skills by selecting the best products, projects or tasks a student has accomplished, or to demonstrate a student's learning progress by containing samples of student work from different times.

The portfolio process involves students indocumenting their strengths, identifying their weaknesses, setting goals for improvement, and planning for their own development based on those goals and reflections.

Students Play a Central Role

When portfolios are used for course assessment, the responsibilities of learning and assessment shift from the instructor to the student, and students are encouraged to practice their reflective and analytical skills to evolve towards self-directing, inquiring, and life long learners.

Course Assessment Portfolio is a Collection of Student Work, and More

To construct a portfolio, one does not simply pile up all the student's work. The process involves integrating selected pieces into a whole to reflect students' academic growth and abilities. A typical assessment portfolio usually contains certain elements:

  • selection criteria, a guideline for students to select relevant work in a portfolio
  • student work (e.g., tests, assignments, essays, project reports, photographs of products, audio and video recordings of oral presentations, and computer programs)
  • the dates when student work was produced and collected
  • students' reflective statements that reveal their rationale for including a certain piece of work
  • the instructor's comments and suggestions
  • students' goals and strategies for future improvement

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