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Integrating ePortfolios into the HSU Classroom

posted by Riley Quarles on 10/22/2009

Electronic Portfolios, or ePortfolios, are very powerful online organizers of student learning experiences. You might want think of them as learning management systems (like Moodle) on steroids.

In my humble opinion, it is not a matter of “if” HSU will integrate ePortfolios into the learning and assessment process; it is more a matter of “when” we as an institution, will recognize the awesome power of this online tool set. As mentioned in the CELT Teaching Tip above, implementing ePortfolios will be a valuable asset for students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

Our choice really, is to either embrace the technology as a campus wide enterprise application, or to encourage pockets of leading edge individuals to develop solutions on their own. If we promote decentralized development, it will likely lead to a growth of multiple software applications that are not cost effective to support as they scale upwards. Additionally, it will establish disparate procedures for tracking student learning rather than collecting, analyzing and improving upon consistently formatted institutional data.

Rather than managing multiple ePortfolio systems, I recommend that HSU decide what it is that we want to measure and then establish an ePortfolio pilot program in one college or department. It is likely that the WASC review team will recommend this anyway, so we may as well begin discussing it now. In order for an ePortfolio to be meaningful for all stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) a comprehensive system must be developed. Fortunately, commercial and open source ePortfolio software is designed specifically for this purpose.

It is absolutely essential that there be a well defined alignment of learning outcomes throughout the entire hierarchical structure of the ePortfolio, from the most broadly defined outcomes of WASC, to the six or seven HSU learning outcomes, G.E outcomes, departmental, course level outcomes, and individual assignment and assessments. Without this systematic cohesiveness, HSU will continue to collect bits and pieces of student learning data here and there that will likely serve no greater purpose than a mere container of student projects.

I would be happy to work with anyone on campus that recognizes the potential value of implementing ePortfolios, in an attempt to establish a pilot program that can serve as a model for a future enterprise level application.

What do you think about this?

Entry References

Sweat-Guy, R. and Buzzetto-More, N.A. (2007). A Comparative Analysis of Common E-Portfolio Features and Available Platforms. Retrieved Oct. 1, 2009, from: