Our CELT Teaching Tips generally present concepts or tools that you can immediately apply to your teaching to make incremental and manageable positive change during a single semester. However, this week we are presenting an idea that will take several semesters of implementation to realize the full benefit. We are talking about electronic portfolios, more commonly known as ePortfolios.
The use of portfolios for assessment is not new to higher education. Art portfolios and writing portfolios have been employed for decades. So what is so special about electronic portfolios, (commonly known as ePortfolios)? ePortfolios extend this concept beyond the classroom by mapping student learning artifacts (assignments, quizzes, etc.) to a systematic series of learning outcomes at the course level, program/department, college, and university levels. In many cases this mapping extends to reflect national learning outcomes (LEAP http://www.aacu.org/leap/vision.cfm).
The benefit of aligning the assignment level learning outcomes all the way to the national learning outcomes is that the information collected on student learning on a daily basis right within the classroom then becomes directly applicable and valid for use in program assessment at all levels above the classroom level. This alignment takes the value of traditional print-based portfolios which have been primarily for student benefit, and extends its worth to the entire institution.
Students continue to benefit by having a repository to collect all of their learning artifacts (assignments, etc.), a method to reflect and think critically upon what they have learned, and a way to assemble and present themselves to future employers.
Faculty members benefit by having one task accomplish two goals, thereby reducing workload. When well defined learning outcomes are presented to the students, they will more fully understand the assignments and will likely develop higher quality products. And when these same learning outcomes are in alignment with departmental outcomes, program assessment then becomes a nearly automated process.
Administrators benefit by measuring student learning across the entire university using the same instrument, thereby generating consistent and reliable data aggregation for analysis and decision making (evidence of learning). Additionally, the reports generated from within the ePortfolios have a direct, one-to-one relationship to the regional accrediting entities requirements.
For more information on the process of using ePortfolios to map assignments to higher level learning outcomes, please visit this video recorded at the recent CSU “ePortfolio Day of Planning” (http://teachingcommons.cdl.edu/eportfolio/resources/dop/mapping.html).
If you are interested in having more information on how ePortfolios at HSU might create a conscious “ePortfolio Culture”, you may want to watch this video from Dr. Maggie Beers (SFSU) (http://teachingcommons.cdl.edu/eportfolio/resources/dop/culture.html).