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E-Portfolios - Overview

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 6 years, 10 months ago

 Front Page / Assessment / E-Portfolios / Overview



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The integration of e-portfolios can provide a vehicle for driving integration across curriculum and co-curriculum, academic and student affairs, departments and centers, and the undergraduate (and even graduate) experience. As Randy Bass wrote, "E-portfolios are at heart a set of pedagogies and practices that link learners to learning, curriculum to the cocurriculum, and courses and programs to institutional outcomes." Bass is Vice Provost for Education at Georgetown University and Senior Researcher for the Connect to Learning Project, which involved 24 campuses in developing an integrative e-portfolio. 


Developing and using an e-portfolio for your Bonner Program, campus center for civic engagement, or entire institution might just provide an avenue for:


  • integrating curricular and co-curricular pathways
  • breaking down boundaries and siloes
  • developing and sustaining a culture of inquiry and learning
  • ensuring the integration of outcome-based and competency-oriented teaching and learning - including tied to civic engagement
  • building a student (and employer) friendly strategy for students to take charge and initiative in shaping and articulating their own learning


Much of this resonates strongly with the goals, structure, and developmental nature of the Bonner Program and our broader aspirations.


As Bass noted in "The Next Whole Thing in Higher Education," published in AAC&U's Peer Review (Winter 2014, Vol. 16, No. 1):


E-portfolios are change agents; they belong to an emergent learning paradigm and, as we argue in the Connect to Learning Project, have the capacity to catalyze change toward that paradigm. They do this in at least three crucial ways that are profoundly necessary at this potentially disruptive and disintegrative moment in higher education:


1. E-portfolios provide a mechanism for integrative learning; they give students a way to make connections across courses and experiences in order to create a whole greater than the sum of the curricular parts. As the options for acquiring isolated and decontextualized educational experiences proliferate, the need to support students in personalizing and contextualizing their learning is more crucial than ever. Indeed, emerging data suggests e-portfolio practice supports both improved student success (e.g. retention) and deep learning.


2. E-portfolios provide a means for integrating institutional measures of learning. Mature e-portfolio initiatives are sites of integrative assessment, bringing together student success and learning outcomes data in the context of authentic student work. Although the term “learning analytics” is often narrowly construed to refer only to data produced from virtual systems, e-portfolios epitomize the definition of learning analytics, as given by the Society for Learning Analytics Research: “the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning, and the environments in which it occurs.


3. E-portfolios can provide a means for clarifying and affirming localized institutional value. As large portions of the curriculum become commodified, generic, and interchangeable, e-portfolios provide an unparalleled means for leveraging the impact of local high-impact educational practices and making visible the distinctive educational contributions of faculty, place, and the local community.