ePortfolios: May 31-June 13, 2010

Portfolios: Getting "buy-in" from students and faculty

Re: Portfolios: Getting "buy-in" from students and faculty

by Julia Hengstler -
Number of replies: 0
Since I'm working with this as a first run implementation I can give you my projections:

The retention of artifacts created by students is required to demonstrate their attainment of standards to enter the teaching profession in BC. So in our case there is a driver that cannot be ignored. Electronic creation & archiving is the obvious choice for long term solutions in this situation. I believe re. our tool choice--Mahara--we have the flexibility for the students to provide what we need for reporting out, for developing a capstone portfolio to reflect & celebrate their accomplishments as well as morph it into something they can use to get a job. I think the "sell" would be more difficult without platform flexibility to meet the institutional & individual needs.

Re. faculty buy-in--as previously stated we must have this electronic portfolio and it must be built through our programs and classes. Faculty have a range of comfort learning new technologies--so I imagine a phase-in approach with early adoption driven by those who are passionate about technology and/or eportfolios will be the route. The need to tag content with course data (e.g. course codes) may create some interesting potential issues re. assessment of courses & instructors via eportfolio content--or not. One of the challenging aspects of working in post-secondary education, unlike the business sector--or even K-12 in BC, is that we can't take a day or 1/2 day and say "OK, today everyone in our department will learn the basics of how to work the eportfolio system." Even in K-12, the administration had control of a school based day--and could set the agenda.

It's also challenging for a school or department to look at each instructor contributing to the overall graduation/skill set of a student through each assignment. I think eportfolios, in the teacher credentialing area, can develop a more systemic perspective re. assignments then previously. Not just how does this assignment help students pass this course--how would it evidence that this student is now more ready to be a teacher--ready to be a credentialed teacher? At the same time, this could be a great asset to program development--helping align all that is done with the ultimate objectives of a program.

What I like most is for students to compare their earlier content with their exit content: here is where I was and look how far I've come. These are not necessarily what students want to present for employment or credentialing--or even a capstone, but for me, this type of portfolio is the true measure of their growth. Not just stating, "I used to believe x" but the passionate novice statement in all it's fervor & naivete compared with the voice of greater knowledge & experience--or the "I can't do that" compared with "Look what I can do..."