Electronic portfolio or e-portfolios have the potential to enhance teaching, learning, and assessment practices. E-portfolio is used for a variety of purposes, such as for documenting learning and growth over time, for assessment, and for career planning. It has the potential to change the nature of learning environments and the ways in which student learning is promoted through different modes of learning.
This report analyze the process in creating an e-portfolio, reviews a number of issues and challenges associated with e-portfolios, and explore the effective use of e-portfolios for assessment.
From an instructional design point of view, I used the ADDIE model that I learned from Principles and Practices of Instructional Design in the 1st semester. The ADDIE model in e-portfolio development includes the following steps:
Stage 1: Analyze /Decide
In this stage, I analyzed what is the purpose of creating the e-portfolio. Because the purpose and goals of an e-portfolio will determine the content, the creation process, and the evaluation, it is important to have a purpose as guidance from the start.
I decided to showcase my experience in Learning Communities and Social Pedagogical Network course from the 2nd semester, as I had great learning experience from this course. At first, it was very difficult for me to learn about existing and new learning theories, but started to enjoy the course as it progressed.
Purpose: This e-portfolio will showcase evidence to reflect my understanding and mastery on the Learning Communities and Social Pedagogical Network course.
Stage 2: Design/Plan
In the second stage, I focused organizing or designing the presentation. Instead of using blog site, I used Mahara, a fully featured web application to build my e-portfolio.
Stage 3: Develop
In third stage, I have to select the specific artifacts to demonstrate achieving the portfolio goals. Therefore, I need to have a set of questions that will guide my e-portfolio development. The following are some guiding questions I used in selecting my artifacts:
- What is my most successful lesson, as measured by grade?
- What is my most satisfying lesson, as measured by my gut feeling, or lesson that went smoothly as planned?
- What is my most difficult lesson?
I choose the 2nd assignment as my most successful lesson, the 3rd assignment as my most satisfying lesson, and the 1st assignment as my most difficult lesson. To achieve the purpose of this e-portfolio, I included written reflective statements for each lesson.
Stage 4: Implement and Evaluate
In this stage, the e-portfolio is ready to be presented to the intended audience. My e-portfolio is available at http://bit.ly/13Vde64. I also provided room for feedback in my e-portfolio to enable the audience evaluate the effectiveness in light of its purpose and the assessment context.
Issues and Challenges
A number of issues and challenges encountered while I was developing the e-portfolio were as follows:
- To blog or not to blog. I was a bit confused when choosing the right web application to house the e-portfolio. From the start of my MIDT program, I have already collected my work/assignments in my blog. When it comes to showcase only a few sample of it, then I realize I have to do something else. Then, I remembered my last year experience when I visited HKIEd and attended a workshop on developing e-portfolio. I went on working my e-portfolio on Mahara, and link all the artifacts to the blog.
- Build then report, or the other way around? When analyzing what e-portfolio is all about, I got carried away and ended up writing a report before even start to build my e-portfolio. But then I realize, the right way to do it is to have a model as a guide, plan the e-portfolio, build the e-portfolio by adding up artifacts into it, take a look what it looks like and does it feels right, and lastly write what have gone through in a form of a report. It got me days wandering around to find the right path though.
- What is the purpose of my e-portfolio? There so many types of e-portfolios according to its function, e.g. assessment, showcase, development, and reflective. So many, I do not know which one to choose. After doing some reading and examining the artifacts, I decided to go with reflective portfolio. I choose this type because it suits perfectly with the purpose. I want to reflect the competences I should master using organized artifacts.
After overcoming the issues and challenges, I finally found the right track to develop my e-portfolio. This learning experience is surely the one that liked the most during my MIDT program.
E-portfolio as an Assessment
Assessing an individual requires first understanding the definition of “assessment,” which is distinct from “evaluation.” The word “assess” derives from the Latin assidere, which means “to sit down to,” or “beside” the learner. I believe that this position—next to, not in front of—is key to understanding that individual’s abilities. Assessment is an interactive process of sitting beside the learner to gather authentic and meaningful information for improving student learning, instructional practice, and educational options.
What distinguishes e-portfolio from other methods of assessment is that e-portfolio can foster reflective learning. The process of reflection is crucial to higher order learning, deeper understanding, and applying theory to practice.
Reflection helps learners to:
- Recall the purpose and goal of the assignment
- Assess their own work based on those goals
- Set specific new learning goals for themselves
- Personalize their own learning experiences and take ownership for their learning
- Examine critically what they have done, how they have done it, and what they have learned
- Look back on their learning, make connections to their prior methodologies, and anticipate their next steps
“When instructors read their students’ reflections, they open a window into the learners’ minds as well as into their own teaching.”
Barrett, H. (2000). Create your own electronic portfolio (using off-the-shelf software). Learning and Leading with Technology.
Boggan, M. & Harper, S. (2011). Creation of electronic portfolios in an educational leadership cohort. Journal of Case Studies in Education 1(1), 58-62.
Boston University (n.d.). ePortfolio as an assessment tool.
Lorenzo, G. & Ittelson, J. (2005). An overview of e-portfolios. Boulder, CO: Educause Learning Initiative.