Center for Teaching and Learning
Learning by Design: The Role of ePortfolios in Fostering Intentional Learning
Electronic portfolios are presented by some as the answer to all our needs: classroom teaching improves because students are better motivated and link their on-campus learning to learning outside of school; through eportfolios, the university assessment office can document real learning taking place in real classrooms. At the same time, electronic portfolios are presented by others as precisely what we don’t want to engage in: the classroom might be changed, but not for the better; the assessment opportunity offered by eportfolios might be authentic, but it’s insufficiently standardized.
By itself, no technology improves learning, of course. But each technology—be it the familiar blackboard or the newer Smartboard--brings with it a set of affordances that can enhance learning. Well might we ask, then: what are the affordances that eportfolios bring, and what difference might they make in the learning of students?
In this talk/demonstration, we’ll examine two “learning” affordances of eportfolios. First, we’ll identify the basic practices that students engage in when creating eportfolios—collection, selection, and reflection. In the process, we’ll pay particular attention to how these practices foster learning and to what reflection is and how we might foster it, especially in an electronic environment. Second, we’ll consider how eportfolios can function as a site for integrative learning, a space where students bring together and synthesize their learning from multiple sites, both on campus and off.
What we’ll find is that eportfolios can assist students in learning more intentionally, by design.