After the first review cycle at the end of the first year of the pilot, we made changes to the eportfolio program to make it more sustainable for faculty, students, and administrators.
Since students were selecting artifacts that represent the Honors College Student learning Outcomes--even before they took courses tailored to address those outcomes--we designed an incremented plan that students could follow to construct their eportfolios. Doing so should help to make the process a more natural one and should streamline both implementation and assessment. While students were able to successfully create their eportfolios, they were not able to manage the task of working like Helen C. Barrett's (2002) pack rats because they were uncertain of what to pack away into their nests.
Rather than ask students to begin wholesale collection, we modeled the eportfolio construction process after Helen C. Barrett's (2011) three levels of eportfolios.
- Level One: ePortfolio as Storage. During their first year, students work on assembling their eportfolios and then establish a routine of uploading major assignments and activities to the eportfolio.
- Level Two: ePortfolio as Workspace/Process. Students begin to actively collect and thoughtfully reflect on artifacts for the eportfolio. Since the eportfolios document a college career's worth of learning, the collection phase could last for four or more years. To keep students attuned to their eportfolios and to foster a habit of active collection and reflection, students were asked to reflect upon certain outcomes (and thus courses) during each year of study. Since students progress in cohorts, they would archive and reflect upon at least one learning outcome artifact per year and at least one core course artifact per term.
- Level Three: ePortfolio as Showcase/Product. Each summer, the ePortfolio Coordinator, Director of the Honors College, interested faculty, and peer reviewers will review the eportfolios and offer formative feedback. The feedback will indicate whether students selected appropriate artifacts and will help them refine their reflections. Creating such an ongoing dialogue will, ideally, help students see the value of their eportfolios and will validate their work. Finally, these review cycles will help students refine their eportfolios before their final review.
The new guidelines were disseminated to students via the Honors College Moodle shell and during workshops. Additionally, honors faculty attended eportfolio briefings where they were provided with the guidelines below:
Student's eportfolios will have two primary sections: In the Learning Outcomes section, students upload documents that evidence learning in each of the four Honors College learning outcomes. In the Course Showcase, students will upload documents that evidence learning in each Honors Core course.
In the future, the Honors College will work with faculty to designate set showcase assignments, those designated for the eportfolio.
Year One (first-year students): Create eportfolio site and all required pages. Practice uploading supporting documentation and reflections. Submit eportfolio for assessment in June.
Required artifacts: Biography, Educational Philosophy (HNRS 101), Knowledge Creation artifact (HNRS 101), Major assignments from HNRS Core (HNRS 110, 120, 130).
Year Two (sophomores): Revise current eportfolio material based on year-one assessment results. Revise reflections to more specifically indicate how documents meet Honors College Learning Outcomes. Submit eportfolio for assessment in June.
Required artifacts: Year One artifacts, Civic Engagement and Social Innovation artifact (HNRS 120), major assignments from HNRS Core (HNRS 110, 120, 130) and HNRS Electives.
Year Three (juniors): Revise current eportfolio material based on year-two assessment results. Draft the resume page. At this point, the eportfolio should be nearly complete. Submit eportfolio for assessment in June.
Required artifacts: Year One and Year Two artifacts, and Global Citizenship artifact (HNRS 310, 320, 330), major assignments from HNRS Core (HNRS 310, 320, 330), and HNRS Electives.
Year Four (seniors): Revise current eportfolio material based on year-three assessment results. Major revision activities could include refining the eportfolio so it can be used as a job-search or graduate school application tool after graduation. Submit eportfolio for assessment in June.
Required artifacts: Year One and Year Two and Year Three artifacts, and Aesthetic Awareness and Creativity, major assignments from HNRS Core (HNRS 310, 320, 330) and HNRS Electives, Thesis Prospectus (HNRS 495, 496), and resume/CV.
Transitional elements: The Year Four portfolio will also be prepared for graduate school searches, professional program searches, or job searches.
In addition to enhancing the way students assemble their eportfolios, we asked faculty to become active members in the eportfolio pilot. Students were asking questions about eportfolios, so it was important to devise guidelines for faculty, some of which are included here:
As Honors College faculty, your eportfolio obligations are currently limited to what you desire to contribute. However, the Honors College might ask you to designate a specific major assignment as an eportfolio supporting document. Christopher Harris is managing the eportfolio pilot.
In the least, please inform and remind students about their eportfolio obligations. It would be most beneficial to distribute the following paragraphs to your students.
The CSULA Honors College is adopting eportfolios as a venue for students to create and submit a collection of documents that exemplify each student's mastery of the four Honors College Learning Outcomes. During the process of assembling eportfolios, students will collect work from their classes, as well as personal observations, and then link those to learning outcomes.
In essence, think of your eportfolio as a way for you to showcase your educational achievements. You can then use a well-thought eportfolio as a job search tool after you graduate. Your eportfolio can represent you and identify your scholarly achievements in the digital world, so take care to make a great first impression to your eportfolio evaluators, possible employers, and anyone else with whom you choose to share your portfolio. If you have questions about your eportfolio, then contact the Honors College (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Christopher Harris, ePortfolio Coordinator (email@example.com).
Additionally, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- As Honors College faculty, you already identify which assignments address Honors College Student Learning Outcomes. If an assignment addresses a Student Learning Outcome, then remind students that they may include that assignment in their eportfolio's Course Showcase.
- Since students have the opportunity to showcase work from all of their courses, if you assign an especially interesting or creative assignment, then remind students that they could include that assignment in their eportfolio's Course Showcase.
- Students must include one assignment from each Honors Core course in the Honors College Outcomes section of their eportfolios. Please remind students to upload a document. If you designate a specific assignment as an eportfolio artifact, then please notify Christopher Harris and Michelle Hawley. The Honors College might ask you to designate a specific major assignment as an eportfolio supporting document.
- Please keep in mind that you should never ask your students to upload assignments for you to grade from within the eportfolio. Students should only upload artifacts that they have handed in, to a professor, for a course.
This means that a student might hand in one copy of an assignment to their professor and then might upload a second copy of the assignment to their eportfolio.
- Remind students that they can contact Christopher Harris for eportfolio advice, tutoring, or troubleshooting.
- You may remind students that the best (most thorough, most creative, etc.) eportfolios will receive awards each year.
You might remind students to invite, or grant access, yourself, and Dr. Harris to their eportfolios.
The mere act of discussing Honors College Student Learning Outcomes reminds students that their curriculum has been carefully designed, as they will notice how outcomes overlap into their different courses.
Additionally, after the first year of the pilot, the Honors College created a job description for the ePortfolio Coordinator and provided reassigned units for the position. Formalizing the position showed an interest in using eportfolios as both an assessment tool and as a means for students to enhance their own education. The job description for the ePortfolio Coordinator is as follows:
The ePortfolio Coordinator will work with the Honors College students and faculty to ensure that student eportfolios meet both the college's expectations and the students' own needs. Among the tasks related to these responsibilities are the following:
- Develop programming and training modules to ensure student competency with the recommended eportfolio tool and to foster familiarity with Honors College Student Learning Outcomes.
- Track student progress in the completion of eportfolio competencies by coordinating yearly formative assessments.
- Develop a set of rubrics to measure student eportfolio-building progress during years 1-4.
- Develop a set of rubrics to measure student achievement of Honors College Student Learning Outcomes during years 3&4.
Manage and report upon the evaluation process for eportfolios when requested.
- Provide data on the eportfolio initiative to campus and public audiences.
- Manage the relationship with the eportfolio provider.
- Create and chair the Honors College ePortfolio Committee
- Advise students on eportfolios.
- Maintain a record of student eportfolio accounts and locations.
- Collaborate with the Director of the Honors College on faculty and staff development related to eportfolios.
- Collaborate, when needed, with Information Technology Services or E-Learning Programs and Support staff on the technological aspects of the initiative.
The major changes to the way students upload documents, to the way faculty are advised to discuss eportfolios with their students, and to the way the eportfolio coordinator's position is defined added much needed structure to the eportfolio pilot and certainly will ensure sustainability not only of the pilot, but of an official eportfolio program.