MERLOT Voices

Putting Educational Innovations into Practice.

Before the February 25, 2009 ePortfolio Day of Dialogue, attendees submitted these strategies and activities related to selecting or implementing ePortfolio solutions:

* Building in the approach from the ground up, mapping it to all
courses, program outcomes, dispositions, and professional
standards (e.g., Teaching Performance Expectations). Adapting from
existing bulk-portfolio process directly to new technologies.
Incorporating social web components to make the process more
engaging and meaningful to individuals. Let teaching and learning
drive the process, not back-end accreditation processes.
* Providing faculty an account to use for contract renewal and
Promotion & Tenure cases. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars
per faculty for copies, binders, and mailings to external
reviewers, all the material is within the ePortfolio and available
for internal and external review.
* We are still developing our program. First introduction was a 1
unit, 8 week course Fall ‘08 in the CAOT (Computer Applications &
Office Technology) Dept. Spring ‘09 we are offering 2 such
courses, one in the classroom and one online. Our "real" rollout
is scheduled for Fall ‘09 when some instructors will begin to
include ePortfolios as a part of their standard courses, with the
CAOT courses available for those that want to learn more.
* Identifying the core group of people who are actually motivated to
do the work. The responsible committee per se won’t do it.
* My classes have enjoyed using wikis to share background research
and online resources. Providing a very clear upfront organization
and cleaning up stray strands is key to keeping wikis usable.
Blogs have been a great way for students to share and peer-review
computer graphics assignments. Ease of use and user support have
been important for successful implementation of both wikis and blogs.
* When introducing and/or adapting ePortfolios for specific
disciplines, in our experience it’s been valuable to take into
account the discipline-specific practices, culture, and
vocabulary. For example, in mechanical engineering, we called the
Portfolio an "idea log" which was more meaningful to the local
design community. For a microbiology course, the "e-poster" built
upon the longstanding tradition of using posters to share
findings, process, and reflections in science fields (see
Takayama, 2005).
* A solid set of rubrics by which to evaluate the portfolios,
rubrics which are shared with and explained to the students.

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