Electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) are an excellent option to showcase and assess student learning, and serve as a valuable tool to faculty and academic programs. TTU eLearning & Academic Partnerships, the Office of Planning and Assessment, University Career Services, Information Technology, the Office of the Provost, the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center, and a faculty learning community focused on ePortfolios have worked together to examine multiple benefits of ePortfolios for undergraduate and graduate students. This evolving page combines the work of these groups and identifies resources that will assist faculty and students interested in ePortfolios.
Texas Tech University supports the use of ePortfolios as a tool with which students can demonstrate learning achievements, and individual faculty and academic programs can demonstrate fulfillment of learning objectives.
The TTU ePortfolio Initiative encourages the use of ePortfolios across the academic disciplines to (1) help educate and empower a diverse student body; (2) help enable innovative research and creative activities; and (3) help transform lives and communities through strategic outreach and engaged scholarship. ePortfolios, as both teaching and assessment tools, afford students and faculty opportunities to make reflective connections between disciplinary curricula, research and creative activities, marketable skills, and community engagement.
To support the use of ePortfolios, a collaboration between multiple departments including the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center (TLPDC), the Office of Planning and Assessment (OPA), eLearning and Academic Partnerships, the Office of the Provost, and many faculty and staff colleagues is key to the success of this initiative.
We believe that when students are asked to compile documents from a particular class or over a period of time in a program, the process of cultivating these representative materials and considering their own growth within their scholarship and/or within a particular discipline is positive.
Broad strategies to provide resources and encourage adoption of ePortfolios when aligned with the goals of the instructor and/or department include:
- Texas Tech University utilizes the Blackboard portfolio tool (available to the campus in Fall, 2018). Blackboard is the university's learning management system. This simple tool allows faculty to create a portfolio assignment and assess a student's portfolio through a rubric. Further, students can upload text, sample work, images, and videos to create a portfolio that suits their own purposes and/or meets the goals of the portfolio for a course or as a departmental requirement. One significant advantage of the Blackboard portfolio tool is the familiarity with and access to the platform to Texas Tech faculty, staff and students.
- The Office of Planning and Assessment (OPA) offers customized assistance to faculty members and instructors for rubric creation. We endorse the use of the AAC&U value rubrics and also suggest customizing value rubrics to best fit the goals of the ePortfolio.
- ePortfolios created in Blackboard can be exported as HTML files and potentially adjusted in terms of audience to emphasize marketable skills and to be used as potential hiring tools for students on the job market. However, the process of exporting the portfolio and adjusting its aim appropriately must be guided and requires some web editing skills. One significant advantage of the Blackboard portfolio tool is the familiarity with and access to the platform to Texas Tech faculty, staff and students.
- Some faculty may prefer that students create ePortfolios with alternative web authoring tools. This may allow for more flexibility in terms of aesthetics but may also be more difficult for assessment and documentation of growth with portfolio versions. Faculty and students should choose the platform that best supports their goals for portfolios.
- The collaboration of the department including the TLPDC, OPA, IT, and eLearning as well as feedback and resources developed by faculty and staff will focus primarily on the principles and practice of ePortfolios with specific materials also developed in regard to the Blackboard portfolio tool.
- Long-term goals include continued development of and longevity with the ePortfolio faculty learning community, a faculty development workshop series, ePortfolio template creation, a portfolio showcase event, consultation services for department chairs to help align programmatic goals with departmental adoption of ePortfolios, continued development of the website and resources, and possible development of a course or individual study students could take for credit that would help students redesign process portfolios in Blackboard to product portfolios for job applications.
For more information about this page or joining the ePortfolio Faculty Learning Community, please contact Suzanne Tapp, Executive Director, Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center.