FROM CREATION TO CRITICAL ASSESSMENT: ADDRESSING THE DIGITAL PORTFOLIO IMPERATIVE

V. Hui, A. Craigen, T. Cheung, R. Tsang

Ryerson University (CANADA)
Within design professions, the portfolio serves as a curated compilation of work that showcases an individual’s technical and creative acumen. As non-academic assessments, design portfolios have become ubiquitous components in determining admissions into post-secondary programs as well as entry into a range of professions. Increasingly intuitive desktop publishing, online connectivity, and greater demand by institutions and industry have made digital portfolios of student work more accessible than ever. Outlets for posting portfolios online have emerged in the past decade as rapidly as institutions have mandated them from students, yet there has not been an infrastructure to adequately provide meaningful experiential learning and evaluation. Though students can produce portfolios to enter the job market, there are a myriad of challenges with portfolio creation and dissemination including provision of timely critical feedback, relative familiarization with cohort performance, and macro-level assessment. As a response to this, a prototypical online system, Sharp Scholar, was developed and deployed within the largest Architectural Program in Canada. Though in its early stages, Sharp Scholar, has proven to be an extremely effective tool in overcoming these challenges while providing additional insights afforded by features such as “heat-mapping” of audience activity, timed viewings, and peer feedback that not only improved individual student’s portfolio of work but the pedagogical offering as a whole. As digital portfolios become both commonplace pedagogical and professional evaluation tools, it is imperative that educators look to new infrastructures that go beyond the creation of portfolios and invest in the emerging systems for their critical assessment.