About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3718-3725
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain

AFFORDANCES OF SOFTWARE IN THE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, AND REVISION OF INSTITUTIONAL EPORTFOLIO PROGRAMS

H. Sanborn, M.A. Dellinger

Virginia Military Institute (UNITED STATES)
In this paper, two former directors of an eportfolio program at an American liberal arts college discuss the process by which they designed and revised their approach to implementation of the software used by students and faculty. Initially, the eportfolio project on campus was a means to assess performance in a new core curriculum requirement to which multiple departments, from disciplines as disparate as English and Engineering, contributed courses. As faculty members began the process of designing the assessment of learning outcomes, they faced a conundrum: how could one find an instrument to evaluate student performance for these common goals while serving the different needs of each department? Ultimately, the faculty members involved in this initiative settled on an application tied to the campus Learning Management System (LMS). This software required only a basic set of user computing skills and made for the straightforward collection and coding of data for assessment.

However, as the authors note, the needs of professors and students quickly outpaced the affordances of the software. The closed nature of the application used to house eportfolios rendered their use after graduation impossible. Though assessment was made easier through the ease of identifiable components, it also undermined the pedagogical benefits of the eportfolio for students and faculty, alike.

Thus, in 2013, the eportfolio program adopted a new software approach that was tied less to assessment and more to a reflective pedagogy. Both faculty and students, through individual meetings, workshops, focus groups, and seminars, were included in the process and voiced a desire for greater flexibility, capability, and practicality. Again, faculty planners assessed the benefits of different software platforms but, now, approached the process with a different set of guiding principles. The choice of software platforms started with an initial preference for Web 2.0 applications (like Wordpress, Weebly, Wix, etc.) over closed software, such as those tied to a school LMS. After much deliberation, the eportfolio program settled on the use of Wordpress, hosted by a third-party. This approach offered some of the benefits of the previous software implementation, with LDAP-integration and the protection of student data, but also allowed for greater use of multi-modal assignments, reflection in blogs and pages, and considerations for building a career profile for use after graduation.

Subsequent to the implementation of this new, Wordpress-focused approach, scores for cultural understanding, analysis and reflection in student reflective essays jumped significantly: scores for these categories increased by 12-15 percent, on average. In addition, scores have increased across disciplines and the use of eportfolios has adapted to include more Audio-Visual projects. Statistical tests confirm these improvements across the board. The authors will discuss the details of this evolutionary process from their positions as the leaders of the eportfolio program on campus over the past five years. They will also discuss the use of software for assessment and the decisions made to link the choice of application, at various stages of development, to the interests of university stakeholders, students, and faculty, alike.
@InProceedings{SANBORN2015AFF,
author = {Sanborn, H. and Dellinger, M.A.},
title = {AFFORDANCES OF SOFTWARE IN THE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, AND REVISION OF INSTITUTIONAL EPORTFOLIO PROGRAMS},
series = {9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-5763-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {2-4 March, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {3718-3725}}
TY - CONF
AU - H. Sanborn AU - M.A. Dellinger
TI - AFFORDANCES OF SOFTWARE IN THE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, AND REVISION OF INSTITUTIONAL EPORTFOLIO PROGRAMS
SN - 978-84-606-5763-7/2340-1079
PY - 2015
Y1 - 2-4 March, 2015
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2015 Proceedings
SP - 3718
EP - 3725
ER -
H. Sanborn, M.A. Dellinger (2015) AFFORDANCES OF SOFTWARE IN THE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, AND REVISION OF INSTITUTIONAL EPORTFOLIO PROGRAMS, INTED2015 Proceedings, pp. 3718-3725.
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