Do I Really Need A Portfolio?

According to Miller and Morgaine, “e-portfolios provide a rich resource for both students and faculty to learn about achievement of important outcomes over time….” (2009)  They point to the fact that, “you can build learners’ personal and academic identities as they complete complex project and reflect on their capabilities and progress….” (2009)  Further, an e-portfolio allows for the integration of learning as students connect learning across courses and time….” (2009)  This is extremely important because As educators we need to be able to answer, “Why is this important?” Or, “I don’t need history, I am going to be a pharmacist.”   Finally,  Miller and Morgaine argue that an e-portfolio allows the student to , “be focused on developing self-assessment abilities in which students judge the quality of work using the same criteria experts use”  (Miller and Morgaine 2009). 

Carol Rogers views ability of the e-portfolio to allow the student to reflect on their work as one of the major benefits of an e-portfolio. She argues that collective reflection processes affirm the value of one’s own experiences.  This idea is known as feedforward.  Feedforward is an opportunity for those with the growth mindset to improve.  Rodgers premise is that, “reflecting in the group can offer new ways to see things present alternative meanings or broaden our perspectives the more people that are involved in the more diverse the group is the better our chances are to be challenged, to be questions, and to compare alternative perspective” (Rodgers 2002).  A student that wants to be successful in a setting where feedforward comes from the group setting has to have grit, not a fixed mindset.  They have to be willing to see that the criticism or correction of their work is not personal, but beneficial.  

The idea that students who have an e-portfolio will be successful it’s further noted by Eynon and Gambino.  They looked at studies from various universities around the country, and aggregated their data for a presentation that was made to a group called, Catalyst for Learning.  In the presentation, they pointed out that, LaGuardia City College they’ve been using an e-portfolio system for over 12 years. What they [LaGuardia] found is that the students that were enrolled in e-portfolio classes were more successful than their colleagues that were not. Eynon and Gambino also not that at San Francisco State University they use the e-portfolio.  The portfolios are used  in a program that is designed for students who are high dropout risks.  The students who were in an e-portfolio track were much more successful in the metrics that were measured in the study then the students who weren’t.   On the website, It’s About Learning, Harapnuik introduces the idea of COVA.  E portfolios  follow the COVA narrative of education.  Students have a Choice of which items they can place in the portfolio.  As well, students have an authentic Voice because it is a true reflection of what they have learned.  

Seth Goodwin is quoted as saying, “have something to brag about.”  Watching the investigative video on the Canadian job market from DOC ZONE caused some ideas to stand out to me.   The average job opening attracts 250 resumes and only five people out of that 250 or about 2%, will get an interview. Now consider what Seth says!  I’ve been in the same district for 24 years, but if I were going out to get a job I would want an all-encompassing place where I can show evidence of good teaching, projects, awards, and community involvement; authentic signs of my strengths. An e-portfolio provides that. Lauryn Friese pointed out that there are people who are, “ actually paying to get more college with less work experience.”  Whether we want to admit it or not, the reason why each one of us is enrolled in this program is to make more money.  Glassdoor.com might not be the most scholarly publication, but in their article, 8 Things I Should Bring to a Job Interview, they state, “you need to bring a portfolio of your past work…. it can even be a website.”

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