5 Lessons Worth Learning About E-Portfolios

eportfolios

The University of Alaska discusses their recommendations to effectively implement electronic portfolios to gain success from students and faculty through 5 main steps:

1) Promote from the Bottom Up

The university’s faculty senate decided to take a more “grassroots approach” and slowly introduce the portfolios to the campus instead of making it mandatory. They worked on gathering appropriate resources for two years to support the eportfolio. Furthermore, they discussed this idea with the provost office and student government.

2) Dedicate a Team

There needs to be a proper team to manage the work of the eportfolios, and it needs to not be seen as just an IT or faculty development project. The team would need to both do the mundane activities, such as fitting the portfolio to an IT architecture, as well as the essential tasks such as creating a focal point where conversations can begin, be fostered, and then matured. Paul Wasko, an eportfolio initiative coordinator, and Heather Caldwell, an eportfolio strategist, worked with students and faculty to integrate them to the curriculum, courses, and created workshops for them. There would also need to be a team of student coaches to help out professors and students.

3) Master the art of the RFP

The university had to go through a request for proposal (RFP) process that required them to propose to several vendors. They chose the company Digication because they responded in the best terms by addressing every one of the requirements. They were also the cheapest option for them.

4) Hire vendor as the team player

Digication CEO Jeffrey Yan and President Kelly Driscoll participate in advisory committee meetings to “bring examples and understanding of how their tool worked in other universities”. The university was looking for a partnership with the vendor, not a relationship.

5) Identify new uses in unexpected areas

The university is experimenting with the functionality of the portfolio in order to further expand it. One example is Caldwell asking some faculty to use Digication to submit their PMT files. They are also trying to eliminate paper forms as much as they can by digitizing forms like peer reviews. The university is trying to fully integrate eportfolios into the school system, and one way they are advertising it is through student orientations.

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