Exploring the E-Portfolio:Encouraging Reflection and Transfer
Kim Freeman College Writing, UC BerkeleyWaves of Innovation, May 5 2016
Definitions:E-Portfolios differ from print portfolios in their multimodality and layout. This multimodality benefits students, whoareincreasingly expectedto be able to produce and consumetexts with more than alphabetic modes,such as video, blogs, visual essays, as well as data, figures, and graphs.Reflection:The non-linear layout of e-portfolios can foster cognitive differences and depth in reflection; it enables students to juxtapose, curate, and comment on works more thoroughly, enabling, as Randy Bass and BretEnyon(2009) have put it, creators of e-portfolios to make “the invisible” aspects of learning “visible.”Transfer:Because the e-portfolio is stored on the web, it is available simultaneously in multiple places and to multiplepeople. Notonly is this accessibility helpful in the classroom, where it can be projected and discussed, but it can also be shared with others—fellow students, friends, family, even potential employers orinternships, thus increasing student ownership of their work, as well as student awareness of their work’s portability.
Students in CW 161 Writing in the Biological Sciences write multiple projects all semester, revising those projects for a reflective portfolio. This semester students were asked to create an e-portfolio, to design a website in which they “curated” their work, arranging and commenting on it, using the modalities and spatial configurations e-portfolios afford.At its core the assignment asked for four major features: reflection, examples of their best revised work, examples of their writing in progress, and arrangement that is aesthetically pleasing, navigable, and reflective. Further, because the e-portfolio is an emerging genre, we spent time in class coming up with criteria.Students had their choice of free (and private) platforms; they were given this assignment five weeks before the class ended.
Outcomes and Projections
Plan to incorporate this strategy in other classes, including CW R4B and, potentially, R1A within the coming school year.Helpstudents see how skills transfer fromthe classroomto othersituations.Provide sample assignment and models for other teachers and students, available at theLecturer Teaching Fellowswebsite (available by June 1, 2016).Streamline withlarger trends in campus technology, such as Suite C. As Greg Niemeyer said at recent ETS workshop—thehope is to provide students with collected work they can take beyond the classroom.Show potential for teachers and reflection, too, with teaching e-portfolios, my example of which will be available at the LTF website, too.