EPORTFOLIOS: HALLMARKS OF EXCELLENCE In the Master of Education program we require students to develop an ePortfolio, a password-‐protected online collection of work samples and written reflections. Heres why: ePortfolio Vision Statement By pursuing a Masters degree, you are in a process of – metaphorically speaking – writing the next chapter in the story of your life. Your courses are one part of that process. You construct meaning on your journey, considering how your program informs and shapes personal and professional goals. Your ePortfolio is designed to help you document this narrative of growth to see how parts relate to the whole. We believe it will help you improve the quality of your learning experience, both during and after your time in the program. WHAT MAKES AN EPORTFOLIO “GOOD”? You work on your ePortfolio throughout the program, adding something new to it in each course that you take. A good ePortfolio is more than an online resume or personal website. It provides evidence that you are thinking about Your present and future, What you have learned so far, The quality of your current work, How your experience relates to your current goals, How your goals have changed or matured over time, The connections between your learning experiences, and Additional experience you need to realize your goals. Make sure that every page in your ePortfolio includes meaningful text. Blank pages or pages that still have placeholder template text indicate that you aren’t keeping it up, using the ePortfolio to track your development and further your learning. The template includes suggestions and writing prompts to help you get started with this process. Revisit the introductory page and goals section of your ePortfolio at the beginning and end of each term, updating them to reflect recent developments. Evidence of learning is the heart and soul of an ePortfolio. Your work samples are evidence because they demonstrate your growing capabilities. Collect the work you have created for a class. Examine it to assess the
quality. As you look at the work, ask yourself questions like these: What am I learning? What are my strengths? What do I need to improve? Select one or more examples and upload the pieces along with an explanation or reflection. If you see room for improvement, say how you will act upon that observation. Be honest, because false claims of excellence are as bad as poor work! Communicate your goals and growth. Some learning experiences open up a whole new world of ideas, questions, and possibilities for your future direction. Other learning experiences reinforce aspirations. Consider the following questions as you write your reflection: What ideas and abilities did I gain from course readings and assignments? How does this newfound understanding differ from the assumptions that I had at the beginning of the course? How is my work different from what I would have been able to produce or do prior to my experience in the course or program? Remember that your ePortfolio can include more than text, including photos, documents, videos, slide presentations, multimedia galleries, and social media. Good ePortfolios are engaging; they often bring the story of a person’s learning to life through deft integration of images, sounds, colors, and text. But every element of your ePortfolio should serve a purpose. Gratuitous, inappropriate, and irrelevant use of multimedia – including images – compromises the quality of your ePortfolio. Spelling and grammar are important because they reflect your ability to communicate clearly. Read your ePortfolio aloud on a regular basis and have a friend check it for errors. You can also ask classmates and professors for feedback. Keep revising your ePortfolio to improve it. HOW WILL I USE MY EPORTFOLIO? • Course-‐Based Learning: While taking a class you will be prompted to post entries and work along the way so that you can chart the growth of your thinking and abilities, drawing on this material to author a final reflection about your course-‐related learning. Some professors may ask you to share your ePortfolio with other classmates. • Program Direction: While youre in the program, your ePortfolio provides you with successive snapshots of your learning, so that you can see how your work is adding up. • Personal and Professional Development: In viewing your ePortfolio as a whole you will probably see places where you are weak or would benefit from more depth and experience. This reflective exercise helps you make informed decisions about courses or extracurricular experiences that will help you achieve your goals. • Advancement: By the time you graduate you will have a comprehensive picture of your learning and capabilities. After you graduate your access to Blackboard will be terminated, but you will still have the ePortfolio. If you continue to update your ePortfolio to document professional growth, it will help you identify accomplishments and abilities when preparing for job interviews or annual review.