Monday, May 22, 2006

Take 5--Electronic Portfolios

Our recent homework, was to find an article in the professional archives; I couldn't help myself but to find three and I soon had to stop myself. I am so glad Jan (our librarian) explained the wealth of information that is on our subscription service Ebsco Library.

I researched electronic portfolios. The very first sentence in an article titled "The Portfolio Process: Questions for Implementation and Practice" gives weight to what I would like to employ: "The portfolio, a collection of a student's work over their course of study, has become a popular tool for college teaching" (Bowers 1). This article continued explaining that there are 2 key issues with portfolios: 1) students' investment in the portfolio process and 2) students' developmental readiness for portfolio tasks (1). As I think about adding this and figuring out what would be important, how to assess them, how to have the students reflect, I know that what I have done in my classes in regards to self-reflection, no matter how small is still rewarding. I started having students keep a list of my comments to them on their writing. They pull out this list, add to it over the course of assignments, and then use it as they write a new prompt, paragraph, or essay. This has been very successful and I feel the students have gotten stronger by taking ownership in their own writing strengths and certainly their weaknesses. I even had one student say, "Gosh, I'm making the same mistakes, aren't I?" What a refreshing sound hearing a student recognize this repetition of mistakes.

The article also discussed the type of portfolios being either summative (showing the polished final drafts with reflections on how they got there) or formative (a collection of writing some polished, but simply a collection that shows growth and practice). Right now I use the summative version with my Creative Writing class and truly I would rather see the formative portfolio. I want to see revising: scribbles, arrows, comments from themselves and peer editors. I have added a portfolio element to my freshmen, but I had a hard time making this a priority. I think I will create my own over the summer, so that I can see the final product and play with the content.

Bowers, S. "The Portfolio Process: Questions for Implementation
and Practice." College Student Journal. December 2005.
EBSCO Publishing. 16 May 2006.

Another interesting article supports Friedman's argument that the world is flat. We need to create life-long learners that are innnovative both in their thinking and in technology.


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