Articles and Websites
Graduate students preparing research on electronic portfolios have often asked what questions need to be explored about electronic portfolios. Here is the beginning of a list by practitioners in the field. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be posted to this page, along with your e-mail address for further clarification.
Helen Barrett's Questions: (email@example.com)
- 2009 questions for Open Collaborative Action Research Project
- What are the perceived benefits of developing e-portfolios with Web 2.0 tools in K-12 schools as perceived by students, teachers, administrators, and/or parents?
- What are the perceived obstacles to implementing e-portfolios with Web 2.0 tools in K-12 schools and how can they be overcome?
- What are students' attitudes toward their Web 2.0-based e-portfolios? (i.e., Do students take ownership of their learning and work using Web 2.0-based e-portfolios?)
- What are successful strategies for:
- introducing e-portfolios to students at different grade levels (primary--grades K-3, intermediate--grades 4-8, secondary--grades 9-12)?
- scaffolding student reflection in e-portfolios on a day-to-day basis (immediate reflection-in-action)?
- digitizing and storing student artifacts in Web 2.0-based e-portfolio systems?
- supporting the use of e-portfolios in student-parent-teacher conferences?
- maintaining student interest and engagement in the e-portfolio process (student ownership)?
- supporting student development of showcase portfolios at the end of a term or program (more summative metacognition)?
- What are the perceived advantages of using different Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, GoogleApps, etc.) for e-portfolio development at different developmental levels?
- What are the issues of data import and export functions in different Web 2.0 tools for maintaining interoperability between different ePortfolio platforms?
- (from the AERA 2004 Conference)
- How do we create an Institution-Centered Assessment and Accountability System…without losing the power of the portfolio as a student-centered tool for lifelong learning and professional development?
- How do we maintain the authenticity of the portfolio process…and help our teacher candidates develop the skills and attitudes necessary to implement this strategy with their own students once they have their own classrooms?
- My current questions:
- What is the value-added of publishing a portfolio in an electronic format? (When I look at a lot of paper-based portfolios, I see documents printed by laser printers...so the documents are in some type of electronic format... they are just published in a paper format.) Is it worth the extra effort to publish these documents in some type of electronic format (CD-ROM, web server, video tape, DVD, etc.)? What are the benefits that outweigh the extra effort? We know from the literature on change that the benefits of an innovation must exceed the cost of adoption, or it just won't happen. That is why I advocate using common tools that people already know how to use, and only take on new technologies or strategies once they are comfortable.
- What are the long-terms results of developing electronic portfolios (at either K-12 or Teacher Ed)? Do teachers adopt them in their classrooms with their own students? What are the barriers to implementing electronic portfolios in K-12 classrooms?
- Does creating an electronic teaching portfolio lead to more reflection on one's practice? We have some research that shows that teachers who reflect on their practice have students with higher achievement. So, what is the role of the portfolio in this process?
- Do teacher candidates who use commercial e-portfolio tools in their teacher education programs continue to maintain their portfolios once they leave their teacher ed programs? Do they continue to subscribe to the service? Do they have the technology skills to maintain the portfolio on their own? Which programs scaffold the process sufficiently so that the teacher can maintain the portfolio on their own? Or do these programs foster dependency? (Does my bias show through this question?)
- How is the insertion of technology into the portfolio development process changing the very definition of "portfolio" as it originally appeared in the literature? What do the early thinkers on paper-based portfolios think about some of the new directions that electronic portfolios are taking? (Lee Shulman, Bob Tierney, Pearl & Leon Paulson, etc.)
- How do we take “compliance” portfolios developed in teacher education programs and transform them into professional development portfolios once those teachers are in the classroom? How do we build an expectation that portfolios can be used for long term growth while at the same time using these portfolios for high stakes assessment? Is this an impossible dream?
- (from the SITE 2002 Conference)
- 1. Does creating an electronic portfolio enhance a teacher candidate's self-esteem?
- 2. Does creating an electronic portfolio enhance a teacher candidate's multimedia development skills? (Does constructing an electronic portfolio develop competency and demonstrate achievement of both Teaching Standards AND the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards?)
- 3. Do interns understand the multiple purposes that can be met from creating an electronic portfolio?
- 4. What type of support system is needed by interns to develop their electronic portfolios, and are certain types of support are more useful than others?
- 5. Will multimedia skills gained from the process of developing electronic portfolios transfer to student use in the classroom?
- 6. Is there a positive relationship between the time spent developing the electronic portfolio, and the teacher candidate's attitude toward their portfolio and whether they will use it in the future?
Helen Barrett's Hypotheses
- A model can be developed for balancing both the needs of accountability and deep learning, using three different systems that electronically talk to each other: A digital archive of learners' work; A learner-centered electronic portfolio "using the learner's authentic voice"; An institution-centered database to collect faculty-generated assessment data based on tasks and rubrics. For more in-depth discussion, see http://electronicportfolios.org/systems/paradigms.html#model.
- Greater learner ownership and control over the contents, purpose, and process of portfolio development, will lead to more intrinsic motivation to use the portfolio to support lifelong learning. For more in-depth discussion, see http://electronicportfolios.org/systems/paradigms.html#motivation.
From a High School implementing an electronic portfolio systen with their students:
- How do we get teacher "buy in".... The teachers must do more than just say "This would be a good project to put in your portfolio"
- How do we find the Resources..... Finding time, helpers, labs, for students to use on "their" time?
- Biggest question/complaint..... How will this help students? Students don't care about keeping, reflecting on, exhibiting their work.... How do we sell it to students and parents? How will it help them get a job, scholarship, into college, etc..Is there any hard evidence of what portfolios have done for students in this regard?
From a researcher/developer of an e-portfolio system in a higher education institution in Singapore:
How can you verify that the input [in an online portfolio] is honest and true? How important are grades and transcripts in eportfolio systems? For further information on the background of these questions, read a case study based on a listserv posting to the ePortfolios listserv.
Jonathon Richter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- What types of Electronic Portfolio architectures and reflective practices are most conducive for Teachers and Teacher Candidates to enhance their adaptation to growth and changing conditions?
- What kinds of barriers are evident in various Electronic Portfolio development milieus for useful learning about possible, probable, or preferable futures?
- a. learner development,
- b. motivational
- c. mental representation,
- d. technological constraints
- e. learning environment
- f. teacher presentation
- g. assessment
Edinburgh's Research and Development of the ePortfolio (ERADC)
Dave Tosh, University of Edinburgh
- How do you encourage students to use ePortfolios?
- What is the best way to get industry involvement?
- Does anyone know or have experience of combating faculty resistance?
- For those that have implemented an ePortfolio – what are your students’ experiences?
- Who owns the ePortfolio?
- How to use e-portfolios to bridge the digital divide
Joanne Carney & Western Washington University
- What kinds of course-embedded tasks enhance reflection about teaching practice and contribute to preservice teacher learning?
- How might those tasks be best structured to prompt and display professional growth and development in a portfolio?
- What do these anchored tasks and other portfolio evidence tell us about a program’s effectiveness?
- Do teacher portfolios have positive impact on P-12 student learning, and if so, under what conditions?
- Under what conditions will teachers continue to use a portfolio for their professional development?
- How do various technological tools operate as tools for teacher knowledge construction and documentation?
Diane Demarest, Program Coordinator, University of Idaho, Parents as Teachers Demonstration Project
I believe that if we integrate the concept of reflective record keeping through portfolios in the early years, there won't be a need to create buy-in at the elementary or secondary level. It will become an integral skill set and measure much like report cards or as institutional as parent-teacher conferences. I would like to add to the list several questions that I hope to explore:
- Can e-portfolios be an effective mechanism for reflective learning in adults during their child's early years when the learning is focused on parenting?
- Can e-portfolios (in a format yet to be determined) be integrated in a meaningful way in to home visiting or center-based parent education programs to serve the needs of the adult learner (the parent) while benefitting the child?
- Can an e-portfolio designed with content areas that would respond appropriately to #s 1 and 2 above also be an effective mechanism to bridge the gap of communication (as often cited in the literature) between home or early learning setting and the formal education system, most notably at kindergarten entry?
- If the implementation is successful, then can we assess the impact this may have on parental efficacy, engagement in the education system from the beginning of formal schooling, alignment of teacher and parent expectations at kindergarten entry and the impact of a strengths-based assessment of the child as they enter school.
- By developing this strategy in the most formative parent/child years, can we create a pattern of ongoing reflection with a growing e-portfolios owned by the parent and student that both empower learners and engages parents more intimately in the educational process?
- As a learning strategy, if parents more often created records of the simple daily events and reflected on them, many issues would be more readily solved that cause families to become chaotic, polarized or disfunctional.
Imagine what it might be like if this strength-based, multi-dimensional, highly textured story of the parent and child's journey through 18 years of learning replaced the one-dimensional, unimaginative transcript that moves through the system with the student, and may include only the name or address of the parent, at best. At the risk of sounding like a total Pollyanna, I think there is potential for a succesful eportfolio program in the early years to revolutionize the transition into school and the roles of parents in the process.
TaskStream's REFLECT Initiative Research Questions
- How do e-portfolios provide evidence of deep learning?
- Under what conditions can e-portfolios be successfully used to demonstrate assessment for learning and assessment of learning?
- Under what conditions do students take ownership of their e-portfolios?
- What are the benefits of developing e-portfolios as perceived by students, teachers, administrators, and/or parents?
- What are perceived obstacles to implementing e-portfolios with secondary school students and how can they be overcome?
- How do paper portfolios differ from e-portfolios?
Spelman College Research Questions
- Critical digital literacy, as articulated by Selfe (1999), remains an elusive concept—to define, to identify, and to teach. Fostering CDL in Black students raises additional questions of power, literacies, and agency (Knadler, 2001; Banks, 2006). How does the electronic portfolio program at Spelman College, which takes as its central goals to foster critical thinking and lifelong learning, attempt to achieve those goals? How do its design and implementation both serve and fail the students involved in the project?
- What do faculty and students involved in Spelman’s electronic portfolio project (SpEl.Folio) tell us about the development (or lack thereof) of CDL through their work on electronic portfolios?
- What do the students and faculty at Spelman tell us about the intersection of their identities with their work on electronic portfolios? How do participants’ identities interact with their engagement with SpEl.Folio?
- How do Spelman students’ engagement with course-based eFolios compare to their engagement with self-sponsored Web sites such as Facebook? Specifically, what differences in purpose, audience, agency, content, reflection, and architecture characterize their engagement with these different kinds of sites? What can we learn from students’ self-sponsored work in digital media that can inform institutionally-sponsored programs such as SpEl.Folio?
(courtesy of Margaret Price, Assistant Professor, Dept. of English & Director, SpEl.Folio, Spelman College - see article in Campus Technology, December 6, 2006.
E-mail me the question and a short paragraph explanation and I will add them to this list.
A comprehensive list of references compiled from a variety of research studies and dissertations on electronic portfolios 152K (from dissertations about Electronic Portfolios completed in the last five years by Carney (2001), Derham (2003), Falls (2001), Piper (1999)
compiled by Helen C. Barrett, Ph.D.
updated March 21, 2011