ePortfolio Pedagogy and Active Learning
Because ePortfolios can have so many purposes and shapes, integration into a course can take many forms. Instructional strategies with ePortfolios frequently change; for faculty, revision is common, perhaps even essential. Why is this?
ePortfolios are a technology tool in only a limited sense. Using ePortfolios successfully requires understanding their implications through careful thinking and development of a deeper conceptual understanding of their pedagogical purpose. Thus, determining the method to use for ePortfolio integration—the purposes it will serve within your class or program—means that consideration of certain questions becomes essential. These questions can be conceived in two ways. Both are integral to specific disciplines and larger pedagogical approaches:
- What is the best fit between your discipline and a course-based integration strategy?
- What discipline-based skills and knowledge can an ePortfolio strengthen or elicit?
- What choices will you make about learning objectives using ePortfolios?
How can a student learn best within your discipline, using the capabilities that ePortfolios provide?
Larger pedagogical questions:
- ePortfolios engage students at multiple levels which move beyond the discipline or subject area. From that perspective, what do you want students to learn through use of ePortfolios? Some possibilities:
- Conscious, intentional integration
- of knowledge across different discipline
- of personal experience, choices, and aspirations with academically-acquired knowledge
- A sense of authorship and intellectual ownership
- The ability to “slow down and think”; to reflect critically on knowledge and experience
- The ability to create and manage an academic online identity
- The ability to integrate the online environment into their learning meaningfully and ethically
- The ability to extend these strategies across multiple semesters
ePortfolios represent an exciting, challenging opportunity to deepen our students’ engagement with their learning and to rethink our own relationship to pedagogy in a truly 21st century context. These questions and considerations are the starting point for that work.