[EAS]Portfolio Projects

pjk peter.kindlmann at yale.edu
Sat Nov 4 18:25:34 EST 2000

Mail*Link® SMTP               Portfolio Projects

Dear Colleagues -

[I am mailing this to both the Yale Engineering [all-faculty] list,
and to my wider EAS-INFO list audience
<http://jove.eng.yale.edu/mailman/listinfo/eas-info>. So as Yale
engineering faculty many of you will get two copies. My apologies,
but I consider the subject important and have no easy way of
avoiding this duplication.]

Whether for reasons of ABET accreditation, or just taking a probing
interest in the effectiveness and evolution of our curricula, one
is faced with the difficulty of determineng what & how our students
learn. Since teaching, and feedback via homework, tests, reports,
etc. usually all happens within the confines of a course, it is
especially difficult to determe whether students are learning in
ways that integrate across courses.

Well-chosen and well-supervised projects can probe these more
integrative perspectives, as can frank and frequent enough
individual talks with students. But even with a major faculty
commitment to improved student learning, both those processes are
too rare to generate predictable feedback.

Portfolios are becoming a process used in many schools as a way of
having students form a cumulative record of their learning. Below I
forward a mailing from a Stanford list with more details about the
portfolio process. 

A classical form of portfolio would be the collection of sketches,
drawings and photographs that have long been required of art and
architecture majors have as part of their education, even as part
of their qualification to admission to more advanced courses.
Especially in smaller engineering programs the opportunities for
students' personal expression via portfolios should be just as apt.
And as described below, Web-based tools can be used to facilitate

I strongly encourage you to think about how you can build this
process into your courses. At Yale, please give Roman Kuc feedback
about this, as we need explicit learning evaluation in place for
ABET accreditation.

With best regards,  --pjk

|  Peter J. Kindlmann     |  Prof.(Adjunct), Director of Undergrad.  |
|  Dept. of Elect. Engrg. |  Studies and the Morse Teaching Center   |
|  Yale University        |  tel.(203)432-4294, fax (203)458-3803    |
|  New Haven, CT 06520    |  email: pjk at design.eng.yale.edu          |
|        http://www.eng.yale.edu/EE-Labs/morse/about/pjk.html        |

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Electronic portfolios have proliferated  over the past 2-3 years and 
are being used to assess student learning at all levels.  The 
American Association for Higher Education [http://www.aahe.org/] has 
adopted - and adapted - The Portfolio Clearinghouse from Kalamazoo 
College and has made it available on its web site at:

Below is a brief description of the project followed by two examples:

(1) Portfolios at IUPUI School of Liberal Arts: IUPUI Undergraduate 
Electronic Portfolios, and

(2) Portfolios at Stanford University: Learning Careers.


Rick Reis
Reis at stanford.edu
UP NEXT:  Tenure and Academic Excellence

			Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

		------------------------- 1,022 words ---------------------


The Portfolio Clearinghouse, recently acquired from Kalamazoo 
College, is a searchable collection of portfolio projects from around 
the world.  This database is a tool for institutions researching the 
ever-growing number of portfolio programs in use at institutions of 
higher education and a resource for individuals looking to the 
portfolio as a means of assessing student learning on the student, 
faculty, or institutional levels.
Portfolios vary greatly in the following four ways:

* Target populations: students, faculty, institutions
* Content: coursework, reflections, samples of best work
* Purpose: assessment of subject-area knowledge, assessment of 
overall skills, self-presentation (for employment or tenure), program 
assessment, reflection on growth, goal-setting
* Media: paper, web, CD-ROM, video, or some combination.

The database may be searched by purpose, media, institution, or 
keyword (such as "reflection" or "tenure"). The current records focus 
primarily on student portfolios, both paper and electronic, used for 
assessment and reflection, although some information on faculty and 
institutional portfolios is included and will be developed more 
extensively in the future.
If you have suggestions of other programs that should be included, 
please e-mail the database manager, Emily Springfield, at 
emily at drgndrop.com.

Example # 1: Portfolios at IUPUI School of Liberal Arts: IUPUI 
Undergraduate Electronic Portfolios

Dr. Sharon Hamilton
Director of Campus Writing
Contact Information:

815 West Michgan St.
Indianapolis IN 46202-5195
(317) 278-1846
shamilto at iupui.edu

Basic Information
Name of Program: IUPUI Undergraduate Electronic Portfolios
Department overseeing program: University College and the Dean of Faculties
URL of your Portfolio's Web site: http://
The stage of development of the institution's portfolio: Currently implemented
Year implemented, if applicable: 2000
Users of this portfolio: Student
Duration of portfolio use: Four or more years
Portfolio required: Prototype phase
Why did you initiate the portfolio program?
Problem it solves:

The primary one is to enable students to document their evolving 
understanding of the principles of undergraduate learning that are 
the hallmark of the undergraduate experience at IUPUI. After that 
primary purpose, the reasons vary from providing all students with 
tangible documentation of their evolving understanding for career and 
graduate school purposes; providing a means of assessing evolving 
understanding at the level of the major and the campus level.It 
addresses one of our goals of computer literacy among our students; 
it addresses the campus need for a way to gather evidence of evolving 
student understanding and proficiency at the campus level.
Primary purpose of the portfolio: Reflection

Additional uses of the portfolio: Career/resume planning
What format does it take?
Medium of portfolio: Web-based
Software or course packets used:

A customized version of Angel, which is a second generation version 
of OnCourse, a software program developed on our campus. Eventually, 
we hope to add CD-writing capabilities.

Students reviewed their portfolios with: Professor

How is it reviewed, and how often:
The pilot will take place in the fall and will be reviewed throughout 
the fall semester and retooled during the spring semester. I expect 
there will be an oversight committee for once per semester reviews 

General Results:

We have been working at this for more than three years, but it always 
reached a plateau prior to actual pilot and implementation. This year 
it looks set to go for the pilot.

Faculty have many concerns. They generally applaud the notion of 
student portfolios maintained by students. However, they have many 
concerns about using them for assessment of curriculum, teaching, and 
even learning. How will entries be validated and not later changed by 
students, for example? How is the institution protected from 
inappropriate entries in the portfolio? How are faculty's rights 
protected? Students' rights? Etc. Institutional opinion: the 
administration sees value for students, faculty, the institution, and 
community stakeholders in these portfolios.

As the incoming chair of this committee, I would play down what the 
administration wants and let faculty ideas, concerns, and questions 
play a stronger role earlier on. I am doing that now, but it has 
taken some backtracking to achieve that. Finding the balance between 
institutional needs and faculty needs has been the main challenge.

Example #2: Portfolios at Stanford University: Learning Careers

Dr. Helen Chen
Research Scientist, Stanford Learning Lab
Contact Information:

Office of the President
Building 10 (SLL)
Stanford CA 94305-2060
(650) 723-8161
hlchen at leland.Stanford.EDU

Basic Information
Name of Program: Learning Careers
Department overseeing program: Stanford Learning Lab
URL of your Portfolio's Web site: http://learninglab.stanford.edu/projects.html
The stage of development of the institution's portfolio: Currently implemented
Year implemented, if applicable: 1999
We estimate that 0.5% of students in our Entire institution use portfolios.
Users of this portfolio: Student, Institution
Duration of portfolio use: Four or more years

Why did you initiate the portfolio program?
Problem it solves:

Little is known about how students acquire, maintain and employ the 
knowledge and skills they accumulate over the course of their college 
career. The Stanford Learning Lab's Learning Careers project will 
explore the real-life shape of individual learning patterns by 
establishing a longitudinal study to track the undergraduate learning 
careers of thirty freshmen (Class of 2002) through their four years 
at Stanford University. The objectives of this study are two-fold: to 
develop a systematic understanding of the entire educational 
experience of Stanford undergraduate students and to capture the 
interaction between formal curricula and informal learning taking 
place within the university environment. One of our three hypotheses 
is that students will benefit from organizing their diverse 
experiences into coherent and articulated formats and from using this 
accumulated information to plan and assess their progress. The tool 
we will use to assess this hypothesis is the Electronic Learning 

Primary purpose of the portfolio: Program evaluation/Institutional assess.

Additional uses of the portfolio: Reflection,Integration of 
What format does it take?
Medium of portfolio: Web-based
Software or course packets used:
We are currently creating a web-based interface for the learning 
portfolio within the Stanford Learning Lab.
Students reviewed their portfolios with: Learning Lab Staff
How is it reviewed, and how often:
Not yet applicable.
General Results:

Follow the link to "Learning Careers Report" at 
http://learninglab.stanford.edu/projects.html for a PDF-format report 
of the first year of the project.

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Richard M. Reis, Ph.D.
Executive Director - Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing at Stanford (AIMS)
Director for Academic Partnerships - Stanford Learning Lab. (SLL)
Consulting Professor, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Departments
Building 02-530, Room 225, 440 Escondido Mall
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-3036
(650) 725-0919, Fax (650) 723-5034
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