Lehman College, CUNY

The “e” in ePortfolio Stands for More Than Electronic

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In the very beginning, several faculty members began to evaluate online portfolios or “electronic” ePortfolios as an educational tool for graduate and undergraduate education students to document academic and professional development, organize and showcase their work and reflect on learning artifacts in alignment with programmatic goals, objectives and national standards. The ePortfolio pilot projects helped students see how courses in a program connect and help them develop a professional identity.  Traditional paper or binder portfolios have been used in courses in the School of Education, but faculty wanted to explore the possibilities and advantages of digital and online tools.

Leslie Lieman, Educational Technology Coordinator for the School of Education, joined LaGuardia Community College’s first Making Connections Cohort A. Working with educators from different colleges and universities, immersed in workshops and seminar discussions about reflective learning, integrative education and student-centered pedagogy, she helped establish and support several small ePortfolio efforts in the School of Education. Her efforts and participation started in collaboration with faculty who are no longer at Lehman, but together they set the foundation for the work that followed.

The video above captures the early energy and enthusiasm of the Making Connections participants as they worked diligently to research and explore introducing ePortfolio programs on their campuses. In the beginning, Ms. Lieman also did extensive ePortfolio tool research with colleague, Dr. Howard Wach (from Bronx Community College at the time) and they helped introduce Digication to many CUNY schools.  Utilizing Digication was a critical pedagogical and financial platform decision that enabled slow but productive growth in the early years of ePortfolio development in the School of Education at Lehman College. As you will discover in other sections, we switched to Taskstream, which is our current ePortfolio platform provider.

Dr. Janet DeSimone, Assistant Professor & Educational Leadership Program Coordinator, piloted the School’s first ePortfolio project with a cohort of graduate students in a capstone course (graduating May, 2009). Students were introduced to the online ePortfolio system, Digication. An ePortfolio template was created for students to both collect and showcase artifacts that aligned to the ELCC standards, to demonstrate evidence of learning through written reflections, to identify beginning and end of program philosophy and reflect on growth over time, and to understand and reflect upon the value of alternative forms of assessment. ePortfolios are now introduced to all incoming Educational Leadership Program students and is a capstone requirement.  There are nine key assessments and additional components that are collected over the 2-year graduate program, but the students “own” their work and create showcase ePortfolios to share with others professionally.

In Fall 2010, Dr. Wesley Pitts, Assistant Professor & Science Education Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Middle and High School Education, began piloting the use of ePortfolio as part of a two-semester capstone project and has also incorporated the use of ePortfolios in student teaching/internship (clinical practice). A central requirement for students developing ePortfolio entries in the science education graduate program is to incorporate baseline and post-baseline data to help illustrate growth in a variety of areas.  Participation in a capstone ePortfolio experience is now a requirement in Science Education.

In Spring, 2011, Dr. Aliex Ross, Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor, Childhood Graduate Program, Early Childhood and Childhood Education, introduced online portfolios to her students, fully adapting her paper-based capstone portfolio requirement and incorporating some of the early Connect to Learning work on improving reflective practice.  Dr. Ross is working with the Early Childhood and Childhood department to develop and implement a program-wide portfolio for students in their graduate Childhood track.

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