In January 2014, UNCW, along with three other UNC campuses, was awarded a grant by UNC General Administration under the call for proposals Assuring High Quality Degrees: Student Learning Outcomes: Using e-Portfolios to Assess Core Competencies (these UNC core competencies correspond to UNCW's Learning Goals critical thinking and thoughtful expression (written)).
UNCW's pilot is Centering Student Learning in the Cross-Programmatic Assessment of Core Competencies. The team working on the pilot represent educational programs in Chemistry, English, Recreational Therapy, Instructional Technology, Education of Young Children, Educational Leadership, and Economics, and support offices in General Educaton Assessment, University Studies, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Learning Management Systems, and Career Services.
The first step in the pilot was to survey UNCW faculty and staff about the features they believe are important in an eportfolio product. These resulting criteria were used in the evaluation of six products. After the thorough review by the eportfolio team and student mentors, Digication was chosen for the pilot.
In Fall 2014, Digication eportfolios were implemented in nine courses representing Chemistry, English, Recreational Therapy, Instructional Technology, Education of Young Children, Educational Leadership, and Economics. The instructors represented a range of experience levels with eportfolios, from instructors who had never used an eportfolio to those who have implemented eportfolios in courses more than 5 times. Webinar training was conducted by Digication in August.
Survey responses after the implementation indicated that instructors placed different values on the use of eportfolios. Faculty put emphasis on the following benefits of eportfolios:
- The ability for students to present themselves to potential employers
- Mutual benefit to students and institution (continual improvement)
- Pedagogical potential of platform (incorporating intention, reflection, feedback)
At the end of the fall semester, a sample of eportfolios was assessed on the written communication competency. The AAC&U VALUE Written Communication Rubric was used by eight scorers who reviewed 92 eportfolios. Score results from this project were very consistent with the results UNCW has been getting from reviewing single assignments from courses, although the time to score an eportfolio is longer.
The pilot findings were presented at the AAC&U 2015 Annual Meeting Forum on Digital Learning and E-Portfolios. Below is the PowerPoint of our presentation.