Reflection on the Using e-Portfolios in Education

Blog by Les Barclay

From this series of speakers, my understanding about e-portfolios was refreshed and expanded. My belief that it cannot be done in isolation was also reinforced. There must be support from below, above and around, as seems to be the case in the Campbell River school district. At VIU, we have the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning as a support resource, as well as teachers like Kevin Mazutinec who have experience in developing and utilizing e-portfolios in their teaching.

As e-portfolios become more established in the public school system, it will become incumbent on the post-secondary system to follow suit. However, this may be a challenge for international students unfamiliar with the concept and unaccustomed to the process. The various presenters in this session did not hide from the challenges, but rather appeared to recognize and embrace them.

At VIU, the learner management system we have is D2L, and this is the natural vehicle for students and teachers to make use of e-portfolios. It has its limits, but it is the primary tool we have to work with. Kevin Mazutinec responded brilliantly to this by providing 3-minute video screen capture tutorials to guide students through the process of creating and using e-portfolios in D2L. Students are familiar with learning through Youtube, so making use of VIUtube this way fits well. Unless our students know how to use the tools of technology, both they and their teachers will become frustrated and their learning limited. We must provide them with the resources to learn on their own how to use the technology we require. Additionally, we should have communication and dialogue during and after the formation of an e-portfolio. It is both a process and a product.

These five speakers shared more ideas than I can respond to in one blog post. A serious digestion of their talks could well result in something like a recipe for successfully creating e-portfolios. This would include a list of dos and don’ts. Unless such a recipe is followed, the result may well be like the collapsed souffle or the awful tasting sauce. Failure tends to discourage, but success encourages. The wisdom shared in this technology for teaching and learning session definitely supports success in e-portfolios.

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