Web Wednesday: Using Blackboard ePortfolios to assess student learning

Web Wednesday: Using Blackboard ePortfolios to assess student learning

From Information Resources and Technologies

An electronic portfolio, or ePortfolio, often is thought of as a purposefully assembled collection of digital artifacts representing a student's progress in attaining the knowledge, skills and attitudes in a course of academic study.

At the course level, ePortfolios are used for formative assessment of student assignments and learning objectives as well as for summative course assessment. Electronic portfolios also can be used at the "outcomes" level for curricular, program, departmental and institutional assessment.

During spring semester, faculty and students from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education will assist IRT in testing and evaluating the Blackboard ePortfolio and Content System. One of the goals of the pilot is to evaluate and develop best practices for organizing and structuring the Content System for use with assessment ePortfolios. In addition, the project will provide valuable feedback on the ePortfolio and Content System's functionality and ease of use.

At an individual level, the Blackboard ePortfolio tool can be used by students to showcase their progress toward achieving course objectives and goals. The ePortfolio tool also provides a means for students to demonstrate the acquisition and development of skills, and for faculty to provide feedback and guidance to students on their attainment of course and program-related skills.

At the departmental and unit level, faculty can make use of the Blackboard Content Collection to gather, manage and share learning and assessment artifacts. These artifacts are incorporated into departmental or program ePortfolios to highlight student work across courses within a program or course of study.

To illustrate how the Blackboard ePortfolio and Content System could be used, Tom Hickson, Geology, and Doug Orzolek, Music, provide the following case studies:

Geology plans to use the Blackboard e-Portfolio tool to assess progress in student writing and critical thinking across a yearlong course. The pilot will provide a basis for developing an e-portfolio assessment structure that will allow the department to expand this type of assessment across the curriculum. In practical terms, students will upload one example of their writing from fall and a second writing example in the spring into the Blackboard ePortfolio and Content System. Faculty will provide feedback on the writing examples and the faculty comments will accompany the student work into an assessment e-portfolio.

The Music Department will use the system to track and assess students' progress in guitar skills and performance over the course of a semester. Students will assemble video and audio recordings of lessons and performances, along with their reflections and comments, into a portfolio for faculty review. An assessment rubric will be attached to the student portfolio for faculty review and discussion. Eventually, student work could be compiled into a single departmental portfolio that can be made viewable to internal St. Thomas Blackboard users as well as to individuals who do not have UST Blackboard accounts.

The Blackboard ePortfolio and Content System will be available for all faculty and students as part of the Blackboard upgrade slated for 2007. To learn more about the system, please contact your Academic Technology Consultant, or visit the Web and Media Services Web page.