Getting Started

Introduction

One of the first things academic directors or instructors may want to know is how much their program/course will need to change in order to accommodate ePortfolios. Typically, very little. ePortfolios are a way to visibly display the good work that you and your students are already doing. However, determining the purpose ePortfolios will serve within your class or program means that planning is essential.

General Questions

General questions to consider for both Program and Course ePortfolios are:

  • What broader discipline-based skills and knowledge can an ePortfolio strengthen or elicit?
  • What choices will you make about learning objectives using ePortfolios?
  • How can a student best use ePortfolios to create and reflect upon meaningful learning experiences in your discipline?

Course ePortfolios

Individual faculty using ePortfolios will need to determine the following:

  • What is the best fit between your discipline and a course-based ePortfolio strategy?
  • Will assignments be done in students‘ ePortfolios or will students move finished, graded work to their ePortfolio?
  • How will you incorporate reflective writing into your coursework?

Some other things to think about:

  • Check in with your students to see if any of them already have ePortfolios. If so, you might want to ask them to help you convey the concept and their experiences to your other students.
  • Think about when you‘ll introduce ePortfolio to students during the term. Have a plan.

Thinking About Assignments

If you are interested in using ePortfolios in your course, but you are unsure how to go about it, consider the following:

  • Assign a “Signature Assignment” that addresses a major course learning outcome. These signature assignments can replace or be in addition to the coursework you normally expect of your students.
  • Instead of having students introduce themselves on the Discussion Board during the first week of class (for online courses), ask them to create an “about me” tab in their ePortfolio and share the links with their classmates, who can make comments.
  • Use ePortfolio to document and reflect upon field experiences or internships.
  • Include video clips of performances or demonstration of applied skills.
  • Assign team projects where students use ePortfolios to present their work.
  • Use ePortfolios to document the research process.
  • Have students write about their solution to a realistic Math problem. What was the process they used to solve the problem? What is the relevance of the problem, and/or the application of the problem solving skill to other issues or areas of life?
  • Use ePortfolios for a final reflection of the course. Have students upload their semester’s assignments and include a reflection tab where they will reflect upon their progress throughout the semester: how they felt about the subject at the beginning of the course and how they feel after taking the course.

Look at other templates and course-based ePortfolios throughout CUNY by visiting the following wiki page on the CUNY Academic Commons: http://commons.gc.cuny.edu/wiki/index.php/Templates_and_Course-Based_ePortfolios.

Click here to access assignments and rubrics from Pace University professors who have incorporated ePortfolios into their course.

Pre-semester eP Checklist

☐ Remember to name your ePortfolio template using this convention: Discipline Number Template (Your Last Name). For Example: ENG 201 Template (Jackson).

☐ Update syllabus and Blackboard course site to include ePortfolio Information and assignment due dates.  Double check your Blackboard site, the eP Template, and your syllabus to ensure that all dates match; though we highly recommend not including due dates on the ePortfolio to make upkeep easier.

☐ If you used ePortfolio in your course last semester you will need to update the deadlines (if present) as well as the title of your ePortfolio. If you want to keep the same URL, please be sure to copy the original URL into the “eportfolio web address” field of your settings page when you update the title.

☐ Consider adding an assignment to your first week orientation activities requiring students to read the ePortfolio handbook and perhaps follow up with a DB post about the benefits of ePortfolio.

☐ Add an ePortfolio button on the left navigation pane of your Blackboard course site. On the top left of your course homepage:

  1. Click on the + symbol on the course Menu and select create content Area.
  2. Name the content area ePortfolio, click the Available to users checkbox, and then click submit.
  3. To move your item to a new position, click on the double-sided arrow in front of your new item to drop and drag.

A template for the text you can use for your Blackboard ePortfolio content area is available here.

 

To see an example from a Blackboard course, click here.

☐ Complete the pre-semester checklist form: http://cuny.is/eportfoliochecklist

Important:  If you have not yet created an ePortfolio template for your course/communicated to the ePortfolio team how you plan to use ePortfolio, please contact the ePortfolio team immediately at ePortfolios@sps.cuny.edu so that we can assist you. 

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