Providing an ePortfolio tool to students does not necessarily mean that the students will use it. Schools need to adopt a program-wide approach to include ePortfolio activities in all courses. The goal should be that upon graduation, each student has a comprehensive ePortfolio that can be used for employment and personal branding.
The IUPUI CyberLab has envisioned and developed a concept and practice known as ePortfolio Signature Assignment. The concept is straightforward: academic programs ask students to document what they have learned in each course as a “Showcase” on their ePortfolio. A portion of the course grade is designated for this signature assignment to incentivize and require student participation.
The Concept and Practice
In order to integrate the ePortfolio deeply within an academic program (i.e., a 4-year undergraduate program or a 2-year Master’s program) and help students continue to build their ePortfolio, we proposed the ePortfolio Signature Assignment in concept and practice. The key points are:
- An academic program will identify a series of core courses. In each of these core courses, course instructors will ask students to complete an ePortfolio signature assignment.
- Through each ePortfolio signature assignment, students will showcase the knowledge and skills they have learned in that specific course and reflect on how the knowledge and skills will benefit their future career.
- In most cases, the ePortfolio signature assignment will either document a significant course project (like the final project) or reflect on the student’s overall course learning experience and outcomes.
- Students will create a Showcase on their CN Portfolio (https://support.thecn.com/hc/en-us/articles/115007087087). Inside the Showcase, they will write a reflection (minimum 100 words) and include artifacts, such as web links, documents, videos, screenshots, photos, and other items. At the end of the Showcase, they will tag demonstrated skills.
- Students will be encouraged to view their peers’ ePortfolios, endorse others’ Showcases, and leave constructive comments.
- The ePortfolio signature assignment should be a credit-bearing assignment, which counts as a portion of the course grade. Instructors may grade it based on completion or use a detailed scoring rubric. We also encourage instructors to endorse students’ Showcases directly on their ePortfolios to add credibility.
Signature Assignment Template
In order to help implement the ePortfolio Signature Assignment, here at IUPUI CyberLab and CN we have created a Canvas sample module and shared it through Canvas Commons. This module uses the IUPUI Computer Information and Graphic Technology (CIGT) program as an example. Any institutions and academic programs are welcome to modify this module to create their own version for course instructors to use.
- The first four items of the sample module provide introductory content to get students ready for the signature ePortfolio assignment. We recommend that course instructors deliver these modules in the first half of their course. Ideally, these four items could be addressed in a foundation course that every student takes. This way, the first four introductory items can be excluded from subsequent courses.
- Items five and six of the sample module provide the ePortfolio signature assignment templates. Instructors will choose one of them to use in a given course. They need to pay attention to the highlighted instructor notes, modify the assignment description and the grading settings, and remove all instructor notes before making the assignment available to their students.
- The last item, a peer review activity, is recommended but optional. It can be an extra-credit assignment graded based on completion.
Note: search “CIGT ePortfolio signature assignment” or go to this URL https://lor.instructure.com/resources/0403f5fdf36f420cacc4f3faea6d31c7?shared to find this sample module in Canvas Commons.