Monday, October 06, 2003

UBC e-Portfolios

I followed a link from Michelle Lamberson's site to an overview of an initiative to use more e-Portfolios at UBC. The document covers many of the benefits of using online portfolios, particularly focusing on the reflection involved in selecting and commenting on your own work.
"This reflective process gives people a chance to learn more about themselves and their abilities. As the students evaluate each artifact and decide whether it should be part of their e-Portfolio, they are evaluating their work and themselves. For Belfer, the most valuable aspect of creating an assessment e-Portfolio is that students have an opportunity to think about what they’ve learned and what areas they need to develop next, rather than just focusing on their marks."
I bolded that last line because it hits a nerve -- this type of reflection, community-building, and personal development seems to run counter to the current educational focus on marks, testing, and standards. Portfolios are personal and internalized, recording the past and projecting into the future -- tests are competive and uniform, offering a one-dimensional view of a single moment in time. Many teachers and administrators intuitively know that standardized testing doesn't do much to help with real learning -- perhaps more will embrace portfolios as a softer, more student-focused system that can be run in parallel.

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