keynote Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

From outcomes to evidence: Using ePortfolios to connect the dots (#89)

Helen Chen 1
  1. Stanford University, Menlo Park, CA, United States

In recent years, colleges and universities have faced increasing pressure for greater accountability due to concerns about the quality, affordability, and efficiency as expressed by students (current and future), parents, employers, legislators, faculty, and administrators. These demands for transparency have raised questions about the use of time-based measures of learning such as the credit hour and how the impact and effectiveness of teaching and learning outcomes are assessed. The results of this discussion have led to an expectation of evidence that captures and demonstrates the impact and value of higher education beyond academic grades and degrees. In this vein, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, advocates: “…we need to apply new technologies to the primary tool of traditional certification, the diploma. We need to take what now exists as a dumb, static document and turn it into a richer, updateable, more connected record of a person’s skills, expertise, and experience.” 

With new forms of credentials issued by third-party organizations competing with academic institutions, a combination of an institutionally verified transcript of validated quality, together with a learner-centered ePortfolio designed to facilitate integrative learning and evidence-based storytelling is proposed. Ashley Kehoe’s expanded definition of the “e” in ePortfolio, encompassing both technological and pedagogical affordances, from electronic features to evidence, engagement, and experience, will inform our exploration of the question: What are the pathways and approaches by which the conventional transcript, connected with an ePortfolio, becomes a more authentic and valid educational record of a learner's skills, knowledge, and capacities?