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Members of Cohort I in discussionThe first cohort of the Coalition (2003-2006) included early leaders in the use of electronic portfolios to support learning from a diverse group of higher education institutions across the United States. In addition to pursuing individual campus projects examining the impact of electronic porfolio practices on learning, the research teams adopted a share focus on reflection. Through close examination of student reflection in electronic portfolio contexts, Cohort I cataloged reflective artifacts and their contexts across institutions.

Alverno College

In a deliberative inquiry, faculty and researchers systematically studied samples of reflective writing from a digital-based Mid-Program Portfolio Assessment in which students examined their learning in three or more semesters. Using three frameworks-Self Assessment, How People Learn, and Integrated Learning and Development-they developed a matrix describing different levels of reflection and learning.
Contact: William Rickards,

Bowling Green State University








A summer 2005 quantitative study revealed that, after controlling for background factors, undergraduate students with eportfolios had significantly higher grade point averages, credit hours earned, and retention rates than a matched set of students without eportfolios. Significant positive relationships existed between grade point average and number of showcase portfolio artifacts, total number of files uploaded, and number of resumes uploaded; and also between credit hours earned and total number of files uploaded and number of resumes uploaded.
Final report: Report
Contact: Milt Hakel,

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

IUPUI’s project focused on the impact of our electronic portfolio on students and on methods of gaining faculty buy-in.  Evidence of impact on learning came from an end-of-first-semester survey of freshman ePort users and non-users and from reflections submitted by our own senior English students.  We learned that incentives and support for faculty members’ own teaching goals help with buy-in; faculty won’t “automatically” understand the potential benefits of e-portfolios.
Final Report: Report
Contact: Susan Kahn,

LaGuardia Community College

Analysis of five years of eportfolio use provides evidence to support the following findings: (1) eportfolio can be successful in a large, urban community college with high risk students; (2) high risk students engage more deeply and effectively with eportfolios leading to measurable improvement in student learning outcomes; (3) balancing student ownership and program assessment is challenging: and (4) all-college eportfolios can be transformative.
Final report: Report
Contact: Bret Eynon,

Northern Illinois University

A pilot study of eportfolios in first-year composition asked “How does reflection in eportfolios affect student learning?” Researchers developed a template for the portfolios and a holistic scoring rubric that was shown to have construct and content validity. Analysis of collected data suggests a positive correlation between holistic reflection scores and holistic evidence scores. Reflection about specific traits was not shown to correlate to overall quality of reflection or of writing.
Final Report: Report
Contact: Michael Day,

Portland State University

Through analysis of talk-alouds with freshman inquiry students, researchers had two findings about the visual components of eportfolios: significant critical thinking goes into choosing fonts, pictures, and color; and having a public audience makes a big difference with feedback from peers and mentors influencing construction and uses of accountability. Analyzing a random selection of papers written to a common assignment over several years, researchers also explored the effects of eportfolios on student esteem, critical thinking, identity, and the ways in which students made their arguments in response to the assignment.
Contact: Yves Labissiere,

Stanford University

The objective of this research was to develop and evaluate Folio Thinking as a new instructional strategy and pedagogical paradigm for engineering education. We hypothesized that the implementation of the Folio Thinking tools and practices in student design idealogs would: 1) increase awareness of knowledge and skills; and 2) help students make more explicit connections among aptitudes, knowledge, and skills and the real work of engineering. A preliminary approach for coding and evaluating the student idealog postings was developed.
Contact: Helen Chen,

University of Washington

Our research project sought to identify the conditions that help students create effective electronic portfolios. We approached our investigation of this topic from two angles. First, we held a contest to discover how students were using e-portfolios, both within and outside the classroom, and to learn where and how students were learning the cognitive and technical skills they needed to create effective e-portfolios. Second, we followed the initial implementation of e-portfolios within composition courses.
Final Report: Report
Contact: Cara Lane,

Virginia Tech University

Our research focuses on the efficacy of a culminating electronic portfolio requirement as a reflective component for an English education program and how the EP experience affects student development as a beginning teacher.  Research questions include the following: What are English Education students’ perceptions of the MAED Licensure Program Electronic Portfolio experience?  What effect does their experience have on their preparation as a teacher, their practice in the field, and their development as a reflective practitioner?  Overall, the goal is to determine to what extent the EP experience facilitates reflection.
Final report: Report
Contact: Carl Young,

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Cohort I

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