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Electronic portfolios in education, Communication in learning and scholarship, Communities of practice


Real learning transcends barriers of time and place. It can also provide a bag of tools one can take on the journey through life. Some students, unfortunately, leave college with empty toolkits, or ones they do not know how to open. Engaging students in the process of salient, transformative learning is a challenge, but one worth taking. Tagg (2004) speaks eloquently in a recent About Campus article about the need for faculty to use practices in the classroom that improve the quality of learning, and calls for faculty to help students claim their learning and engage in what Kegan (1995) describes as a “developmental transformation, “the process by which the whole (‘how I am’) becomes gradually a part (‘how I was’) of a new whole (‘how I am now’)” (p. 43). Kegan (1995) argues that this process is necessary as one becomes an adult and needs to develop new ways of thinking about oneself and one’s relationship to others and the world. Ideally, faculty in higher education are striving to help students learn beyond their individual courses and create the toolkit needed for success throughout life.

Increasingly, the use of student portfolios has been seen as one way to help students engage in this type of learning (Cambridge and Williams, 1997). With technological advances, interest in and use of electronic student portfolios (eportfolios) in higher education has also grown in the last several years (Cambridge, 2001). Portfolios, and especially eportfolios, are seen as a more authentic representation of student learning and are increasingly being used for course, program, and institutional assessment of student learning (e.g., Cambridge, 2001).


© Copyright by Yves Labissiere and Candyce Reynolds. The right to make additional exact copies, including this notice, for personal and classroom use, is hereby granted. All other forms of distribution and copying require permission of the author(s).

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