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Carrier, L. M., & Rosen, L. An Electronic Portfolio Project with Graduating Psychology Majors. Page 4 of 5.


The overwhelmingly positive reaction to the e-portfolios that the authors have received from this project has encouraged the authors to continue with the project in coming semesters. Students who completed the e-portfolios commented on the valuable skills that they had gained and on the potential value of the finished product in their future academic and career endeavors. The majority of the students (15 out of 24 who completed the questionnaire) liked creating the e-portfolio, building computer confidence, and/or gaining computer knowledge and skills, as reported in an end-of-term questionnaire. Further, the students responded positively on the questionnaire to a number of items related to the portfolio project (Table 4). A separate questionnaire assessed the students' perceptions of the psychology major at the beginning of the term and again at the end of the term. This questionnaire contained an item that read, "I feel prepared to use computers and other technology to demonstrate information competence." Ratings on this item increased--albeit slightly--from pre-test to post-test (from 3.6 [SD = 0.9] to 4.1 [0.4] on a 5-point scale).

Students who attended the showcase of e-portfolios but who did not take the course expressed a desire to take the course in a future semester.4 Faculty from the Department of Psychology and from other departments were impressed by the richness of information, the types of information, and the accessibility of information in the e-portfolios. Of special interest to faculty was the compactness of the end product: all of the student portfolios (and, hence, all of the information contained within them) were burned onto one CD-ROM that automatically launched the portfolios when inserted into the CD-ROM drive of a PC. In addition, one of the first-place winners in the competition was asked by a faculty member from another college on campus to present her portfolio and discuss its development in a graduate course in that college.

A by-product of this project was the facilitation of computer literacy in our students. Computer literacy is critical for psychology majors (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, n.d.; Lloyd & Kennedy, 1997; University of Minnesota, 2002). Based on her learning experiences in the course, one of the students whose work was showcased later was offered a job creating a web site for a community service organization. Also, another student who placed in the competition increased his computer confidence levels tremendously as a result of the project. By his own admission, he had few computer skills and very little computer confidence prior to taking the course. He excitedly related to the instructors how he bought a new computer, installed new software, and incorporated the computer into his daily life after the end of the semester. The e-portfolio project successfully provided computer skills to psychology majors and demonstrated that students with a wide variety of computer skills backgrounds can create basic e-portfolios in one semester.

In the future, the authors plan to follow up by contacting the alumni of the course to determine the impact of the project upon their academic and non-academic endeavors. In addition, the e-portfolio will be evaluated as a means of assessing the major and the department as a whole. To do so, it will be necessary to develop an assessment rubric that incorporates the departmental learning objectives. One possible means of evaluating the major would be to assess the student's best work (e.g., writing samples) in psychology represented in e-portfolios as an indicator of the quality of departmental instruction. Further, a decision would have to be made as to whether all graduating seniors would be required to create portfolios.

Author Note

The authors thank the following CSUDH entities for funding: the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Student Success Committee, and the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The authors also thank Silvia Santos for assistance in evaluating e-portfolios, Neil Farmer for technical support, and Diana Dowds for research assistance.

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