RAPPORT, Volume 2, Issue 1 RAPPORT Issue 1 version4FINALSO - Page 5

RAPPORT WWW.RECORDINGACHIEVEMENT.AC.UK Issue 1 (2017) Higher education, as a business (predominantly so in the U. S.), provides a range of necessary services but primarily is supposed to advance learning in a society. At the core of learning is the ability to find meaning in experience and apply that meaning to new experiences. The “experience” can be exposure to “content” but can and does, naturally, include not only formal but informal learning experiences, both monitored and un-monitored. Learning is not confined to a classroom. Learning evidence, therefore, needs to be drawn from life inside and outside the classroom. Capturing pertinent and revealing evidence of learning experiences over time in a digital space accessible on the web and then reflecting on that evidence is the eportfolio process. Integrating meanings from this process of reflection helps develop the metacognitive habits of mind that are the core value of higher education. No matter what discipline or field one chooses to study, the ability to continue to learn in that field or any field is the most essential learning outcome of formal education: one does not aim only to memorize content but, more importantly, to develop the ability to create one’s own content. Aiming to master the means of knowledge creation is the goal. Eportfolio as a Small Word The danger to the eportfolio idea has consistently been selling the idea short. With technologies, the temptation is always to use IT’s ability to merely increase the efficiency of current practice but, at the same time, avoid using IT’s larger ability to implement new practices. If “eportfolio” refers merely to a repository of student work – an online filing system that can be used by institutions for reporting or by employers as an enhanced resume – then it is a small word. With eportfolio, this temptation results in the spread of assessment management systems called “eportfolio,” or resume systems called “eportfolio,” or the view of eportfolio as only development of identity (development of a digital identity is important but development of one’s identity as a learner is more important) or other narrower uses or views of the technology’s promise. The danger is thinking of “eportfolio” as a small word and not a big word. The danger is missing the all-encompassing eportfolio concept: a means for learners in this age to be able to create knowledge at the scale, depth, pace and nature that is appropriate, usable, and necessary. Eportfolio as a Big Word Eportfolio is not only a big idea, but is “big” in the sense of its spread in higher education. EDUCAUSE, the largest association representing the technology establishment in U. S. higher education, through its ECAR project, conducts an annual global survey of undergraduates and information technology. That survey has shown the spread of eportfolio technology in higher education around the world since 2010. From one perspective, the survey results suggest it would be hard to find too many institutions among the 20,000 plus institutions of higher education in the world that do not have an eportfolio implementation somewhere within the institution. A growing percentage of institutions – though still less than 20% -- use eportfolios in all, or almost all, courses. The survey also suggests that most users – faculty and students – believe they could use eportfolios better if they were trained or enlightened in some way. Eportfolio as an idea, as a movement, as a field and community of practice, is also involved with credentialing. Including micro-credentials such as badges adds a fascinating element (badges can be granted by peers on a project, for example) to eportfolio as a basis for credentialing. The move to electronic transcripts, because they can include links to eportfolios, is another indication of how ensconced eportfolios are in higher education. Eportfolio Practice: Students Researching Their Own Learning In the metacognitive space of eportfolio, students study their own learning. I use “study” to indicate a research project. In a research project, one gathers data that will show something through its analysis. How do students learn how to devise a “research design” (to complete an assignment or a collaborative projects, etc.) that will produce evidence that is later useful to prove a point? In other words, how do students learn to become researchers of their own learning? The research process is not simple – it is not just writing about a learning experience. One does not go to, say, a shoreline where you are studying effects of climate change on a local ecology, and just write an essay. We 6&V6v旦RFRfƖrbFB6Ɨ7F2&W6V&6FW6vvBW'FfƖ&7F6RvVBffRvpvBWfFV6RF6V7Bf"V6W'6Rv@6V&FW"g&F2WW&V6Rb6V7@FR&vBWfFV6SvB6FV7G&FRb6V7BFR&vBWfFV6SBvB66V7BFBv6rFR&6W72b6fr