ePortfolios as high impact practices

George Kuh added eportfolios earlier this year as the 11th high impact practice.


In this video, Kuh (2016) identifies various elements of effective integration of eportfolios:

  • More than electronic record keeping tool
  • Longitudinal projects allowing students to store authentic work
  • Allows students to question their own work, in company of lecturers and other students
  • Allows students to invite peers, lecturers and even employers to look into their electronic toolboxes
  • Repository where students can see how far they came, how they developed and how they have changed
  • Others can see how far they came, developed and how they have changed
  • Ongoing process of reflection, integration, and digestion IF it is well-designed and structured
  • Every student in every field can benefit from having such a representation of their  work, development and growth
  • Reflection is most important since it deepens learning and knowing about what the student can do.

Although he does not pertinently state it, he identified two of the three cornerstones of a learning oriented approach to assessment, namely that:

  • learning tasks be designed
  • self and peers be involved in the assessment process

He did not state the importance of prompt feedback, but he did name the role of reflection on own work.


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Personal Development networks

Many managers spend a lot of money compiling files filled with paper work on how to do the work. However, when a group of engineers was surveyed, the engineers reported that they would 5 times more ask a colleague when they do not know how to do their work than visiting filing cabinets. This finding was confirmed in several South African educational settings.

In fact, 57% of the mathematics teachers of a secondary school in Gauteng reported that they relied on their colleagues to work effectively. When the staff of a secondary school in Gauteng was surveyed, 67% of the teachers indicated that they would rather ask a colleague when they do not know how to do their work. In this regard, 65% of the students enrolled for a module at an start for open and distance education indicated that they rely on their relationships with their colleagues to learn to do their work effectively. My research shows that teachers rely on their personal relationships with colleagues to get access to information, knowledge, advice, support, guidance, ability and concrete resources in their working environments, therefore I have coined such a set of relationships as the personal development networks of teachers.

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Unfortunately school managers do not always give enough time for creating sustainable personal development networks. The quality of teachers’ work depends on their personal development networks, therefore teachers need to be provided with enough opportunities to create relationships with their colleagues. Meanwhile, teachers are using a variety of networking interfaces to take their relationships online.