Prompts for Online discussions

Module 1

Week 1

Introductions - Online Discussion #1-1

Welcome to the first course on ePortfolios! Reply to this message with a brief introduction to yourself, why you signed up for the course, and what you want to accomplish in relation to electronic portfolios.

Collections Activity - Onlilne Discussion #1-2

After reading the excerpt from The Power of Portfolios, share something about your COLLECTIONS: Suggested topics: If you are a parent, what you saved for your children; What your parents saved for you; What you collect; Why you collect…

Respond to other students' postings after reflecting on these questions: Were there some common themes in your collective discussion? What do these collections say about what we value? Is there a difference between what you purposefully save and what you can’t throw away? How can we use our collection experiences to help students as they develop their portfolios? Include some your reflections on these questions in your response.

Week 2

Online Discussion #2 - Discuss specific sample portfolios you reviewed and then your general impressions of the general role of electronic portfolios in various professions and with today's standards- driven educational system

There should be two parts to your posting this week: Specific and General. There are some examples of electronic portfolios in the Sample Portfolios folder on the course CD. There are also weblinks to many examples of portfolios on the Wichita State Education Department page, found in the course syllabus and in the External Links. Pick at least two different types of portfolios to review and discuss them in terms of both purpose and technology.

Then, from your reading, the slide show for this week, the sample portfolios on the website and your experience, discuss (in general) the role of portfolios that support today's standards-driven education system. Dr. Ken Wolf talks about three major purposes for portfolios: learning, assessment and employment. Discuss what you think are the similarities and differences between these three types of portfolios, both in terms of content and audience. Dr. Mary Diez talks about the three metaphors for thinking about portfolios: mirror, map and sonnet. How do these metaphors help your understanding of how portfolios can be used in education. Add a meaningful response to at least two other students' posting by the following week.

Week 3

Online Discussion #3 - Discuss the implementation and evaluation of electronic portfolios at different age levels (in general) and then discuss your own specific purpose & audience and the role of standards, outcomes, goals, or accomplishments

There should be two parts to your posting this week: General and Specific. Discuss (in general) the implementation and evaluation of electronic portfolios at different age levels. Some of you work directly with children in the classroom (or in your home). All of you are adult learners and some of you work with adults, probably in a preservice teacher education program. The implementation of electronic portfolios differs widely based on the developmental level of the person who is the subject of the portfolio (i.e., early childhood, middle school, high school, college, grad school, professional, etc.) as well as the purpose of the portfolio. Let's discuss the similarities and differences you perceive in the development process based on age or maturity level of the person and the purpose of the portfolio.

Then, discuss your own specific purpose & audience and role of standards, outcomes, goals, or accomplishments. You are in the process of developing a plan for the electronic portfolio that you will begin to construct in this class. Indicate the age level on which you would like to focus when you develop the digital portfolio for this class. After you complete the first two stages in the Word planning document, share with us a synopsis of your purpose and audience and what standards/outcomes/goals/accomplishments you would like to demonstrate with this e-portfolio (don't upload the Word planning document yet). Add a meaningful response to at least two other students' posting BEFORE next week.

Week 4

Online Discussion #4 - Discuss the types of media you want to use for your artifacts and then discuss the technologies necessary to produce electronic portfolios in your own situation, based on the type of media you have selected.

"Portfolios tell a story...put in anything that helps to tell that story." (Paulson & Paulson) You have discussed the type of software you will use. Now, what types of media best tell the story that you want to tell with your portfolio? Text? Images? Audio? Video? What kind of artifacts do you want to include in your portfolio? Focus your discussion on the type of media that best demonstrates the outcome, goal or standard that you are trying to demonstrate with the portfolio that you are creating. Look for congruence between your portfolio purpose and the type of media you are interested in including.

This class covers the variety of generic software tools that can be used to create electronic portfolios, and will guide you through the process of selecting which software tools best meet your needs. Between this module and the next one, we will have an opportunity to "try on" different software tools. After reading Dr. Barrett's article called, "Make your own Electronic Portfolio" (LLwTApr00.pdf), discuss the type of software you feel comfortable using to produce electronic portfolios in your own situation. Also refer to Dr. Barrett's "5-by-5 Model" that is based on the 5 stages and the levels based on "ease of use" of the software.

Week 5

Online Discussion #5 - Discuss the role of Reflection in portfolio development and and its relationship to professional development

"A portfolio without reflection is just a multimedia presentation, a digital scrapbook or a fancy electronic resume. (Barrett, 1998)" Our discussion this week opens up the deeper purpose of the portfolio, to reflect on our work and our growth over time. The portfolio is more than just a collection of artifacts. We need to make a case that these artifacts demonstrate accomplishment of some outcomes, goals, or standards. As stated in the video last week: Evidence = artifacts + reflection (rationale) + validation (feedback). The Reflective Portfolio answers three questions: What? So What? Now What?

  1. What artifacts have I collected related to each outcome, goal, or standard? (our activity for the last week)
  2. How do I think these artifacts demonstrate achievement of each outcome, goal, or standard?
  3. What more do I want to learn related to each outcome, goal, or standard?

Use this discussion as a way of sharing your impressions from the readings on reflection this week, and how you think reflection in your portfolio will contribute to your own professional development. Since this is the last discussion for this class, there may not be time to give a lot of feedback to other class members, so responses to others are encouraged but are optional this week.

Supplemental Optional Discussion - Generic Tools or Online Systems? (Part be continued in the next class)

Since this is a question that keeps coming up in some of your weekly learning logs, I thought I would share some thoughts and invite some feedback. There is a trend in Teacher Education today to move toward the online commercial systems for managing e-portfolios. One of the activities in the third class (EPORTOLIOS-WEB) is to try out some of these online systems and to discuss our experiences AFTER we have each constructed an e-portfolio using common tools. My major questions have to do with whose portfolio is it? Who is in charge? Are these online systems student-centered electronic portfolios or organization-centered online assessment management systems? The challenge is reconciling both approaches, since both needs are important.

Module 2

Week 6

Online Discussion #6 (one-credit class only)- Introductions

Take this opportunity to re-introduce yourself to the class. Remind us of the purpose of the portfolio you are developing.

Online Discussion #6 - Discuss pros and cons of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint), and discuss the Connected Portfolio with the benefits of hyperlinks

Discuss pros and cons of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) for e-portfolio developing/presenting e-portfolios. In the last class, you had an opportunity to build a rough draft outline of your portfolio using Word and created a list of your artifacts using Excel. This week, we will add PowerPoint or Slide Show software to the set of tools you can use for the electronic portfolio. What are the pros and cons of using each of these tools. Discuss the Connected Portfolio and the various ways to create hyperlinked electronic portfolios.We are also looking at software that will let us create hyperlinks (which all three Microsoft tools allow), so also discuss the benefits of a hyperlinked portfolio.

Week 7

Online Discussion #7-1 - Discuss pros & cons of using Adobe Acrobat and Netscape Composer (or any HTML editor) for e-portfolios

There are two standards for documents posted to the WWW: HTML (the language of web pages) and PDF (Portable Document Format--Adobe Acrobat files). You have probably downloaded PDF documents from the WWW, and the course CD is primarily PDF files plus video. After exploring both of these formats, discuss each of their pros and cons.

Online discussion #7-2 - Beginning Conversation on Assessing Electronic Portfolios - (levels of performance in the rubric -- how many columns?)

One of the major assignments in this class is to develop a rubric to evaluate your portfolio. Rather than leave the discussion until the last week, Let's begin this week by discussing the Levels of Performance you would like to have in your rubric. Review the rubrics that are listed under this week's reading assignments. They all place the levels of performance across the top of the table. What levels do you want to include in your rubric?

Levels of Performance
Criteria to evaluate Content descriptions  

Week 8

Online Discussion #8-1 - Discuss pros & cons of adding audio and video to your portfolio, and discuss principles and process of digital storytelling

Digital audio and video can provide very rich artifacts for the portfolio. A special process using still images, your voice, and an underlying sound track is called digital storytelling. After reviewing the website of the Center for Digital Storytelling, discuss the process as you understand it, and the pros and cons of adding this type of media to your portfolio.

Online discussion #8-2 - Continue Conversation on Assessing Electronic Portfolios - (components/elements that we want to assess individually)

This week we will discuss the Criteria you would like to evaluate in your rubric. Review the rubrics that are listed under last week's reading assignments. They all place the criteria down the left side of the table. What criteria do you want to include in your rubric?

Levels of Performance
Criteria to evaluate Content descriptions  

Week 9

Online Discussion #9-1 - Discuss pros & cons of other multimedia authoring tools not otherwise addressed

There are many other tools that can be used to create electronic portfolios. Pick one other tool that you haven't discussed so far, explore the website and the software (most of them allow you to download a trial version). Describe the software you tried and discuss its pros and cons.

Online Discussion #9-2 - How to construct the rubric - how to fill in the content descriptors of each cell in the matrix

This week we will discuss the Content descriptions you would like to evaluate in your rubric. You will now fill in the cells in your rubric. How much detail do you want to include? Want some help? Go to

Levels of Performance
Criteria to evaluate Content descriptions  

Week 10

Online Discussion #10-1 - Post your rubric here as an attachment.

Discuss components of rubrics reviewed from each of the class members and how to evaluate e-portfolios. Discuss formative assessment of learning using a portfolio and discuss assessing the electronic portfolio.

Online Discussion #10-2 - Upload your digital story here (or a URL where you have it posted).

Blackboard allows a maximum file size of 5 MB. Give your fellow classmates some feedback on their stories! Post your digital story here as an attachment. It should be in Quicktime (.mov) or AVI formats with a maximum file size of 5 MB. If you need help compressing your files, contact your instructor.

Module 3

Add additional component for faculty development only: How to transition from creating your own electronic portfolio to creating an environment to support student e-portfolio development. Add reading (maybe video) on Change process.

Week 11

Online Discussion #11-1 - Discuss publishing e-portfolios for different audiences and discuss pros & cons of publishing on CD-ROM

Discuss the variety of audiences that you may have for your electronic portfolio and the role that those audiences have on your decision about the format(s) for you will use to publish your e-portfolio. Then, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of publishing your e-portfolio in CD-ROM.

Online Discussion #11-2 - Where is the electronic portfolios introduced to students? (Digital Packrat lesson)

If you are a faculty member or need to support students in a teacher education program, discuss when you think it would be important to introduce the electronic portfolios to students. If you are (or are preparing to be) a K-12 educator, when and how would you introduce the electronic portfolio to your students? Be sure to identify your frame of reference and your context for implementing e-portfolios.

Week 12

Online Discussion #12-1 - Discuss pros and cons of publishing e-portfolios in HTML format on the WWW.

You will be signing up for at least one online system. Also discuss issues to look for in adopting and using an online e-portfolio management system and what to look for in the commercial systems to be reviewed. Refer to Dr. Barrett's Pedagogical Issues in Electronic Portfolio Implementation

Online Discussion #12-2 - Does your curriculum allow "appropriate digital artifacts for electronic portfolio"?

Discuss how you will insure that student have an opportunity to develop the digital evidence for the electronic portfolio. What changes need to be made to the curriculum for electronic portfolios to be successfully implemented? What changes have to be made to the curriculum so that students have opportunities to create the digital artifacts that are necessary for an electronic portfolio? What happens to a student who passes a class and only has exam scores to show for all of their work? What kinds of changes need to be made in the curriculum and the way courses are taught (and work is assigned and assessed) so that students can have artifacts that demonstrate the standards?

Week 13

Online Discussion #13-1 - Discuss pros & cons of video as a medium for publishing e-portfolios

Not all audiences have access to the computer technology to be able to read digital portfolios. Discuss the pros and cons of publishing your e-portfolio to analog videotape. Did you try to make a short videotape of the highlights of your portfolio? After reading the two web documents, what questions do you have about the process of transferring computer data to videotape?

Online Discussion #13-2 - What is the support system in place to support students' creating their final, assessment portfolio? Is there a course in the curriculum?

There are several levels of support: technology, processes, and people. What support do you think students need for equipment? for training materials and established processes? for human resource support? How do you support students putting together an "exit" portfolio (the idea of a capstone course to support developing the portfolio often works in some programs).

Week 14

Online Discussion #14-1 - Discuss possibilities of new media for publishing e-portfolios. Discuss the pros and cons of online portfolio systems based on two weeks of experience with a commercial system.

First, discuss any other media that might be appropriate for publishing e-portfolios (i.e., DVD, Palm). Then, discuss the online system that you tried out over the last two weeks. Briefly name and describe what you did with the system, and your impressions of its useability for developing your e-portfolios, either for yourself or for your students. To raise some issues, I have posted a short paper on my concerns about the differences between electronic portfolios and online assessment management systems, based on the paper I presented at AERA 2003.

Online Discussion #14-2 - What are your "next steps" after this class? How do you intend to implement what you have learned?

It is always good to formulate plans to implement your learning after a class is over. Therefore, indicate to us a little about the context of your future implementation (i.e., with future teachers, K-12 students, etc.) and the next steps you plan to take, what other resources or support you will need, etc. When creating a plan to implement e-portfolios in an organizational setting, here are some issues to consider: Vision, Skills, Incentives, Resources, Action Plan (see the Change.ppt document in the Workshopfiles folder on the course CD). You are creating your action plan.

Week 15

Online Discussion #15 - Final Course Evaluation and Posting Portfolios

Share with your fellow class members how you are going to submit your portfolio. If it is on a CD-ROM, videotape or DVD, follow the weekly announcement on how to turn it in physically. If it is posted to a website, share the URL with the rest of the class. Then, share with your instructors and the rest of the class members what you got out of this course and anything else that you would like to add as a parting wish.

"In the Hall"

Use this Forum for discussions that are social in nature or are unrelated to the assignments. Treat this forum like the discussions that happen "in the hall" outside the classroom.

Just practicing

Use this forum to practice with this online discussion environemnt if you need some experience prior to posting to another forum.

Tech Questions

Use this discussion group to ask technical questions that arise. It will be checked frequently, but please feel free to help each other.