First annual ePortfolio showcase to be held in April

The office of ePortfolio Initiatives is accepting submissions until March 29 for its first annual ePortfolio showcase to be held on April 25.

The showcase will be held in the Innovation Space classroom in Torgersen 1120 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature 10 student-created electronic portfolios.

“The idea was to put in front of undergraduate students and interested faculty, examples of good, completed student ePortfolios,” said Mark Zaldivar, director of ePortfolio Initiatives at Virginia Tech.

Spectators can come and go at any time to listen and talk to students who have created portfolios.

Students chosen to present will receive $150 to talk about the work that they’ve done and how they’ve created their portfolios.

According to Teggin Summers, assistant director of ePortfolio Initiatives, development of a personal ePortfolio can be beneficial in more ways than one. A good ePortfolio can showcase a variety of different things, including reflectings on past lessons, goals a student has accomplished, and the future aspirations.

Zaldivar estimates that approximately 8,000 undergraduates are currently doing work with electronic portfolios in every college of the university.

English majors are required to take ENGL 2614, where they create an ePortfolio using different platforms, including Scholar, WordPress and Weebly.

Students currently doing work with ePortfolios are seeing the benefits.

“The biggest thing I’ve taken from ePortfolios is the reflection opportunity, but it also has really helped me in being able to showcase myself professionally,” said Emily DeNoon, junior English major and undergraduate intern for the office of ePortfolio Initiatives.

Not all students share the same view as DeNoon on the usefulness of ePortfolios.

“Honestly, I thought it was a waste of time,” said Beth Cameron, junior English major, who hasn’t touched her ePortfolio since taking the class.

Architecture students are also required to archive designs in Scholar, which has presented some problems.

The trouble is in the uploading procedure and formatting, according to Kathryn Albright, foundation program chair for the school of architecture and design.

However, the ePortfolio Initiative has been working with them on those issues.

“(They have) been very eager to work with us to make these changes… and we’re making progress,” Albright said.

Despite these problems, Tech has become a national leader in ePortfolio development and research. The ePortfolio Initiatives office won the Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award in 2012.

Zaldivar and Summers hope the ePortfolio showcase will encourage more students to consider creating an electronic portfolio.

“A lot of what we do is make learning visible,” Zaldivar said, “so, I’d say that’s definitely one of our highest goals here: to make learning as visible as possible at Virginia Tech.”


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