Northwestern Connecticut Community College Outcomes Assessment with ePortfolios: An Overview

ePortfolio is being used for outcomes assessment at NCCC, but our project is still limited in scale.

Here we have outlined some examples of how various stakeholders are reviewing ePortfolios to learn more about outcomes assessment in departments and programs.

  • The English department uses the assessment component of Digication to evaluate students’ progress in developmental courses as they build their reading/writing portfolios.
  • The Nursing department collects evidence of students’ reflections from their clinical experiences via ePortfolio, and they assess these artifacts to determine students’ progress as reflective practitioners.
  • The Early Childhood Education department uses a template to track student progress toward the NAEYC standards. Students deposit evidence and reflections into this ePortfolio template at each step in their degree where they are assessed via rubrics.
  • The Art Department uses ePortfolio to present their program evaluation, maintaining a live, public document that can be constantly updated.
  • Vet Tech, Allied Health, Nursing, and ECE undergo external accreditations, and Art has an external review board. The ePortfolios provide evidence of student work for these accrediting bodies, and so far the reviews have been positive.

While we do have several departments and programs using ePortfolios for outcomes assessment, we have yet to create an integrated approach to outcomes assessment across our campus, and our ePortfolio project’s endeavors with assessment still remain separate from the overall campus drive towards more effective outcomes assessment. Hopefully, with the adoption of new General Education Outcomes (effective 2013-2014 academic year), we will be able to move forward in creating a more cohesive plan.

Our campus recently underwent an extensive outcomes assessment project that took two years and involved each and every single course that the college offers. All full-time and many part-time faculty were involved, and all course outcomes were revised as a part of this review. This has set the stage for serious, long-term discussion about outcomes assessment and evidence collection on our campus, but we have just begun to transform and enhance actual assessment practice based on these changes. This is a work in progress, but full-time faculty are highly invested.

As we continue with our program, the immediate goal is to build models of outcomes assessment with ePortfolios in departments like ECE where progress is being made rapidly.  Also, now that we have new, tangible General Education outcomes (in place since last year), we would like to consider how to make the achievement of those outcomes more visible in the portfolios of General Education and Liberal Arts students (our biggest majors). Obviously, we want both students and faculty to be involved in the process of outcomes assessment so that inquiry, reflection, and integration underpin the accomplishment of these outcomes in a meaningful way.

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