Reflective and Social Pedagogies to Advance Integrative ePortfolio Learning


ePortfolios are designed to enhance learning. And while faculty and institutional learning are important, student learning and the pedagogy that supports it stand at the center of effective ePortfolio practice.

Successful campus ePortfolio initiatives focus sustained attention on advancing sophisticated ePortfolio pedagogy that enhances student learning. The Catalyst site showcases the practices used by Connect to Learning (C2L) campuses nationwide. And it offers two essays that introduce and analyze those practices: one on Reflective Pedagogy, and one on Social Pedagogy.

C2L’s fundamental premise is that deepening the integrative qualities of student learning makes that learning more transformative and enduring; that integration is promoted through reflection, by inviting students, in disciplined and systematic ways, to make connections that intensify their learning; and that reflection is more meaningful when it makes learning more visible to others. Integration, reflection, and social learning are at the heart of the Catalyst ePortfolio practices.

C2L’s analysis of ePortfolio pedagogy highlights the compound potential of reflective and social pedagogies to advance integrative learning:

Reflective Pedagogy

Reflection prompts students to connect and make meaning from diverse learning experiences. Helping students deepen and integrate their learning, reflection is the core of powerful ePortfolio practice.

Click here for the Catalyst essay, Reflection, Integration, and ePortfolio Pedagogy.

Social Pedagogy

Social Pedagogy engages students in communication intensive tasks where the representation of knowledge for an authentic audience is central to the construction of knowledge. Social pedagogy transforms ePortfolio learning from a solitary experience to one in which students engage with a community of learners.

Click here for the Catalyst essay, Social Pedagogies in ePortfolio Practices: Principles for Design and Impact.

Integrative Learning

Integrative learning — the ability of students to connect and apply their learning across disciplines and semesters, linking academic and lived curricula — has been highlighted by the AAC&U as a top priority for higher education.

Click here for more on the Integrative Learning Project, sponsored by AAC&U and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The Catalyst essay, What Difference Can ePortfolio Make? (In Press), discusses the C2L findings, which suggest that sophisticated ePortfolio practice builds student success and deepens student learning.

Broad and effective implementation of sophisticated pedagogy requires ePortfolio leaders to mobilize a network of campus connections. Professional Development helps faculty to learn new pedagogy and think beyond the boundaries of a single course. Cross campus linkages – to Centers for Teaching and Learning, department chairs, Outcomes Assessment initiatives, and Student Affairs and IT divisions – make a crucial difference. Bringing often siloed actors together into a sustained conversation about student learning not only advances pedagogy; it can also help Scaling Up an ePortfolio initiative and catalyze broader institutional change.

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