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Graduate students designing graduate assessment: EPortfolio design as problem-based learning

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2 Author(s)
McNair, L.D. ; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA ; Borrego, Maura

We present results from a graduate course project to design an ePortfolio tool to support graduate program assessment, student learning development, and professional preparation for a “client” traditional engineering department. Students were tasked with meeting their clients, conducting a needs assessment, and designing and presenting an assessment plan using ePortfolio. Student reflections on the project, a focus group, and artifacts prepared for the client served as our data sources. The students encountered significant challenges transferring theory to practice in a real-world context, specifically balancing client desires with good assessment practice. This department's approach to annual reviews was primarily as administrative, data-driven reporting. The final design met several quantitative data needs, but also included opportunities for reflection and professional goal-setting. As a PBL assignment, the project helped these future engineering educators explore their values, career aspirations and goals, particularly in regards to spanning the gap between education practice and research. These students clearly indicated that the project was challenging but extremely valuable in preparing them for their chosen careers, and helped to reinforce their decisions. The project also increased students' awareness and engagement in the processes and challenges of program assessment, situating assessment as an integral component of engineering education.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2010 IEEE

Date of Conference:

27-30 Oct. 2010