Assessing Student Learning with E-Portfolios in the Department of Geosciences at Middle Tennessee State University

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm TSU - Humphries: 118
Poster Session Part of Wednesday


Melissa Lobegeier, Middle Tennessee State University
Jeremy Aber, Middle Tennessee State University
Warner Cribb, Middle Tennessee State University
The use of e-portfolios has been growing in popularity in recent years. E-portfolios are digital portfolios used to display an online collection of digital artifacts such as documents, images, and videos. They are used in many ways, from documenting student learning to assisting faculty in advising students. Additionally, e-portfolios are considered to be a high impact practice and can help students in promoting critical thinking and reflection, and can help develop technical literacy skills. Currently, the Department of Geosciences at Middle Tennessee State University uses an exit examination to assess students at the completion of their degree programs. Many students do not take this examination seriously and the learning objectives that are being assessed are outdated. We are beginning to phase out the exit examination and replace it with an e-portfolio, which will be used in assessing students' progress through the program. We have used the competencies identified by geosciences employers as part of the Summit on the Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education to guide us in developing an e-portfolio template for student use. The instructors of each required course in the program have selected signature assignments that will display a student's mastery of the particular competency identified. Students can include these assignments as artifacts along with commentary into the e-portfolio template. Students will be required to attend an e-portfolio workshop early in their degree, and their e-portfolios will be reviewed at pre-determined intervals throughout their degree program to check their progression. In their final semester at MTSU, students will be required to complete a capstone reflection focusing upon the skills and competencies they've gained throughout their degree program. Qualitative assessment is not considered to be sufficient so rubrics will be utilized to enable statistical evaluations to report assessment results to our accreditation board.