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DATE: Wednesday, April 5, 2000

4:45 PM in the Moccasin Flower Room

SUBJECT: Assessment of Student Learning Committee Minutes

 

PRESENT: Vicky Demos (Chair), Stacey Parker Aronson, Eric Klinger, Tim O'Keefe, Engin Sungur,

Dian Lopez, Jenny Nellis, Michael Jones, Nathan Thooft ABSENT: Jacqueline Edmonson

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Vicky Demos began the meeting with announcements.

The ASL Minutes from 3/15/00 were approved.

The latest version of the Assessment Plan was distributed, which included the revised versions of the Unit Assessment plans.

The main topic of discussion was the proposed Electronic Learning Profile/Portfolio pilot program.

Sungur started by reviewing the portfolio. He said that the portfolio would be useful both for assessment and for students looking to get jobs, internships, or into grad school. For assessment, the portfolio would give us access to longitudinal samples of student work, e.g., papers from 1st-year seminar and senior seminars. Students could also put samples of their work, CVs, etc., on-line for schools and employers to look at.

In response to various questions, Sungur added the following points: the portfolios would be password-protected, so that students could control who had access to them, but students could disable the password function so that their portfolios would be available to anyone on the web, if so desired. The portfolios could be created using a tool developed by UMD; a link to this tool is available from the ASL page. The portfolios would be created on the UMM cda server, but would not overwrite any existing files. The UMD portfolio tool is just a tool, however; we still need to decide what should be placed in portfolios, privacy policies, etc. Sungur asked if the students had any questions or comments on the portfolio.

Thooft said he would find it useful now, in his senior year, to be able to use the electronic portfolio; the Career Center already has a dossier service, but the dossiers are not electronic. He thought that in his

freshman/sophomore years, he would not have bothered to put anything in a portfolio. He asked whether creating dossiers would be required, and Sungur said this had not yet been decided. At least for now, we were working under the assumption that it would be voluntary.

Thooft asked who would teach students how to use the portfolio. Sungur said that the portfolio tool was pretty self-explanatory, but that by having some of us try out the tool and seeing what difficulties arose, we could find out what instructions were needed. Papers could just be submitted electronically straight into the portfolio.

Lopez said that she had recently attended a conference and talked about electronic portfolios with professors at a school which had required them. Their experience had been quite negative; inputting material, managing, and reviewing the portfolios had been a chore. She had mentioned at the conference that we thought that students should be responsible for their own portfolios, if we were going to have them; Lopez said that the people at the conference thought this might avoid some of the headaches they had had.

Klinger added that some professors already ask students to submit their papers electronically, and that he finds this very useful, as he likes to use the comment function in Word to annotate student papers; it's faster

and more intelligible than hand-written comments.

O'Keefe worried that the two functions of the portfolio--job-seeking dossier and assessment tool--might work at cross purposes. Many things that we might want in the portfolio for assessment, such as 1st-year seminar papers to compare to later work, students might not want grad schools or potential employers to see. Klinger asked if it would be possible to have two versions of a portfolio created--a private one for assessment and a public one for grad schools and employers. Sungur said this could be done.

Lopez and Demos proposed that all of the committee members create portfolios of their own, so that we would have a better idea of how the tool worked, and then we could decide what information we'd like to ask people in the pilot program to put in. O'Keefe asked about how long creating a profile took, and Sungur said 15 minutes. He later clarified that this was the minimum time just to get the portfolio created; it would

take longer to fill the portfolio with samples of work, one's resume, etc.

Nellis asked if the main function of the portfolios was assessment. Sungur said that it was both assessment and a service to the students. Klinger reminded the committee that we could have two versions of the portfolio for the two different purposes. Demos worried that this would be too complicated, and that nobody would bother creating two portfolios. She suggested that it might be better to start simple in the pilot program, just having upperclassmen creating portfolios for job-seeking and grad-school purposes.

Nellis was concerned that the electronic portfolios would not be useful or workable for disciplines like theater, music, and art, where writing was not the main type of work. Students might be able to put in digital scans of their art, or videotapes or sound recordings of their performances, but this would be cumbersome, and the quality of digital images would make them unsuitable either for assessment or grad-school applications; one needs to use slides for that. O'Keefe added that having many students putting sound and video files on the server may take up a lot of space.

Aronson questioned the assumption that students should have complete control of the content of and access to their portfolios; she said that this might sharply reduce the effectiveness of the portfolios for assessment. O'Keefe said that trying to have external control of the portfolios would create even more problems best avoided: who would be in charge of reviewing the portfolios for adherence, and who would set and

enforce penalties for non-compliance? Having discipline members encourage their majors to put specific types of work in voluntarily would avoid these problems. Klinger said that we didn't need to decide the question of control at this stage, since we were just contemplating a volunteer pilot program, and provisionally the content and access of the files should be under the control of those who agree to participate.

Lopez said that she could have her students in first-year seminar next Fall participate in creating electronic portfolios.

Demos proposed that all committee members play with the portfolio creation tool between now and the next meeting, and that student members create portfolios with some of their written work and their resumes. They then could give members of the committee access to their portfolios before the next meeting to look over. All members of the committee agreed to this, and to discuss the particulars of the pilot program next meeting. The committee members agreed to meet next on Wed., April 26, at 4:45 p.m.

Meeting adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

 

 

Tim O'Keefe