Jessica Sink

University senate members met Monday to discuss feedback from Miami University students and faculty regarding the implementation of the e-portfolio, a Web-based portfolio generated through the assessment tool Chalk and Wire.

Approximately 3,500 students participated in a pilot program last fall through various class sections in the Farmer School of Business (FSB), the School of Education, Health and Society, the Honors

Program, second year advising and the English department.

The pilot program was designed to cultivate and explore faculty and student use of online Web portfolios in the hope of integrating the system into all departments and divisions of Miami.

Mike Curme, associate dean of FSB, said Chalk and Wire would serve as an assessment management system useful not only for students, but also faculty.

“The e-portfolio serves three basic but important functions,” Curme said. “To be a digital filing cabinet to store student work, an ‘academic MySpace’ where students can upload resumes to share with future employers, and a social network where students can share ideas with professors and get feedback about their work.”

Although the e-portfolio pilot program has largely been a success, senators discussed several complications that needaddressed before expanding the program to include the entire student body.

These issues included inadequate help and support from the Chalk and Wire company, an inability to upload certain video files and formatting difficulties when attempting to upload certain graphical data used in math courses. How the system will function during finals week while overwhelmed with student activity was also a concern, but is still an unknown until more students actively use the program.

Despite its limitations and even though training is necessary for faculty and students using the program, the review committee’s general consensus was the program is a great way for students to show progress and for faculty to assess student development.

“This allows us to know what students are learning in their courses,” said Carolyn Haynes, director of the Honors and Scholars program. “We can get a snapshot of student experiences.”

Eventually, the program could serve as a substitute for the Blackboard and Turnitin.com, but only after problems are resolved.

“We want to make this tool available to faculty and all the departments and divisions,” Provost Jeffrey Herbst said. “Depending on if we can get the bugs out, we would like to make this available to everyone on campus, depending on their own divisional and departmental need. This is definitely an exciting technological development that we will continue to pursue.”

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