CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 30, 2002
College of Education ePortfolio project draws wide interest
response to overwhelming interest in its ePortfolio project, the University
of Iowa College of Education has published a white paper describing the web-based
repository where aspiring teachers can store and showcase their academic,
field and professional work.
The 23-page "Performance Assessment in Teacher Education: The Iowa
ePortfolio Model" is being distributed this week to state departments
of education, colleges of education, school administrators, legislators, policymakers
and media. Seven years in the making, the project has garnered keen interest
from the Iowa Department of Education, universities across the nation and
around the world and school districts, prompting UI College of Education officials
to explore options for trademarking and even patenting elements of the project.
At its simplest, the ePortfolio is free web space provided by the college
to all declared education majors, a place where they can upload samples of
their academic work -- called "artifacts" -- from lesson plans and
research to digitized photographs and audio and video files showing them working
in schools as part of their student-teaching experience. Templates help students
organize the materials so they can chart their progress toward meeting their
academic requirements, as well as state and federal standards for teacher
But ePortfolio is also much more. Education majors scheduled to graduate
next May will be the first able to use their ePortfolio websites as highly
interactive showcases of their work as they apply for teaching positions around
the country. And ePortfolio can be used by educators throughout their careers
as a professional development tool.
"While the original impetus for this work was in professional placement
-- we wanted a platform where students could represent their strengths to
potential employers -- it has since become the means by which we can address
state and national mandates for standards performance assessment," Rebecca
Anthony, director of the Education Placement Office, John Achrazoglou, director
of the UI College of Education Technology Center, James Marshall, associate
dean, and two coauthors write in their introduction to the white paper.
"The Iowa ePortfolio Model provides the architecture within which students
can develop their skills, reflect on their practice and showcase their strengths
and attainment of performance standards to a range of relevant audiences including
accreditation teams at both state and national levels," the authors add.
Three components make up the ePortfolio project.
- Digital BackPack This is an individual student website maintained
for the collection of materials from courses and field experiences with
elements of their learning linked to approved performance standards and
available for review by faculty and assessors.
- Electronic Portfolio The second stage of the project involves selecting
key documents and evidence of best teaching practices to showcase for potential
- Cyber ToolBox In the third and final stage of the project, the student's
website becomes an evolving repository from Digital BackPack, Electronic
Portfolio and selected professional items for career use as the student
transfers from the campus to the professional world.
In the process of assembling their websites, students also become adept at
using the latest computer technology, from web design to digital imaging.
In fact, one of the first classes that students who are accepted into the
education program at Iowa must take covers academic technology, including
the use of ePortfolio.
What really makes ePorfolio sophisticated, however, isn't the technology
-- it was created using off-the-shelf web editing software -- but the organization
of its content, a process that took several years using little more than a
pen and paper.
Anthony and Achrazoglou said they knew from the beginning that students
needed more than a vanity page or scrapbook of their college experience, or
simply an online resume. So they made it a priority to create an interface
that would correspond to, and dovetail with, listings of the UI College of
Education's course requirements with state and federal standards for teacher
From the beginning, the College of Education has consulted with more than
500 hiring officials across the country, asking through surveys and personal
interviews what they would like to see in the ePortfolios. Of all the potential
content on an ePortfolio site, they ranked the following as among the most
- Some demonstration that the education major understands how students
- Evidence of effective communication with students
- Evidence of the education major's command of a variety of instructional
- A demonstration of how an education major assesses student learning
- Evidence of subject matter knowledge
- Evidence and samples of the student's ability to plan instruction
"Seventy-nine percent of the respondents stated that a job seeker's
ePortfolio could be a significant selection tool along with references, credentials,
transcripts, resume, cover letter and interviews," the white paper concludes.
Copies of the white paper can be ordered by contacting Rebecca Anthony, director
of the UI College of Education's Education Placement Office, at (319) 335-5353,
or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. A PDF version of the white paper is
also available online at http://www.education.uiowa.edu/eportfolio/whitepaper.pdf
A sample ePortfolio project can be viewed online at http://www.education.uiowa.edu/eportfolio.
Founded in 1872, the University of Iowa College of Education was the nation's
first permanent college-level department of education. Since then the College
has gained an international reputation of excellence in fields as diverse
as rehabilitation counseling, testing and measurement, and language and literacy.
It is home to the Iowa Testing Programs, developer of the widely used Iowa
Tests of Basic Skills; to the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International
Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development; and to such top-ranked
programs as Rehabilitation Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Educational
Psychology, Elementary Teacher Education, Secondary Teacher Education, and
English Education and Literacy.