E-Portfolios Are More Than Activity Trackers

A STEP COUNT FOR HIGHER ED? Students increasingly use cloud-based portfolios to curate their work, share it with others and reflect on their progress. Last week the CEO of Portfolium, a platform where students house and manage their work, compared such portfolios to activity trackers like Fitbits.

Is that analogy too simplistic? Jason B. Jones, director of education technology at Trinity College, writes that quantified-self technology works well for passively tracking step counts, sleep and other health indicators, but portfolios require more active management and reflection. “What’s wanted are not so much an e-portfolio as a quantified dashboard, but rather a site where the design and navigation themselves reflect the values and skills of the learner,” he says. The debate highlights the disconnect between using algorithms to extract data and the metacognitive aspect of portfolio creation wherein learners reflect on all of their experiences.

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