USNH e-Portfolios – my thoughts

As part of the committee charged with developing the USNH e-Portfolio summit, one of our tasks was to determine our audience. Now this initiative is coming out of a system-wide $450,000 block grant so on one hand an obvious audience are the constituents who pay into the system, namely the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University, Keene State College and Granite State College. But my friend and colleague, Dr. Royce Robertson, has thoughts similar to mine when the topic of e-portfolios in the state arises. In his blog, The Virtual Sherpa , he states:

The cycle of change regarding ePortfolios in the State of New Hampshire has a few missing links – teachers, employers, college admissions, and licensing boards.

Which echoes my thoughts exactly. Three of the four institutions have a focus on teacher preparation and education. The State of New Hampshire is eyeing an electronic portfolio requirement. And then there is what we do with those portfolios when we’re move from K-12 to higher ed and from higher ed into the job market.
It strikes me that the most logical partnership would be one between the State and the University System so as to create standards and portability between all of our institutions. Consider what an effective model of Dr. Robertson’s cycle listed above could look like.
Our learners begin their electronic portfolio career as early as the primary grades. These portfolios then follow our learners into middle and high school. As part of their commencement, these learners will be expected to present a portfolio which highlights their mastery of certain core competencies. As they begin to look towards their post-secondary education, these learners submit their portfolios to the institution(s) of their choice as part of the admissions process. Once admitted, the build upon their existing portfolio with their post-secondary work and employ the portfolio as part of their degree defense. As our newly graduated teachers begin to seek employment, this comprehensive portfolio is used during their job hunt to highlight their competencies and areas of expertise. Because these schools are using similar standards, the evaluation process is simplified. Now if the learner decides to pursue an advanced degree, they take their portfolio and carry it over (virtually) to their new institution.
I’ll admit that their are a lot of assumptions here, but since all of these entities are utilizing e-portfolios in one way or another, would it not make sense for folks to be able to take a look at any portfolio and have an understanding of what it represents?

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