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Early Reflections On Engineering Web Based Portfolios

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Computers in Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.490.1 - 9.490.16



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Paper Authors

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Matthew Campbell University of Texas at Austin

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Kathy Schmidt The University of Texas at Austin

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1520

Early Reflections on Engineering Web-Based Portfolios

Matthew I. Campbell, Kathy J. Schmidt

College of Engineering The University of Texas at Austin

Abstract During a four or five year undergraduate education, engineering students produce a variety of materials that are indicative of their knowledge and skills. Current digital technologies enable the storage and presentation of such materials in an easy to create and easy to access format. At the University of Texas at Austin, we are developing a web-based tool for undergraduate engineering students that provides an environment for them to display and reflect on their engineering accomplishments. The electronic portfolio system ( is now available to all students in the College as a result of three years of development. While we are confident that the portfolio system will enrich our students’ university experiences and prepare them for a career in engineering, we have faced a number of challenges that we would like to share in this paper. First of all, since various portfolio activities are in development across the country, we are seeking ways to substantiate our principles in an approach that does not reinvent or overlook important features of other established methods. Secondly, we will share a number of technical issues we faced in creating a web-based tool for undergraduate use (security, storage, etc.). Third, we discuss the difficulties in getting students and faculty to voluntarily adopt the portfolio tool and to incorporate it within their course materials. Finally, we conclude with the current issues we are facing and our future plans.

Introduction In the last ten years, rapid developments in computers and digital technologies (such as the Internet) are influencing instructional practice. Online portfolio systems are a culmination of technological advances and current curriculum reform efforts. While a dictionary definition of portfolios still describes a paper-based tool (A portable case for holding material, such as loose papers, photographs, or drawings.) 1 many of today’s portfolios are electronic and can store a variety of multimedia files. Lankes defines electronic portfolios as a “purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the students’ efforts, progress, and achievements.” 2 Portfolios have been in use for a long time in disciplines such as art or photography and in K-12 education, yet they are still relatively new in other disciplines such as engineering and in higher education. ABET 2000’s Criteria 33 identifies portfolios as one method of documenting and assessing student outcomes. Others suggest that an electronic portfolio is a student tool “that Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Campbell, M., & Schmidt, K. (2004, June), Early Reflections On Engineering Web Based Portfolios Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12713

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