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On Line Assessment For Web Based Programming Portfolios

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.475.1 - 5.475.13



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John K. Estell

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

Session 3520

On-line Assessment for Web-Based Programming Portfolios

John K. Estell Bluffton College


A methodology for Web-based programming portfolios that focuses on utilizing the interactive nature of the medium is presented. The concept of a portfolio and its value for assessment is reviewed, leading into a discussion on the benefits of electronic portfolios and rubrics for enhancing student learning outcomes. The development of the Interactive Programming Portfolio at our institution is used as a case study to examine how on-line assessment can be implemented.

1. The Portfolio

A portfolio consists of a collection of materials assembled over a period of time that is used to both demonstrate and document one’s ability in a particular subject. Portfolios are commonly used in the artistic professions. For example, photographers who specialize in weddings will present to the inquiring engaged couple an assembled collection of their work. By constructing a portfolio photographers have the opportunity to reflect upon their work as they select the best results from their photographic sessions; similarly, the couple looking to hire someone for their wedding can use the portfolios to evaluate the ability of each photographer. So not only is the portfolio a means to demonstrate and document competence, it also allows for assessment by both the person assembling the portfolio and those who must pass judgement on that person’s work. While not as widely used, portfolios can also be found in the computing sciences. The programming portfolio contains a selection of computer programs that a programmer has produced over a period of time.

The traditional format of the portfolio is a physical document, typically a ring binder that allows for the easy insertion or removal of items. For the programming portfolio, the document usually consists of a notebook containing pages of program source code listings, sometimes combined with text-based example runs or graphics-based snapshots showing particular moments of program execution. While useful, reviewing such material is about as exciting as watching paint dry as it fails to capture the essence of the programs in action. There is also the noticeable drawback that at most one person can use the portfolio at any given time as physical possession of the document is required. Additionally, the notebook format forces the organization of the portfolio to be sequential because of the nature of the print medium; however, the structure of ideas is not sequential. As early as 1945 Vannevar Bush noted that the human mind operated by the association of thoughts and proceeded to describe his “memex” system that is considerably

Estell, J. K. (2000, June), On Line Assessment For Web Based Programming Portfolios Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8604

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