June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
New Engineering Educators
11.1000.1 - 11.1000.21
Portfolios in Engineering Education: What Do They Promise And How Can They Be Used?
Student portfolios have been listed as a possible means of assessment under the basic level accreditation criteria for ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) Engineering Criteria 2000. Since then, engineering educators and researchers have started to use portfolios in their teaching and are trying to explore the potentials of portfolios. Various efforts have focused on using portfolios in engineering instruction and the results of those efforts have been reported in the engineering education literature. This research provides educators useful information on how to use or adopt portfolios efficiently in their classrooms.
However, because of the diversity of the efforts to include portfolios in the engineering curriculum, it is difficult for new educators to gain a clear understanding of what they can learn from the previous studies and thus to decide how to design a portfolio assignment for their classrooms. Practical questions, such as “If I want to use portfolio for the purpose A, how should I design my portfolio curriculum”, can hardly be answered. The major reasons for the difficulties in effectively using student portfolios could be that (1) portfolios were defined differently, (2) the reasons for using portfolios were different; (3) the components that were included in the portfolios were different; and (4) the setting and instruction on creating portfolios were different. These variations in designing portfolios make it very difficult for new educators to quickly design a portfolio curriculum and accurately employ it in their classrooms.
This paper describes our efforts in collecting, summarizing, and comparing the design of portfolio assignments in order to provide a review of the practice of using student portfolios in engineering education. To achieve this goal, we will review eleven research papers to illustrate the broad range of portfolio use relevant to engineering education. The review of these papers will help engineering educators to understand the diversity of portfolio use in engineering education.
In the paper, we will first review the current literature on defining and classifying student portfolios. Using this review as a basis, we introduce and define the major dimensions of variations in the design and use of portfolios. These major design dimensions were used as criteria for us to collect and select eleven research and practice papers to maximally illustrate the diversity of portfolio use in engineering education. We then explain and compare these studies in detail and provide suggestions on the design and use of portfolios for engineering educators based on their pedagogical interests. Finally, we will discuss the research issues that are raised in our findings for the education researchers to further explore the possible pedagogical impacts of portfolios on engineering education.
Portfolios have been widely and successfully used in other fields, such as architecture, art design, business, journalism, photography, writing and language learning. Comparatively, the use of
Guan, Z., & Lappenbusch, S., & Turns, J., & Yellin, J. (2006, June), Portfolios In Engineering Education: What Do They Promise And How Can They Be Used? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1071
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