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Portfolios In Engineering Education: What Do They Promise And How Can They Be Used?

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade for Teaching II

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count

21

Page Numbers

11.1000.1 - 11.1000.21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1071

Download Count

18

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Paper Authors

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Zhiwei Guan University of Washington

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ZHIWEI GUAN is a doctoral student in the University of Washington’s Technical Communication department and a member of the Laboratory for User-Centered Engineering Education (LUCEE).

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Steve Lappenbusch University of Washington

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STEVE LAPPENBUSCH is a doctoral student in the University of Washington’s Technical Communication department and a member of the Laboratory for User-Centered Engineering Education (LUCEE).

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Jennifer Turns University of Washington

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JENNIFER TURNS is an assistant professor of Technical Communication at the University of Washington and the head of the Laboratory for User-Centered Engineering Education (LUCEE). Dr. Turns' research interests lie at the intersection of engineering education, cognitive/learning sciences, and user-centered design.

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Jessica Yellin University of Washington

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JESSICA YELLIN is a research scientist with the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education at the University of Washington and a member of the Laboratory for User-Centered Engineering Education (LUCEE).

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

Portfolios in Engineering Education: What Do They Promise And How Can They Be Used?

Introduction

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 Definition

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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