A Community of Practice to Create a Model for Student e-Portfolios as a Tool for Life-long Learning and Assessment

Abstract The positive effects of e-portfolios as assessment tools and as tools to guide life-long learning both for students and teachers is widely recognised within the academic community (Cambridge 2010). The outcomes-based approach to teaching, learning and assessment which tertiary institutions in Hong Kong have embraced emphasises learner-centered practices to help achieve higher level outcomes such as evaluation, reflection and inquiry. Student e-portfolios support learners to take an active role in achieving these higher level learning outcomes by giving them ownership of their own learning (ibid.:25). In terms of assessment, e-portfolios support criterion-referenced as well as formative assessments. The proposed CoP seeks to bring together colleagues from diverse academic disciplines who have either used e-portfolios as an assessment tool or see it as a viable option for their discipline. This is therefore the domain of the CoP. The aim is to learn from each other’s experiences and apply their ideas to create a multidisciplinary model for the use of student e-portfolios. This constitutes the community by seeking to nurture an environment of learning by sharing through a sustainable design based on good practices. In this way the proposed CoP seeks to fulfill the three basic criteria of a CoP (Wenger, online). Cox (2004:8) defines a Faculty Learning Community “as a cross-disciplinary faculty and staff group of six to fifteen members (eight to twelve members is the recommended size) who engage in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning and with frequent seminars and activities that provide learning, development, the scholarship of teaching, and community building”. Keeping with this recommendation, in the first stage of the CoP “Reflect”, the 12 proposed members of the community will share, evaluate and inquire into existing experiences of student e-portfolios. In the second stage it will propose a multidisciplinary model for student e-portfolios as a tool for life-long learning and assessment. At a later developmental stage, the CoP envisions functioning as an independent academic think-tank which in turn would help inform the university’s policies one-learning and outcomes-based teaching and learning.