Using e-Portfolios to Evaluate Intellectual Capital of Online Learners

Barrett, Bob
January 2010
Proceedings of the European Conference on Intellectual Capital;2010, p67
Conference Proceeding
This paper will focus on how one university has changed their focus in evaluating student learning in a strategic approach to incorporate a new type of "capstone" course for all business undergraduate students. As Knowles (1987) noted that "everyone [learners] should be able to participate and control their own learning process." As a result, there are still students leaving educational institutions not fully prepared as to how to approach the job hunting process. Thus, these graduates tend to wonder why they have not been fully prepared for the next step after college. In consideration of the student's need for career development and assessment, this paper will demonstrate how both can be accomplished with the creation and implementation of an electronic portfolio (e-Portfolio) program in the online learning environment. Instead of focusing solely on a teacher-centered approach, this course encourages students to personalize or customize their final project work in the context of an e-Portfolio, as well as focusing on the use of such a strategic tool for future career endeavors. The author will discuss potential applications of e-Portfolios to include academic works and achievements, which best represents the student's ability to demonstrate what they have learned and what they can offer to potential employers. Further, this paper will discuss how the e-Portfolio was created and developed in this university program in terms of assessing the intellectual capital of their senior undergraduate students, as well as using this approach to help them prepare for their future career paths. While this program was just implemented in Spring 2008, it has been perceived and evaluated as a valuable final course offering to help evaluate the overall knowledge of the senior undergraduates in the context of learning objectives of the core business administration courses. Each e-Portfolio is a work in progress throughout the term as the instructor works with the student in the creation of each phase of their e-Portfolio development. From the students' perspective, as well as the faculty member's comments, it appears that the implementation of the e-Portfolio element in the final course has proven to be a valuable strategic tool for evaluation and reflection. This particular academic tool has been helpful for the instructor to evaluate the students' abilities and skills to apply content knowledge gained from the core business administration programs. Finally, this paper will help to demonstrate, from an appreciative inquiry perspective, the positive benefits of incorporating an e-Portfolio into their curriculum. Also, it will help to illustrate how the students learn from their peers as to how they are achieving similar or comparable results with their approaches to e-Portfolio work. This particular paper is suitable for people interested in measuring the intellectual capital of students in the online learning environment. Also, this paper will help provide an overview of how one university has changed its final capstone course to incorporate the use of an electronic portfolio (E-Portfolio).


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