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E-portfolios to bring new practices to classroom

Fresno State took a major step Monday toward the implementation of a campuswide e-portfolio program that aims to provide students with a way to showcase school work to other students, professors and even prospective employers.

The program is part of a larger move by Fresno State to make courses more centered on digital learning practices. Working collaboratively with other initiatives, the e-portfolio program will be used in all tablet courses, which are set to begin next fall.

The program is designed “to improve our use of high impact practices, make learning visible, help in course redesign, assist in faculty development and be an important element in program reviews and preparing for our upcoming campus accreditation visit,” according to the ePortfolio Implementation Plan.

“The whole idea of what they call folio thinking is that students are more intentional in course selection and completing assignments,” said Dr. Dennis Nef, dean of undergraduate studies at Fresno State.

When students’ work is made publicly available to their professors and classmates they are likely to put more effort into their work, he said.

The program is run through Pathbrite.com and initially will be free for students who use less than two gigabytes of storage. Although the costs are currently subsidized by the university, in the future students may have to pay somewhere around $7.50 for the service, Nef said.

In an effort to introduce students to the program, which is planned to be implemented through university academics in the next two years, the university has organized an e-portfolio contest. Running from Monday until May 2, participants will design their own e-portfolios on the website to demonstrate either their learning experiences or professional skills and accomplishments.

Prizes range from a $10 Kennel Bookstore gift card to an iPad. Winners will be announce in three categories: best course based e-portfolio, best overall e-portfolio and best career e-portfolio.

Representatives for the program will be in the Henry Madden Library this week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to answer questions about e-portfolios and the competition.

Also, Technology Innovations for Learning and Teaching (TILT) will be hiring three student assistants to help implement the program, according to the Fresno State website