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This document is no longer a place to make changes - Will all folks attending the Virtual Conference, Feb. 4 and 5 please make additions or suggestion only in the [Learning Capabilities spreadsheet.

Overview and Background

We will be using this space to begin the process of defining/refining the "Themes" and "Activity Workflows" that have been used to date in the Learning Capabilities spreadsheet.  For those new to this effort, the current set of Themes and Activity Workflows have developed rather organically over the past few months of work.  As a result, there may be some overlap as well as some missing topics.  We've also never discussed their definitions extensively and thus we want to have written definitions to make sure we are on the same page. Finally, we would like to connect these with teaching and learning best practices and research-based methodologies.  We plan to begin with the Seven Principles of Good Undergraduate Education. Read the linked document for a detailed explanation--but in summary, here are the seven principles:

1. Encourages contact between students and faculty
2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.
3. Encourages active learning.
4. Gives prompt feedback.
5. Emphasizes time on task.
6. Communicates high expectations.
7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

Current Themes - We are no longer editing this document - see above for details.



Fundamental Theme (Y/N?)

Rationale for it Being "Fundamental"

Principle of Good Education

Portfolio Action Verb


Assessment and Feedback

All things related to grading and scoring, documenting student achievement, providing guidance and coaching back to the student, group, or organization being assessed, and tracking progress over time.

Assessment: the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. Assessment can focus on the individual learner, the learning community (class, workshop, or other organized group of learners), the institution, or the educational system as a whole (Wikipedia)

Feedback: information that helps the learner or group gauge the quality of their work. Feedback can be provided by an instructor, mentor, advisor, external evaluator, peer, a software application, etc., can be formative or summative, and can take many forms: grades, score or rating, completed rubric, written comments, editors markup, audio or video comments, model answer, automated response to computer input, etc.

Tracking: the process of monitoring the activity, status, progress, or performance of an individual or group over time.

Portfolio workflows assess student performance in relation to standards or outcomes and provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their learning and programs and institutions with information on their ability to facilitate student learning and the opportunity revise curricula in to improve student learning.


Current educational theory demands this capability.

1. contact student/faculty,
3. active learning,
4. prompt feedback,
6. high expectations,
7. diversity

Assess, Evaluate


Tracking and Reporting on Assessment

An institutional level of judging the success of curricula and student experience through an examination of work products and other artifacts.

Portfolio assessment processes call for the ability to query assessment data to track student progress individually and in groups through statistical analysis of evaluation data and sampling of representative learning artifacts.


Essential part of assessment process

6. Communicates High Expectations,
7. Respects Diversity

Assess, Evaluate, Report


Class and Workspace Management

Handling of course logistics: scheduling, groups, etc. Selecting and configuring tools, designing and implementing interfaces (insofar as they are controlled by the instructor), scheduling, posting, and archiving critical items such as announcements, collecting and returning submissions.

Portfolio workflows require scaffolding to guide learners step by step through assessment processes and self-presentation in relation to learning and instructors to have a dashboard approach to managing assessment processes. Portfolio work flows also require administrators and instructors to be able to customize and export scaffolding to new work flows, migrate learner data to new versions, and preserve learner data across time.


For learning to be successful, instructors and administrators require flexibility in setting up and guiding the learning process.

3. Active Learning
5. Time on Task
6. Communicates high expectations.

Guide, Workflow, Customize, Export, Migrate, Preserve



Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in an intersection of common goals — for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature---by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. (Wikipedia)

Portfolio processes call for the ability for student to collaborate to produce group portfolios and for programs and institutions to work together to create programmatic and institutional portfolios.


Essential part of learning and the portfolio process

2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.




Person to person and person to group information sharing and discussions.

Portfolio processes call for individuals to assemble presentations in order to share any combination of artifacts they own with any other individual in the system, with any email address, or as a public website.


Communication between all concerned is essential to learning.

1. Encourages contact between students and faculty

Share, Present


Content Management

Creation and dissemination of instructor course materials and student work product in any multimedia file format.

Portfolio workflows should allow users to select any item in any multimedia file format they own for association with other items and tagging with metadata. Portfolio users may apply previous work to new contexts.


Organizing artifacts of one's learning is an important aspect of the learning process.

5. Emphasizes Time on Task
7. Respects Diversity

Collect, Document, Tag, Associate, Re-Purpose


Personalization, Self-expression, Empowerment, and Ownership

Personalization: the ability to customize the learning environment to accommodate one's personal tendencies and preferences.

Portfolio processes allow users to move beyond preordained structure to organize and use their own work for their own purposes and present information about themselves as they wish. Portfolio owners are able to control access to their items, determine who is invited to view them, and usually decide when to submit them for evaluation.


Individual creativity can be a strong motivator for learning.

3. Encourages Active Learning
7. Respects Diversity

Express, Empower, Own



Student documentation of the learning process

Portfolio processes encourage and guide reflection at each step of the learning process. Any item a user owns should allow a reflection to be associated with it.


Essential part of learning process

3. Encourages Active Learning
6. Communicates high expectations,
7. Respects Diversity



Task Management

Learning is most effective when tasks are carefully constructed, ordered, and setting prioritized for individuals and groups and when relationships among activities are clarified and embedded in the pedagogical context.

Portfolio task management is crucial to user willingness to complete the process. Portfolio users need guidance, instructions, examples, and rationale to assist them in successfully completing portfolio processes.


The management of the learning process is crucial to success.

3. Encourages Active Learning
7. Respects Diversity
5. Emphasizes Time on Task

Customize, Workflow


Usability and Accessibility

Learners perform most effectively when technology assists rather than interferes with the learning process.

Portfolio users require seamless work flows that guide users through complex processes of assessment and self-presentation.


Users who are irritated or confused by technology often abandon the process.

7. Respects Diversity



Current Activity Workflows - We are no longer editing this document - see above for details.

Activity Workflow




(Instructor) planning for a course, assembling new materials, external and self-authored, and reviewing and editing extant materials.  Includes recording ideas and improvements, as a course is taught, for "next time."


Start of term



Community Building (important for online classes)



Course Management



Dashboard Overviews

Portfolio workflows call for an instructor dashboard allowing instructors to manage their activities in the assessment of learning.

Instructors using portfolios want a dashboard that aggregates assessment data and streamlines activities in the assessment process.

Active Learning



Assigning & completing work and feedback

Recording and developing ideas for a student assignment, determining pedagogical context, defining and distributing the assignment, accepting submissions, assessing, marking, and grading, recording grades, and returning work and feedback to students.  May be repeated for revisions; may be associated with other assignments.


Assessment, exams,grading

Recording and developing ideas for pedagogical goals, assessment rubrics, topics to cover, individual questions, and compound parts; composing those elements of the assessment with the images, figures, links and other non-text items involved; setting the parameters of assessment administration (dates and other settings); monitoring as students work on the assessment; collecting, reviewing, applying rubrics, and grading results; returning feedback; reworking answers, rubrics, scores and grades when necessary, post-delivery; marking and packaging assessment elements for re-purposing.


Tracking learning and engagement

Instructors and institutions need to track student learning via portfolio workflows as a part of the accreditation process.


Content authoring & publishing



Mentoring and peer review



Researching a topic with references and resources



Team Teaching



Portfolio Building and Sharing

Portfolio workflows guide students through assessment processes and support student ability to collect and select any artifact, reflection, feedback or assessment owned by the student for use in assembling and sharing a portfolio focused on learning and/or personal representation.

Portfolios created by students allow significant self-expression and sharing with any user or any email, as a download, or as a public URL.

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