The instructors I work with uniformly want students to learn the course content, but even more than that they want students to become self-directed learners who can succeed in the workforce after they graduate. Promoting metacognition, or thinking about one’s own thinking, helps students acquire skills and keep learning beyond a course’s end date. Online portfolios as course assignments can be an effective way to promote metacognition and prove to employers just what your students are capable of.
If you’d like to incorporate a portfolio assignment into your course, there are a few things to consider. First, portfolio projects lend themselves well to semester-long efforts that students contribute to incrementally. This allows them to showcase growth over time and presents a more authentic representation of their learning. You may also want to prioritize projects or artifacts that may be impressive to future employers so that the portfolio continues to be useful after the semester ends. The most crucial component to using a portfolio to promote metacognition is incorporating a reflection component. Students should pair examples of their work with narratives about how they approached a problem, what difficulties they encountered, and what they learned from the experience.
When instructors ask me to recommend an online portfolio platform, I usually suggest Portfolium because it’s a solid tool that has been approved for use with student data by UFIT Integrated Risk Management. A Portfolium portfolio can be set to different levels of privacy, supports comments, and allows students to tag collaborators on an entry. Each entry can include a written description, link, file, video, or image, so it’s easy for students to select artifacts that really show off their work alongside a concise reflection.