The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Teaching with ePortfolios


1Department of Anthropology, Salt Lake Community College, 2Institutional Effectiveness, Salt Lake Community College

March 28, 2015 , Archview Ballroom Add to calendar

This research investigated the use of ePortfolio reflective pedagogy to improve students’ critical thinking skills. Intentional and deep reflection encourages students to make meaning from diverse learning experiences and to connect and integrate their learning across disciplines and time. Published studies report that ePortfolios enhanced students’ synthesizing and organizing of ideas and information in new ways – hallmarks of critical thinking. A college-wide assessment of critical thinking was conducted by two-person review teams using modified components of AAC&U’s Critical Thinking VALUE 1-4 point rubric (3=meets expectations) to score, by consensus, the first three and final three reflective assignments in student ePortfolios. A single critical thinking criterion (making connections, offering new insights and perspectives, and/or uses techniques such as questioning, comparing, interpreting, analyzing) was used. The mean score for students’ first three ePortfolio reflections was 2.4 and for their final three ePortfolio reflections was 1.91; both mean scores were below expectations. In a separate assessment, individual instructors evaluated only introductory biological anthropology ePortfolio assignments using a 1-4 point rubric with separate criteria for interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference. Results found that 85% of biological anthropology ePortfolio assignments met or exceeded expectations for critical thinking. Whether the difference between the two assessments can be explained by differences in assessment methods, the nature of the ePortfolio assignments themselves (which vary from professor to professor), or some other factor remains to be tested. Future research will evaluate pre- and post-reflection critical thinking to more effectively assess the success of ePortfolio reflective pedagogy.