E-Portfolios as Tools for Collaborative Learning on Digital Platforms

E-Portfolios as Tools for Collaborative Learning on Digital Platforms

Ana Claudia Loureiro (University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Cristina Zukowsky-Tavares (Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8740-0.ch010


In this chapter the authors discuss on the increasingly use of virtual learning environments - Learning Management Systems (LMS) - in university education. Analysis the potential of learning methodologies and more collaborative, problem-solving and dialogical assessment. The authors emphasize the concern with the concepts that underlie technology-enabled assessment processes such as the use of e-portfolio as a resource to monitoring the students' performance, thus being redesigned upon the assessment process, mediated by an educational practice of individual and collective knowledge construction on digital platforms and mobile communication devices.
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Virtual Learning Environments In University Education

The transformations in human life are backed by a relentless wave of technologies, which is the backdrop where all social phenomena occur. Nowadays, communication is interconnected and emerges as a new form of universal language, unlike static writing, since virtually all messages are dipped into a pot teeming with life, cheered up by transverse, chaotic, passionate, and fractal communications. Whatever the addressed message is, it connects with other messages, other texts which are probably fragments of a hypertext in constant movement that serves as a mediator or means for a reciprocal, interactive, seamless communication.

In cyberspace the technologies allow new forms of access to information as hypertext navigation, new styles of reasoning and knowledge as simulation. The key metaphors of the relationship with knowledge are currently the map and the navigation in an ocean of information without borders and constantly changing, depending on cyberspace and its tools (fiber optics, high-capacity database, shared and interconnected through the Internet - cloud computing), making it the main economic, social and cultural infrastructure of humanity.

All these tools, supported by bits, are part of a suite of technologies that provides fluidity and very fast pace to all messages, recovering the ability to link a context that had disappeared with writing: “It is possible, ….. to find again a living community of orality, .... in an infinitely further broadened and complex way” (Lévy, 2000, p. 14).

With virtual hypertextuality and new digital tools, the web has changed the educational dynamics. Several virtual learning environments emerge as tools for universities to use cyberspace in support of educational processes in order to improve their teaching ability, research and extent, making the internet network to win the educational space, allowing new processes of knowledge construction, in addition to face-to-face classes or as a facilitating environment for distance learning courses, able to meet the demands of today's society, to know:

  • Need to know how to work in groups – teamwork.

  • Need for ongoing learning process. We are living in a learning society.

  • Need to know how to be supportive.

  • Need to know collaborative learning.

There are currently a large number of options of teaching and Learning Management Systems (LMS), which provide tools that support the sharing of participants’ roles, in which they can be both tutors and learners, and collaborative generation of knowledge, such as wikis and e-books, as well as dialog environments, such as journals, forums, chats, and more. The LMS has resources to develop learning environment in which the professor, as a mentor of learning, helps students construct knowledge based on their own skills and knowledge, rather than just publish and stream contents.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Assessment: Or educational assessment seeks to determine how well students are learning and is an integrated part of the quest for improved education. It provides feedback to students, educators, parents, policy makers, and the public about the effectiveness of educational services. It is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.

Collaborative Learning: This type of learning has been called by various names: cooperative learning, collective learning, learning communities, peer teaching, peer learning, or team learning, in common is that they all incorporate group work. Collaboration is more than co-operation. Collaboration entails the whole process of learning. This may include students teaching one another, students teaching the teacher, and of course the teacher teaching the students, too. More importantly, it means that students are responsible for one another's learning as well as their own and that reaching the goal implies that students have helped each other to understand and learn.

Virtual Learning Environments (VLE): A complete system for delivering learning materials to students via the web, include assessment, student tracking, collaboration and communication tools, can be accessed both on and off-campus, meaning that they can support students' learning outside the lecture hall 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

University Education: The formal education and professional experiences that occur in different areas of teaching in the form of higher education that includes undergraduate and graduate. The example here announced refers to health in degree and master degree which prepares health professionals to teach in Brazilian higher education.

Network Collaborative Learning or Collaborative Learning Community: It is a philosophy as well as a place; it is a way of being as well as a working model, working together for common goals, partnership, shared leadership, co-evolving, co-learning, is a creation of unity through appreciating and celebrating diversity.

Learning Methodologies: It is used to stimulate students in reflection and in develop problem solving skills, help them improvement of technical skills and social relations. Bringing out reality to participants students experience their attitudinal and behavioral and also experience the whole intra and intergroup communication process which requires not only skills to listen, understand and relay information as well as negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts.

e-Portfolio: It is a purposeful collection of information, documents, drawing and digital artifacts that demonstrates the clear development and evidences of the learning process outcomes, skills and competences. It usually requires the synthesis of ideas, reflection on achievements, self-awareness and forward planning for to be shared with the team and to support continuity during the learning process.

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