Nathan Klein dissertation defense

Nathan Klein
Dissertation Defense
Understanding and Improving Pedagogical Aspects of a General Education Eportfolio
Chair: Benjamin Stephens
Committee: Lee Gugerty, Fred Switzer, and Joel Greenstein
Monday, March 24, 2014 at 12:30pm Brackett 214

The goal of this research was to examine general education eportfolio components that may help improve student learning outcomes. A general education eportfolio is essentially a website created by a student, who selects, links, and reflects upon artifacts they have created in order to demonstrate their competency in the various domains of higher education, e.g. social science, mathematics, and natural science. This dissertation research combined and extended previous research by Klein et al. (2011) into two studies. The first study employed a factorial design manipulating the type of reflective activity required for an eportfolio and the type of eportfolio support provided. The second study manipulated the number of artifacts used during reflection. The main outcome variables were student competency, metacognitive accuracy, and subjective experiences. Support, reflective activity, and an additional artifact were each expected to improve the outcome measures. Support and activity were also expected to produce a synergistic interactive effect. Reflective activity only had a marginal impact on competency, whereas eportfolio support was found to cause significant improvements in all of the outcome measures. There was a trend for a stronger effect of mentoring in eportfolios with rationale activities for social science competency. The second experiment did not detect any differences in outcomes resulting from using two artifacts compared to using one. This research informs educators of best practices in eportfolio program design at the general education level for improving learning outcomes in college students.

Keywords: eportfolio, learning, metacognition, reflection, support, general education

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