Yancey, Kathleen Blake, Stephen J. McElroy, and Elizabeth Powers. “Composing, Networks, and Electronic Portfolios: Notes toward a Theory of Assessing ePortfolios.” Digital Writing Assessment and Evaluation. Eds. Heidi McKee and Danielle Nicole DeVoss. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.

Yancey et al’s article focused on considering the similarities and differences between portfolios and electronic or ePortfolios and working towards a vocabulary and theory for creating and assessing ePortfolios, primarily within the writing classroom. This was because the authors saw “the need for a new vocabulary, a new set of criteria, a new set of practices, and a new theory congruent with the affordances that eportfolios offer” (Yancey et al).

In order to do this, the authors begin by defining eportfolio: “a composition operating inside multiple networks” (Yancey et al).  The authors considered previous research by Hamp-Lyons and Condon about portfolios and assessment, particularly focusing on reading practices and how these practices may differ when looking at an eportfolio; this included problems such as evaluators determining grades before finishing the first paper of a portfolio. How would then someone read an eportfolio that didn’t have a linear set of papers to look through?

With this in mind, the authors looked at Kristina’s portfolio (it was not created for a specific assignment, course, or only for employment purposes) as an example. The following image is included in the article:

08_figure_1
From Yancey et al’s article.

“Reading Kristina’s eportfolio involved, first, making a set of choices, some of which were were…well, to not read” (Yancey et al, emphasis theirs). They determine that it is a mixed set of reading practices that they call “viewing/reading” rather than reading that is employed for print texts. Setting up criteria, the authors discuss how they evaluated the eportfolio.

  1. individually, we viewed/read Kristina’s eportfolio, often taking notes;
  2. we compared our viewings/readings both in person and online;
  3. we mapped our “sense” of the eportfolio;
  4. we conducted a pin-up of the eportfolio; and
  5. we synthesized our notes.

The authors used a Google docs like approach, by writing and responding to each other using different co08_figure_4lors of font.

In order to better trace the potential ways of reading the eportfolio, the authors used architectual review practice, or a pin-up as a heuristic.

Ultimately the authors came to the following conclusions:

  1. eportfolio is an emerging genre and doesn’t have a defining set of conventions yet.
  2. students are likely going to help us give definition to the genre
  3. The space eportfolios inhabit is a new one.
  4. Some of the meaning of Kristina’s eportfolio comes from the visual and is a defining feature of eportfolios.
  5. Development of new or reworking vocabulary around eportfolios is needed.
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