ePortfolio Tool Name: Reflection
Developer/Company Name: SymplicityURL
Webinar recording from March 14, 2012
(With thanks to Patricia Donohue of ePortfolio California.)
The following is a compilation of the needs and concerns expressed by
the eportfolio community in an informal polling during spring 2011. The
answers are the vendor's own responses.
What vision or understanding of learning informed the design of your tool?
understanding of learning is that it is a collaborative effort where
each student is an active participant in deciding the direction and
depth of their experiences and that faculty is responsible for viewing
eh student as a unique individual and providing relevant guidance and
feedback. Thus our vision with the Reflection Electronic Portfolio
System was to create an environment where students and faculty can
collaborate to advance the student’s personal, academic, and
professional development and visualize the student’s progress toward
learning outcomes defined by the institution. Students and faculty can
utilize Reflection as a platform through which to share experiences,
academic evaluations, evidence of learning (videos, sound files,
documents, etc.), portfolio feedback/comments, strengths and weaknesses,
and view the student’s advancement toward goals. The completed
portfolio will represent a clear connection between the student’s work
and the knowledge he or she was required to learn during their time at
the institution. As faculty play an integral part in guiding the
student’s development, Symplicity listened closely to the needs
expressed by higher education practitioners looking for a portfolio
solution that would be both learning and career oriented and that would
assist with their institution’s overall assessment and accreditation
efforts. The ability to score portfolios based upon rubrics, leave
feedback for students, assess the student’s performance in relation to
defined learning competencies – all of these insights were incorporated
in to the development of the Reflection system. As a result, Reflection
is highly customizable and offers comprehensive reporting (all student
data can be accessed via the Reporting feature) so that institutions can
align the tool with their learning objectives and easily generate
results to provide to their administration. In addition, the reporting
feature allows faculty to easily identify areas for improvement, as well
as accomplishments, on an individual student basis.
How does your vision of learning promote a student-centered approach to education? (e.g. student ownership of his/her learning)
is a very "student-centric” system that offers robust tools in both the
student and manager interfaces to enable the student to progress and
reflect independently and allow faculty to monitor student development
and offer feedback/suggestions at any time. The student interface allows
students to take full ownership of each Portfolio-from the content, to
the organization, to the design. Students are responsible for entering
their experiences in the Skills Matrix, the heart of Reflection. The
experiences the student enters in the Matrix are the foundation for each
portfolio they create. By entering experiences, students are encouraged
to carefully consider their accomplishments, both on and off campus,
and determine how they align with the desired learning outcomes of the
institution (also defined within the Matrix). Students select which
skills they have obtained from each experience (the institution can
provide a list of skills and opt to enable students to enter their own
skills), what artifacts they wish to include as evidence of learning
(videos, documents, etc.), and enter a description of the experience
that emphasizes their understanding and deep learning of the subject. At
any time, students can proactively utilize the Skills Matrix to take
stock of their strengths and weaknesses, and assess what areas the
institution suggests they acquire additional experiences in. The skill
categories within the Skills Matrix can be customized by major, so that
students will see skill categories that are most relevant to them.
Faculty with the appropriate user rights can view the data entered by
the student within the Skills Matrix (as well as any other data the
student has entered in to Reflection, including their completed and
in-progress portfolios) and provide them with suggestions and feedback,
encouraging the student to recognize the skills required to reach their
goals and the types of experience necessary to get there. Faculty can
also view snapshots of the student’s Skills Matrix at select points over
time to see how the student has progressed.
Does your tool allow students to control permissions? Can they share
with people outside of the institution? How? (e.g., advisor,
prospective employer, etc.).
Reflection enables students to control
who their presentations are shared with. User account management with
encrypted passwords, as well as granular user rights and assigned roles
within Reflection’s manager interface, ensure that each student’s
information is visible only to the individual student and designated
staff. Students can share their work with individuals outside of the
institution by emailing them the pdf presentation or by providing them
with the URL (which can be password protected) to their online
portfolio. Students may also opt to share their work via Twitter,
Facebook, and Linkedin.
What is the process for inviting feedback on work or artifacts?
can decide if they would like to receive feedback on their work. When
viewing the student’s online presentation, there is a "comments” icon
that the reviewer can simply click on and enter their feedback.
Customizable "feedback types” enable the institution to enter feedback
categories that are commonly used to make the process simpler for the
reviewer (e.g. "Request for interview”). Once the feedback has been
entered, the student will receive an e-mail alert indicating that
feedback has been left on their presentation. The student can easily
click the URL within the e-mail, and be routed right to the portfolio
where feedback has been left for them. Within the Reflection student
interface, there is also a "Feedback” tab, where students can view all
feedback left for them over time, on any portfolio. Students are offered
the same options in terms of enabling and collecting feedback on
Describe how your tool promotes and supports student-to-student collaboration.
can share the URL to their online portfolio with other students and
enable the feedback option so that their peers can provide comments and
suggestions directly to the portfolio. If their peer leaves feedback,
the student receives an alert via email, and the feedback is also
collected under a "Feedback” tab within the Reflection student
interface. In addition to sharing their portfolio URLs, students can,
with the click of a button within the student interface, share their
portfolios via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Peers can access their
portfolio via these social media sites and leave feedback in the same
manner as above.
Describe how your tool promotes and supports student-to-faculty collaboration.
provides a faculty interface that enables faculty to create their own
rubrics for evaluating portfolios and assignments. Faculty can then
share these rubrics with students so that the student may clearly
understand the criteria upon which they are being scored. Faculty may
provide comments directly to the student’s online portfolio or
assignment. Once feedback is submitted, the student will receive an
alert via email (they can click a URL within the email and be routed
directly to the portfolio or assignment where feedback has been left)
and feedback is also collected under the "Feedback” tab within the
Reflection student interface. By sharing rubrics and feedback, students
and faculty can work together to strengthen the student’s portfolio or
ensure the student’s understanding of subject matter pertaining to an
assignment. . Faculty and staff members with the appropriate user rights
assigned in the Reflection manager interface may also view student
portfolio content at any time, as well as the details the student has
entered in their Skills Matrix. The Reflection manager interface makes
it easy for faculty to pull any data the student has entered in the
system and identify areas where he or she may need guidance. The Manager
interface also offers a specific tab where faculty can see snapshots of
the student’s development over-time, and gauge whether the student is
responding to faculty suggestions and making progress toward their
goals. Faculty can also guide students through the Reflection interface
and the process of developing a successful portfolio by customizing the
"Help” and "Hints” found throughout the student interface.
How does your tool support and encourage the reflection process for students and faculty?
Skills Matrix within the Reflection student interface was designed to
encourage students to reflect upon their experiences, consider the
skill(s) they have obtained, and select supporting evidence that
represents their learning and development of that specific skill. At
anytime, the student can utilize the Skills Matrix to visualize their
growth. In addition to the Skills Matrix, each portfolio the student
creates begins with a Profile that promotes a reflective introduction
where the student will consider what that particular portfolio will
represent and should make specific points about what the documents in
the portfolio show about their progress. Faculty can create custom
rubrics for assessing portfolios that can measure the depth of the
student’s reflection. Faculty with the appropriate user rights assigned
in the Reflection manager interface can view student data at any time,
leave feedback for the student, or utilize the "Notes” tab within the
manager interface to add notes to a student’s record that are visible
only to designated manager users. These features enable faculty to
reflect upon their engagement with the student and view the students
resulting development over time.
How does your tool address and support institutional level
assessment needs (e.g., aggregating student data and generating reports
Reflection includes a manager interface so that
faculty and staff (with the appropriate user rights) have complete
control to view and edit all student data (such as completed portfolios,
experiences, artifacts, resumes, and letters of reference).
Reflection's reporting feature provides access to all system data so
faculty/staff can generate custom reports on any data set desired.
Results can be easily exported to Excel with each line item represented
in its own Excel column. A tab in the Reflection manager interface
enables faculty/staff to view a history of the student's Skills Matrix
over a specified period of time. For example, a faculty member can
select to view the student's Skills Matrix in their freshman year, and
compare it to a snapshot of their Skills Matrix in their sophomore year.
These details are also accessible via the reporting feature.
Does your application integrate with enterprise systems? Which ones?
Do you have examples of effective integration in support of advising or
other student services you can share?
Reflection can be deployed as
a stand-alone system or as part of a larger enterprise wide system.
Symplicity itself offers a diverse enterprise product portfolio with
unique solutions to serve the various offices within student affairs.
Reflection can be integrated in to any of Symplicity's software
solutions, including the Career Services Manager (CSM) system. For
example, with a single sign-on, students can login to the institution's
Career Services Manager system and jump right in to Reflection, without
having to login to multiple systems. Students can utilize their
Reflection portfolio to apply to job opportunities within CSM. Resumes,
cover letters, and placement data (entered as experiences within the
student's Skills Matrix) can be synced between Reflection and CSM.
Symplicity has a great deal of experience offering seamless integration
with a variety of systems to make day-to- day operations much easier for
faculty and staff and enhance the student's experience as well. We
commonly integrate with student information systems (such as Banner,
Jenzebar, DataTel, Peoplesoft) to auto-fill student records, pull in
class schedules, pictures, holds, etc. We make our software even easier
to use by integrating into your portal with single-sign on or shared
authentication. We have experience with integrating with CAS,
Shibboleth, LDAP,and many other options. In support of advising, several
Symplicity systems integrate with calendaring applications (enterprise
calendars, Google, Lotus Notes, smart phone applications, etc.).
Additionally, Symplicity offers live integration via web services or
batch files to ensure your student information stays up-to-date.
What is the main strength of your application?
The main strength
of Reflection is that it is a 100% web based electronic portfolio
system that not only offers a unique faculty interface, but also offers a
student interface- both with a full suite of cutting edge tools. While
other systems may be open source and focus primarily on the needs of
either the student or the faculty, Reflection is a secure solution that
promotes collaboration between students and faculty and facilitates the
creation of portfolios for showcase, assessment, or development
18. What weaknesses have been identified relative to the user experience and shared with you?
Over the summer of 2011, we were pleased to roll out the enhanced
version of our product, Reflection 2. We're happy to report that
Reflection 2 incorporates many of the suggestions for improvements we
received from our existing and potential clients, including more layout
options for the online and pdf portfolios, social media integration, and
additional opportunities for integration with our Career Services
Please share some examples of user feedback.
(employers): (please note that New York University has branded their
Reflection system as NYUeVita): "There's more to hiring college students
than only reviewing academic performance. The best candidates have an
array of experiences outside the classroom that will add considerable
value to the organizations they join, from campus organizations to
community service. NYUeVita gives employers the ability to review these
valuable attributes in an efficient and timely manner." Ernst &
Young LLP "At Goldman Sachs, we make an unusual effort to identify and
recruit the very best person for every job. In order to find the right
people, we consider every aspect of someone's candidacy and look for the
well-rounded individual. NYUeVita allows students to highlight such
attributes as teamwork, leadership, and creativity in addition to
academic merit. NYUeVita is a unique resource available for students to
showcase all that they have to offer to prospective employers." Goldman
Sachs "NYU-Evita allows me to see the full applicant. As a Peace Corps
recruiter, I look for more than just the GPA or a previous internship.
With Evita I can see each applicant?s volunteer experience, interests
and hobbies, even club memberships. Even before the interview I
understand more about who this applicant is." Peace Corps From staff:
From students: "I really like that with NYU eVita I can have so many
different aspects of my work collected all in one place. It's great to
have something that really highlights my personality outside of the
classroom; this ePortfolio helps show who I am as a well-rounded
individual, not just who I am academically. It's also great that I can
access it almost anywhere, which I'm sure will help me in the future to
market myself as someone with a bredth of knowledge, interests,
experiences, and skills!" -- Serena, Class of 2010 " NYU eVita is a
great tool for tracking my co-curricular activities! It's the perfect
compliment to my resume as it allows me to expound upon items listed
there as well as highlight additional activities. This is a service I'll
use long after graduation!" -- Matt, Class of 2009
Please share examples of the successful use of your application to
help students achieve their goals undefined admission to graduate
school, career placement and advancement, etc.
Students can create
an unlimited number of unique portfolios that can be exported to PDF
and/or shared online. A robust portfolio created with Reflection can aid
students in taking the next step in toward their future goals, whether
it be developing a portfolio that highlights their education for use in
the graduate school admissions process, or a portfolio that was designed
to hone in on skills and experiences relevant to the requirements
contained within the posting details of the student's dream job.
What key changes or features do you plan to introduce in the near future?
the launch of the Reflection 2 system over the summer this year, we
released a great deal of enhancements to the system. We hope that our
next update we anticipate will include adding an embedded media player,
increasing the size of thumb nail images, adding a solution to simplify
the recommendation request process, and deploying an iPhone application.
System Requirements - End User:
-Reflection, along with all
Symplicity applications, is a 100% web based application requiring no
plug-ins. All clients need to use Symplicity systems are: 1. A
connection to a TCP/IP network such as the Internet with access to the
network upon which the application is running, or direct access to the
server running the application for local access. 2. A modern web browser
such as Microsoft Internet Explorer (5.5+), Netscape (6.0+), or Firefox
(1.0). Recent versions of these browsers are recommended for maximum
usability, but older versions will continue to function with slightly
reduced interface features.
System Requirements - Server:
N/A (Symplicity provides hosting
services to all clients. Reflection operates 24x7x365 in a secure
hosting facility operated by Symplicity and data center provider
Equinix. Symplicity can provide detailed hosting and security standard
documentation to interested parties upon request.
Yes, Symplicity provides secure reliable hosting.
Storage Capacity (per account):
utilizing Reflection are responsible for developing and posting their
own privacy policies for students, as Symplicity does not communicate
directly with students (we prefer not to circumvent the institution).
Symplicity and its employees, agents and subcontractors shall hold in
confidence and shall not disclose, distribute, sell, copy, share or
otherwise use in any manner any information, records or other documents
obtained by Symplicity which relate to Licensee’s students, employees,
research, development or business affairs, whether past, present or
future, except as authorized by this Agreement or authorized by Licensee
-Symplicity’s interim integration API
adheres to Standard Transaction. The web services API will meet or
exceed the following specifications: • SOAP 1.1 • WSDL 1.1 • ISO 11179
standard names, new names will be selected through cooperation of SME,
"Functional Data Expert", and Software Developers -- per Summary XML
Guidance #4 • Camel case for XML names • Avoid acronyms • No
Abbreviations • Use UPPERCASE acronyms • Detailed XML comments wherever
possible Symplicity will fully document the database schema.
Section 508 compliance:
Symplicity solutions are 508 compliant.
Designed with accessibility in mind, Reflection ensures ease of use and
efficiency for all constituents.
During the implementation phase,
Symplicity technical staff will migrate student records and class
schedules from the institution’s legacy systems to Reflection via sFTP
(secure file transfer protocol) or web service API. The API will provide
generic object access methods for any objects for which the institution
is the authoritative data source.
Systems Integration (list known):
PeopleSoft, Jenzabar, Adirondack, StarRez, RMS, Outlook, Google
Calendar, CalDav, Lotus Notes, PowerCampus, CAS, Shibboleth, :LDAP,
Luminis, Active Directory, uPortal
Accepted artifacts/media (pictures, video, audio, text, html, documents, etc.):
unlimited # of artifacts can be uploaded to the student's document
library including pictures, sound files, text, html, documents (PDF,
Word, etc.), PPT, videos. and podcasts.
About Symplicity Rapid application development. Easy to use software.
Clean and intuitive interfaces. Secure, reliable hosting. Friendly and
responsive customer service. These attributes have all made Symplicity a
pioneer in higher education, government, and business systems. For
fourteen years, Symplicity has been passionate about providing its
clients with IT solutions; services and products that enable them to
maximize productivity, increase their return on investment, and enhance
their relationships with customers and constituents. Symplicity was
formed to address the information gap that has existed between
university staff, faculty and students. Utilized by more than 1,000
institutions and over 9,000,000 students, the Symplicity moniker is
recognized for making life much simpler for students and staff.
Symplicity specializes in database driven, web-based applications,
enterprise information systems architecture and development, network
design and management, systems and software engineering, network
integration and management, information security and enterprise systems
management. Symplicity is a privately held organization headquartered in
Arlington, VA and boasts more than eighty full-time employers. The
majority of Symplicity’s employees contribute to the development and
support of Insight. Symplicity’s human and technical resources are
unmatched in the marketplace.
Customer base/size:Symplicity software is currently utilized by more than 1,000 institutions, over 9,000,000 students, and 3,000,000 employers.
Student license pricing model:At this time, Reflection is sold at the institutional level only.
Institutional pricing model:Pricing begins at $2,500 annually and is based upon the scope of deployment. Institutions should contact email@example.com to discuss their needs and a formal quote can be developed.
Post-graduate/transfer student license model:Currently, the institution determines how long the student can maintain access to their Reflection account.
Institution service agreement model:Symplicity provides a licensing agreement to all institutions.
Online support information:Symplicity provides online
user guides, help / hints within each interface, training videos
accessible online, detailed documentation (including "Cheat Sheets"),
and live training from our support staff at any time requested.
Institutional support services (Free):Symplicity will
assemble a seasoned account management team to ensure the success of
each institution's Reflection implementation. The members of the support
team are highly accomplished individuals in their respective areas.
Symplicity’s Reflection Account Management Team has led numerous
successful implementations at peer institutions of similar size with
similar processes. During the implementation and after go-live,
real-time customer support is provided by the Reflection Expert Help
Desk, which is primarily staff by former higher education professionals
with many years experience in the industry and an in-depth knowledge of
the Symplicity Reflection system. Support is delivered via telephone and
email on business days from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern Time for the
purpose of troubleshooting system problems and answering "how to”
questions regarding the configuration and proper utilization of the
application. To supplement real-time support via the Expert Help Desk,
Symplicity Project Managers reach out to client points of contact
frequently to provide updates on outstanding issues, walk through new
system enhancements, and discuss priorities for future system
development. Symplicity also offers 24x7x365 to its online Issue Tracker
for support outside normal business hours (evenings, weekends, and
holidays). Upon submitting an issue, client users are given a support
request incident number and may track the status online.
Institutional support services (Fee-based):There is not an additional fee for support.
IT staffing requirements:Reflection is completely web
based and hosted by Symplicity; we have made every effort to provide
institutions with a system that is easily customized "out-of-the-box"
without requiring hours of IT staff time. Most institutions are ready to
go live with the system within 4-6 weeks of receiving their site and
beginning training with our implementation specialists. Depending on
integration needs, IT time is minimal.