TaskStream site on the Web
Archived TaskStream webinar recorded 2/8/12 -- With thanks to Patricia Donohue at ePortfolio California.
TaskStream Presentation can be downloaded below (PDF)
The following questions are a compilation of the needs and
concerns identified in an informal polling of eportfolio community
members during spring 2011. The answers are the vendor's responses.
What vision or understanding of learning informed the design of your tool?
Fundamentally, TaskStream is grounded in constructivism and we have
focused much of our development on an outcomes-based approach to
learning and assessment. Based on our experience over the years, we have
witnessed the importance of measurement and feedback to encourage
learners to engage in portfolio activities. Once students see the value
of taking ownership of their own learning by organizing and synthesizing
their work and reflections, their intrinsic motivation increases and
they are able to benefit more fully from the experience. As such, we
believe that learning is a process that involves feedback and reflection
in order to engage fully in the learning activity and to integrate new
concepts with pre-existing knowledge and experience.
We feel that it is important to communicate to learners the intended
goals or outcomes of a learning event and how it will be determined
whether or not they have achieved those outcomes. We also believe that
students learn best by doing and, as a result, should be given the
opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through
performance tasks and other more authentic means of assessment.
That said, however, because we work with hundreds of clients with varied
needs and philosophies, we have designed our tools to be flexible so as
to support a variety of learning theories and approaches.
How does your vision of learning promote a student-centered approach to education? (e.g. student ownership of his/her learning)
Our vision of learning is learner-centered. By clearly defining and
communicating learning goals to students, as well as clear indicators of
achievement levels via rubrics, students are better able to assess
their own knowledge and skills. Further, when they are able to easily
refer back to past work products and reflections from previous
coursework and other activities, they are able to track their growth
over time and identify areas in which they may still need additional
guidance and support.
Does your tool allow students to control permissions? Can they share
with people outside of the institution? How? (e.g., advisor,
prospective employer, etc.).
Yes, students can control permissions to their portfolios. They can
share with individuals outside of the institution by publishing their
portfolios to the web and, optionally, setting password protection. They
can also download their portfolios to their computer.
What is the process for inviting feedback on work or artifacts?
TaskStream offers a variety of methods for inviting feedback on work
or artifacts in order to meet different needs. For example, students can
request feedback from individuals with reviewer permissions for a
particular section of their portfolio or their portfolio overall or they
can submit work for formal evaluation by assigned evaluators (e.g.,
teachers, faculty, instructors). Depending on the chosen method for
soliciting feedback, the feedback can take various forms, including:
text comments, provisional scores and comments at a rubric criterion
level, overall scores and comments, or responses to custom form items.
Describe how your tool promotes and supports student-to-student collaboration.
Just as students can request feedback from faculty with reviewer
permissions, they can request comments from peers if students are
designated as reviewers within the learning community. Students can also
be encouraged to communicate with peers via the system’s discussion
Describe how your tool promotes and supports student-to-faculty collaboration.
See responses above
How does your tool support and encourage the reflection process for students and faculty?
TaskStream provides a variety of means for educators to encourage the
reflection process. For example, faculty or administrators can create
specific reflection requirements with directions to provide guidance and
resources at key points in a learning progression or interspersed
throughout a portfolio template. Or, they can create online forms with
guiding questions and prompts to facilitate reflective practice.
Students and faculty can also utilize TaskStream’s comprehensive
standards and outcomes database to prompt self-reflection against
identified goals. TaskStream does not constrain the reflection process
to specific tools or features – students and faculty can use the tools
within the system for reflection as appropriate to their needs and
We anticipate a wide and diverse community audience, many of which will
be educational leaders concerned with the administration of their
How does your tool address and support institutional level
assessment needs (e.g., aggregating student data and generating reports
TaskStream provides a flexible infrastructure for collecting
artifacts of student learning, evaluating those artifacts with rubrics
and forms – or entering data for non-artifact-based assessments (e.g.,
observations) – and generating reports on the data gathered in the
process. Rubric criteria can be aligned with institutional goals,
program outcomes, accreditation standards, and other competencies for
quick reporting by goal, outcome, standard, or competency.
Templates for collecting and evaluating student work are not restricted
by course, program, etc. – they can be used at any level, providing a
means for conducting programmatic and cross-departmental assessments.
For example, some institutions use TaskStream to collect common General
Education assignments across multiple courses and programs and to assess
that work using common rubrics. Using TaskStream in this way, data can
be aggregated for institutional reporting and analysis and used to
inform continuous improvement efforts at multiple levels.
In addition to providing powerful reporting capabilities with a number
of easy-to-generate reports for data analysis (including the ability to
examine inter-rater reliability for work scored by multiple assessors),
TaskStream offers user-friendly tools for building electronic exhibit
rooms in order to share reports and findings with external stakeholders,
such as accrediting agencies. TaskStream also offers another platform,
the Accountability Management System (AMS), for managing institutional
assessment and strategic planning activities. The two systems can be
used separately or in conjunction with each other.
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?
Yes. We are continually expanding the TaskStream Integration Services
offerings to provide additional options for sharing data between
TaskStream and other systems. In addition to specific integrations with
Blackboard, Campus Cruiser, and Turnitin, we offer a number of generic
methods for integrating with other systems, including multiple options
for single sign-on integration, and data importing and exporting, using
both batch and real-time methods for exchange. The TaskStream
DataExchange (TSDE) offers a comprehensive solution for institutions
wishing to incorporate data from any other enterprise system into the
TaskStream environment through an easy-to-user interface for data
mapping. We have clients that have successfully utilized our web
services and event-driven transactions to exchange data in real-time
with their enterprise systems in order to monitor student achievement
and faculty activity.
What is the main strength of your application?
Key strengths that our users have communicated to us include:
- ease of use – reducing the need for student and faculty training
and support and making it possible to get up and running quickly
- flexibility of the tools – making it possible to support a variety of workflows and meet differing needs
- reporting capabilities – offering a number of sophisticated reports with rich filtering options)
- scalability – making it possible to meet the needs of large
communities of users and to easily expand usage (e.g., from one school
or department to institution-wide).
What weaknesses have been identified relative to the user experience and shared with you?
At TaskStream, we are continually enhancing our tools and offering
new features and functionality in response to user feedback. Generally,
the feedback that we receive is quite positive and represents
suggestions for improving our offerings, as opposed to fixing problems.
Some clients have identified a desire for greater automation in the
system, particularly when it comes to managing assessment activities
(e.g., assigning students to assessors). We have begun to offer new
features and enhancements to meet these needs and are continuing our
work in this area.
As for user experience more specifically, in addition to continually
monitoring user satisfaction with the tools, we recently conducted an
extensive usability study and upgrade of the system’s interface. The
upgrade addressed concerns expressed by our user community and greatly
streamlined the process for completing work within the system. Following
the upgrade, we received a great deal of positive feedback, praising
the changes that we made.
Please share some examples of user feedback.
In addition to the examples noted above, we continually receive
feedback about the outstanding quality of the support that we provide to
our users (e.g., faculty, administrators, students). Our clients
express great appreciation for our courteous, professional, and
knowledgeable team, and praise TaskStream’s extraordinary responsiveness
to their needs.
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.
Because the TaskStream tools are highly flexible, able to meet varied
needs, and provide a record of evidence of learning that students can
readily access and share, they are used extensively to help students
achieve their goals for graduate admission, career placement, etc. For
example, a large number of teacher preparation communities in California
utilize TaskStream to implement the state-mandated teaching performance
assessment required to enter the teaching profession in California.
Teacher candidates use TaskStream to build their portfolios and submit
their performance tasks to certified assessors for scoring as they seek
their teaching credentials. As another example, K-12 principals use
TaskStream to pursue professional certification from the National Board
for Professional Teaching Standards for career advancement purposes.
More generally, students often maintain their subscription to TaskStream
in order to continue building their portfolios for career and further
education pursuits. Countless TaskStream subscribers have created
portfolios to showcase their accomplishments and communicate their
professional philosophies when pursuing career opportunities.
Additionally, some institutions have reported using TaskStream for
faculty tenure and promotion activities. Many of our users have
commented on the ease with which they have been able to create
portfolios for different audiences, including potential employers and
school admissions officers.
What key changes or features do you plan to introduce in the near future?
As you might imagine, our future development schedule is confidential
information; however, we can share some of our vision for continued
growth in the near-term. For one, we believe that the ability to
integrate with other systems on campus will become increasingly
important for e-portfolio systems as more campuses look towards using
portfolios for institutional-wide learning and assessment. As such, we
are continuing our work in Integration Services to expand our offerings
for real-time integration with other systems. As always, we will
continue to focus on the experience for all users and plan to
incorporate enhanced student tools to improve collaboration,
self-assessment and group work. We are also currently working on
enhancing the options available for working with video in the system and
will be offering greater options for customizing the style and
presentation of portfolios.
System Requirements End User:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and above
Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and above
Google Chrome 4.0 and above
Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and above
Apple Safari 4.0 and above
Google Chrome 5.0 and above
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 and above
Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and above
Google Chrome 4.1 and above
Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and above
Apple Safari 5.0 and above
System Requirements Server:
N/A. TaskStream is available as Software as a Service (SaaS).
Yes. As an additional benefit of TaskStream providing Software as a
Service, we support the database and various other servers ourselves
and, as such, our clients do not need to be concerned with database
platforms, version numbers, installation issues, OS compatibility (just
browser compatibility) and various other backend issues. TaskStream
bears the responsibility of maintaining, upgrading, extending, backing
up, and archiving the system. Furthermore, we test the software
extensively and across a variety of platforms in our own internal
Our web farm is collocated at a Tier 1 facility that has fiber
cross-connect with all of the major Tier 1 ISP providers. It is manned
24 x 7 and customer access requires both magnetic and biometric scans to
gain entry; cabinets are locked and anonymous. The facility provides
backup power in the event of a blackout. The backup database is
synchronized and we have both onsite and offsite file and database
backup systems in place that synchronize data on a near real-time
schedule. TaskStream’s infrastructure is supported by a high
performance, high capacity, scalable I/O SAN that maintains full
redundancy across every component. In addition to meeting
industry-standard security protocols, we have built proprietary file and
data security systems to prevent access to private data.
Storage Capacity (per account):
The current default storage limit has recently been expanded to 2GB per
account for all learning and assessment activities in the system;
however, this limit can be easily modified to suit the needs of the
individual or the learning community.
We adhere to best practices in all aspects of our business and address all applicable standards.
Section 508 compliance:
At TaskStream, we are committed to making our tools accessible for all
users, including people with disabilities. Our tools comply with Federal
Section 508 guidelines and W3C WCAG recommendations in all material
aspects. Our complete Accessibility statement can be found here:
Yes. TaskStream has APIs for single sign-on and web services.
As mentioned previously, portfolios can be downloaded to a local
computer. All files are packaged in a .ZIP or .SIT (Macintosh) format.
All reports generated in TaskStream can be exported to Excel and all
assessment and transaction data can be exported to XML.
Systems Integration (list known):
Accepted artifacts/media (pictures, video, audio, text, html, documents, etc.):
TaskStream supports text and HTML input, as well as all types of digital
file attachments (e.g., photos, video, audio, documents).
TaskStream is a privately held, limited liability company
headquartered in New York, NY. For over a decade, TaskStream has been
successfully providing the highest quality Web-based software and
supporting services to help ensure that students are learning the
knowledge and skills they need and to effect continuous educational
improvement. We are the largest provider of e-portfolio and assessment
management solutions and work with educators at all levels throughout
the learning network – from K-12 to higher education to continued
education and professional development in the workforce.
Our technology empowers educators to document, organize, and manage
assessment processes; systematically address accreditation requirements;
develop, assess and manage e-portfolios; manage field placements,
internships and other remote educational experiences; easily and
reliably administer surveys; use outcomes-based assessment data to
demonstrate effectiveness and effect change; and, ultimately, promote
continuous improvement throughout their organizations.
With our user-friendly e-portfolio tools, students are able to build
media-rich online portfolios showcasing their learning achievements that
they can share with peers, instructors, parents, and employers; submit
documents, projects and other assignments to instructors for feedback
and assessment; maintain portable samples of work products and
accomplishments even after they graduate; and encourage growth over
Subscribers interact directly with TaskStream's servers in the "cloud,"
accessing our software anytime and anywhere they have an Internet
connection. The secure and scalable online environment requires no
installation of hardware or software and no special technical staff.
Perhaps most importantly, at TaskStream, we serve as true partners in
the process for implementing solutions and are there to support our
clients at every step of the way with unlimited training and world-class
TaskStream is the largest provider of e-portfolio and assessment
management solutions. We work with learning communities of all sizes,
including: individual learners and educators; K-12 schools, districts,
and states; college and university programs and departments; individual
colleges and universities; state university systems; and national
Student license pricing model:
Students can purchase accounts for varying subscription lengths – from
as short as one semester (five months) up to six years. The pricing can
be found on our website here:
Institutional pricing model:
Institutional pricing is based on the student pricing outlined above,
depending on the number of student users. With the exception of optional
integration services and premium features, the institution does not
incur any additional fees.
Postgraduate/transfer student license model:
Students can maintain their accounts on an individual basis
post-graduation at the standard subscriber rate, posted here:
http://www.taskstream.com/pub/SubscriptionRates.asp. Further, if
students move to a new learning community that uses TaskStream, their
accounts can be easily added to the new community without any disruption
to service or access to their work.
Institution service agreement model:
Institutions must sign TaskStream’s Organization Subscription Agreement.
The standard agreement can be found here:
Online support information:
TaskStream’s Mentoring Services team is available to provide online
support on an unlimited basis to all users (e.g., students, faculty,
administrators) via online meetings and email. The team conducts
regular, scheduled webinars on various features within the system and is
available to provide as many custom online training sessions as
desired. All training sessions and webinars can be recorded and made
available for users within the learning community. All users also have
access to a comprehensive, searchable online help system that includes
detailed user guides that can be save offline. Additionally, Mentoring
Services provides unlimited toll-free telephone support to all users.
The TaskStream Collaboration Exchange WebCast series offers the
opportunity for all interested parties (clients and the general public)
to learn from best practices at other organizations. This complimentary
series features presentations by TaskStream client institutions, thought
leaders, policy makers, and other educational experts. It features
topics of interest to the greater TaskStream community and others
seeking solutions for e-portfolios, outcomes assessment, and
accreditation, including: effective strategies for implementing
e-portfolios institution-wide, developing and implementing strategic
plans, engaging faculty and students in outcomes assessment activities,
scaling the use of formative and summative performance assessments, and
Institutional support services (Free):
TaskStream provides unlimited implementation consulting, online
training, and ongoing user support to all Higher Education users at no
Institutional support services (Fee-based):
TaskStream does not charge for any support services associated with the
technical operation and maintenance of the software. We offer
integration services and premium features for an additional charge. We
do not charge extra for support services, with the sole exception of
on-site training, for which we charge a daily fee per trainer.
IT staffing requirements:
Because TaskStream offers hosted Software as a Service (SaaS), we
provide and manage all aspects of the technology infrastructure
necessary to utilize our services. We assume all technical support of
the software; there is no requirement for local IT staff support to
manage the system.