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2013 Plenary: Tracy Penny Light
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2013 AAEEBL ePortfolio Conference

The ePortfolio Field Coming of Age: Knowledge, Research and Practice

August 1
Thursday Closing Plenary
Tracy Penny Light

10:45 am - 12:00 pm
(Session #TH93)

Moving Forward, Looking Back:
ePortfolios, Knowledge Creation and the Transformation of Higher Education

Tracy Penny Light, Ph.D.,
Director, Women's Studies
University of Waterloo

Students today face growing pressure to pursue higher education in order to prepare for a career and there is a growing perception that higher education is not adequately addressing this pressure. Yet if we look at the goals of a liberal arts education, we see that it is positioned to engage students in developing disciplinary knowledge as well as a wide set of transferable skills that can be used in the workplace. These abilities are what AAC&U argues are essential for the 21st century.

Deep learning and knowledge transfer have been the hallmark of the ePortfolio movement; ePortfolios allow students to document their learning, create new knowledge, and transfer that learning to different contexts. As we move forward with our work, we need to be intentional about the ways that this pedagogical approach problematizes recent suggestions that higher education, particularly studies in the liberal arts, do not provide students adequate career preparation. We have evidence to the contrary in the many student examples that demonstrate that this is not the case.

In this talk, I argue that we need to use the evidence of student learning and knowledge transfer that exists in ePortfolios to challenge discourses that suggest that what we do in higher education is not helpful to students who are seeking careers. We have a key role to play in shifting the dialogue away from "education for a career” to "transforming student learning to make change in the world.” We do have the power to transform higher education with ePortfolios and we have a duty to share what we know with our students and to empower them to develop their abilities in order to take responsibility for their role in our rapidly changing world.

Tracy Penny LIght - plenary presenters at AAEEBL 2013 ePortfolio Conference

Tracy Penny Light, Ph.D.

Director, Women's Studies
University of Waterloo

Tracy Penny Light is an award-winning teacher who has used eportfolios to engage her students since 2004. She regularly delivers workshops and consults with campuses on eportfolio implementation and is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for AAEEBL. She has coauthored two books on eportfolio implementation including Electronic Portfolios and Student Success with Helen L. Chen and Documenting Learning with ePortfolios: A Guide for College Instructors with Helen L. Chen and John Ittelson.


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