TaskStream site on the Web
Archived TaskStream webinar recorded 2/8/12 -- With thanks to Patricia Donohue at ePortfolio California.
TaskStream presentation from 2/8/12 (download PDF)
See example of professional eportfolio by Ashley Kehoe at Loyola on the AAEEBL Showcase page -- Click on Ashley Kehoe.
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 board capabilities.
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 preferences.
We anticipate a wide and diverse community audience, many of which will be educational leaders concerned with the administration of their institutions.
How does your tool address and support institutional level assessment needs (e.g., aggregating student data and generating reports for accreditation)?
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 testing lab.
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: http://www.taskstream.com/pub/VPAT.asp.
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 time.
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 support.
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 organizations.
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: http://www.taskstream.com/pub/SubscriptionRates.asp.
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: http://www.taskstream.com/main/admin/eusa/Subscription_Agreement.asp.
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 more.
Institutional support services (Free):
TaskStream provides unlimited implementation consulting, online training, and ongoing user support to all Higher Education users at no additional charge.
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.