Student Centered Learning


I chose to read an article concerning the use of portfolios to create a student-centered classroom. You can find the article here. The courses I teach at Red River College are illustration and graphic design related, so the idea of portfolios is nothing new. Students must submit an entrance portfolio for admission to the Digital Media Design program, and after two or three years of study, they create a “senior portfolio” of their best work. This second portfolio is instrumental in getting a job in their chosen field. So, portfolios are a point of focus in the program. However, I wonder if there is a way they could be used more effectively to create a better student-centered learning environment.

Aside from the entrance portfolio, which is a “showcase portfolio,” much of the work created during my courses are presented in some form of an “evaluation portfolio.” I would like to incorporate some elements of a “growth portfolio” that allows the students to track, or reflect on their own development and achievements. I would also like to keep the amount of effort required to create the growth portfolios to a minimum, as the students have a heavy course load to contend with–time and energy are at a premium.

The article, has thorough list of elements that should be considered during the planning phase of portfolio development. Students are marked on a portfolio of work, that is developed over several assignments, in each of my courses. Each assignment has it’s own rubric. I would like to create an opportunity for student reflection near the end of the course. An opportunity for students to reflect on their progress during the term–what work they were most interested in and satisfied with, among other things. I wonder if a combination of Growth portfolio and a self-evaluation portfolio, with some element of student feedback about the courses would be viable and helpful to the students and to myself.

The development of this new type of portfolio might be presented as a small, end of term assignment for 10 marks or so, and follow the format of a short answer take-home quiz. The idea behind the portfolio/assignment would be to encourage students to think critically about their own work and learning experiences, and to hopefully take a another step along the path to metacognition. It might also provide me with some useful feedback for tweaking course material and teaching methods.


1 Comment

  1. Chris,
    I agree with you on the portfolio as a vehicle to get the students a job, however, it can also be used as a student centric device.
    I incorporate this in my course, I teach Manufacturing CAD and we use the best assignments to allow the students to “dissect” what was done well and what can be improved. We need to get consent from the students before critiquing begins, however, this becomes a means for them to stand out and show pride in their work.
    At the end of the year we have the month long CAPSTONE project which displays the level of competency the students have gained. I do not assign anything, but let them decide what to design.
    I become their mentor and advisor. They also interact with each other to garner ideas from their peers.
    The final outcome is a presentation at the end of the year to which they are fully responsible to create. As preparation for this presentation, they present to themselves in the class and I just sit back and proudly watch.

    This is what make my job so enjoyable and rewarding.


    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s