Complex Moving Parts: Assessment Systems and Electronic Portfolios

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International Journal of ePortfolio

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The largest college within an online university of over 50,000 students invested significant resources in translating a complex assessment system focused on continuous improvement and national accreditation into an effective and efficient electronic portfolio (ePortfolio). The team building the system needed a model to address problems met throughout the planning, design, and implementation of the assessment and ePortfolio systems. The team adopted the FEAT model to ensure that multiple stakeholder perspectives were an integral component of how the assessment system and ePortfolio development worked together. This model consisted of four domains: "functional" encompassed how the software tool worked and was used; "educational" reflected the desired learning as a result of system implementation; "administrative" included policies and procedures, financial and human resources, and planning necessary for project implementation; and technical included the hardware, software, and networking infrastructure necessary for ePortfolio and assessment system implementation. The researchers documented the types of problems encountered in the process, the problem solvers involved, strategies used, and actions implemented. The researchers concluded that evaluating system development is more informative if a systemic approach is used to examine the interdependent relationships among the FEAT model domains that influence the overall system maturity.