Date of Award

7-16-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Gian S. Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Bryna Siegel Finer, Ph.D.

Abstract

This qualitative case study explores the implementation of ePortfolios by writing teachers in Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools. A constructivist approach is used as a theoretical framework for designing the study and for understanding the function of ePortfolios in writing classes. This exploration of the use of ePortfolios for teaching and assessing writing examines the emerging benefits and challenges of its use in writing classes. The study further explores the experiences of writing teachers with using ePortfolios for assessment. The study is based on the results of seventy-nine surveys and seven interviews. The collected data is analyzed using a coding system and NVivo qualitative data analysis software. The results of the study demonstrate the importance of providing writing teachers with professional training on the use of ePortfolios in their teaching practice in order to decrease resistance among these teachers. The data further indicates the benefits of retaining a single software for using ePortfolios, rather than switching to new software after users have gained expertise in its implementation and use. Also, analysis of the data pointed to the importance of having shared syllabi and writing assignments. These strategies are shown to be effective for developing ePortfolio ownership among students, and raising awareness of the value and purpose of using ePortfolios for writing and assessment. Collectively, writing teachers use ePortfolios to track their students' writing progress and to engage in effective communication, provide feedback, and display artifacts for assessment. After exploring the implementation of ePortfolios by writing teachers in PASSHE schools, there is a need to conduct studies to explore the use of ePortfolios in the following areas: * The use of ePortfolios for learners with disabilities to examine if ePortfolios support their learning and the methods teachers would use to help this student population. * The use of ePortfolios in literature courses to explore students and teachers experience with ePortfolios, types of assignments, and how to over emerging challenges. * The use of ePortfolios in some programs such as M.A. TESOL and Composition and TESOL (C&T) in the English department as alternative tool to the C&T paper-based Qualitative Portfolios and as alternative to the M.A. TESOL non-thesis track. * The use of ePortfolios to evaluate general education where students' paper-based portfolios are used to evaluate certain programs in the English department.

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