Annual fees up $16 to fund digital portfolios

This year, the University of Alaska Anchorage will roll out the ePortfolio, an electronic portfolio that enables users to store all of their coursework. Starting next fall, students and faculty will be given the tools to keep all past academic work in one online space.

Paul Wasko, who has worked with similar ePortfolio projects in the past, is the lead behind the project.

“This work has gone better with more enthusiasm that any other effort I have been involved in with higher education in the last 12 years,” he said.

Wasko leads an advisory committee that reflects the university, with membership including English professor Heather Caldwell and a current student from UAA, which enables input from a student’s perspective.

Getting the ePortfolio project initiated was a gradual process. First, students’ needs were assessed at UAA. The next step of the process was to find which program was the best at addressing those needs.

Caldwell said UAA signed a contract with Digication, which will be the provider for the ePortfolio system. Digication is a provider for more than 5,000 K-12 schools throughout the United States.

“The system is very user-friendly for anyone beginning to use Digication,” Caldwell said.

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Paul Wasko said that the Digication system was not only the cheapest on the market, but it fulfilled all of the assessed student needs as well.

When asked about this new ePortfolio project, UAA student Olivia Steiner answered enthusiastically: “I’m so excited for it! … It’s about time we had something to keep track of all our college work all in one place.”

Steiner is working on her bachelor of science degree, and she hopes the ePortfolio will propel her college career even further.

The ePortfolio system will be funded by an $8-per-semester flat fee, which means each student will pay $16 total each academic year. A possibility of a digital media lab is in the works, which allows students to use technology to create video, audio and other multimedia elements for their ePortfolios. The media lab would be part of the UAA Learning Resource Center. The media lab would be funded by an additional $12 flat fee — $24 per academic year.

The media lab and portfolio will be exclusively for UAA. Top colleges such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton currently already utilize the ePortfolio. Wasko hopes to see ePortfolio success carry across the entire University of Alaska system.

The ePortfolio is already being used by a small amount of students and staff, and the rollout to all 20,000 student and 15,000 faculty members will be slated for this fall. Will you be showcasing your work for the new digital age?