By Emily Cook, TLS staff writer

In a course about performance excellence, cuPortfolio brings perspective, reflection, and a dynamic workspace in which to express them both.

In Prof. Matthew Sorley’s third-year course, Sport and Performance Psychology, students use cuPortfolio to design a psychological skills training plan. Over the course of the term, Sorley also incorporates a series of lead up assignments, allowing students to practice various techniques and receive feedback.

“cuPortfolio is very important for me because students really get to document their learning throughout the entire term,” he says.

Since incorporating cuPortfolio into his course, Sorley says he’s found that students are tremendously engaged by the opportunity to create dynamic online multimedia spaces and indulge their creative side.

“They are used to working in a multimedia online space and this is just another way in which they can share the results of their learning, where they can collaborate with their colleagues in a number of exciting and meaningful ways,” he says.

cuPortfolio helps students keep a long-term perspective and exhibit a greater sense of ownership over their learning, Sorley says. He adds that the tool helps students organize their assignments in one place, while at the same time giving him clear elements to assess on the rubric. Plus, the portfolios are not tied to the course, so students can take their work with them.

“This really is a space that they can use to document evidence of their learning, so they can show to others, they can share with others, and really be able to demonstrate, ‘Here’s what I can do,’” he says.

Reflection is a critical element to Sorley’s course, and he says that in using cuPortfolio, the reflections are deeper and more meaningful. However, it’s important that the process of reflection is guided and specific, Sorley says.

“Reflection might not be something that the students are comfortable doing. It might not be something that they are skilled to do,” he says. “So it’s my responsibility to guide them through the process and to regard reflection as a process.”

To get buy-in from his students to learn a new technology, Sorley says he needed to make sure students appreciated the opportunity to create a dynamic and creative online media space, and that there would be ample support along the way.

Sorley’s advice to instructors interested in cuPortfolio is the same: understanding and support. Understand what others are doing and find support for students, and yourself. In the latter, he says the Educational Development Centre is a key resource.

“There’s a bit of a spirit of adventure in using a platform such as this,” he says. “You can’t be afraid to try. You can’t be afraid to experiment and play.”

To find out more about Sorley’s experience with cuPortfolio, watch the full interview below. You can also watch interviews with other instructors on the cuPortfolio instructor peer support site.

Below is a list of time codes related to the start of a new question in the video. You can jump to a new topic by moving the video time bar to the respective time codes.

 – What value did cuPortfolio add to your course?
3:37 – How do you assess student ePortfolios?
4:28 – Do you use reflection in the ePortfolio assignments for you course?
5:34 – How do you encourage students to engage in deep reflection?
6:15 – Did you experience any challenges when integrating cuPortfolio into your course?
7:57 – What advice do you have for an instructor who is thinking about using cuPortfolio in their teaching?
9:03 – What factors do you think helped you meet success when teaching with cuPortfolio?

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