Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
As an edited volume with twelve chapters covering four main areas of ePortfolio systematic adoption in higher education and beyond, this book is very comprehensive. It covers the theories that inform ePortfolio adoption, as in Kathleen Yancey's chapter "Postmodernism, Palimpsest, and Portfolios," and practical examples from higher education (e.g., "What are you going to do with that major?" by Johnson and Kahn) and beyond (e.g., "From Metaphor to Analogy: How the National Museum for the American Indian can inform the Augusta Community Portfolio"). This text does not cover specific technologies, but its comprehensiveness covers a wide range of educational and pedagogical contexts into which ePortfolios can be worked significantly.
Accuracy rating: 5
The edited volume is full of individual perspectives and experiences from a wide variety of educational contexts. In that, this reviewer assumes the accuracy of the described experiences. I would not call this an unbiased volume, but the editors declare their bias in their opening description: "this collection of essays from knowledgeable scholars and practitioners of ePortfolios helps foster increased understanding of intersections between ePortfolio composing, presentation, and assessment in the academy and workplace, including ideas for embracing electronic performance support systems." In other words, the viable success of a portfolio process is not questioned or argued within this volume; instead, the volume focuses on practical applications where ePortfolios can help to sustain and promote learning.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
The editors seem to have intentionally chosen chapters that did not focus on specific technologies, which would require frequent updates and revisions. Instead, in focusing on four pedagogical strategies -- systematic performance support systems, constructing a bridge (between academia, personal experience, community and career), presenting interactive designs, and authentic assessment tools and knowledge transfer -- their text should remain relevant to any group studying systematic eportfolio adoption. As more and more institutions consider large-scale approaches to eportfolio, this text should become only more relevant.
Clarity rating: 4
Different chapters are different in this respect. Some of the chapters are heavy on the literary, social, and educational theory; others are more experientially based. None of the chapters are indecipherable, however, as they all rely on specific examples and documented research to frame their discussions.
Consistency rating: 4
There is a remarkable amount of consistency within the different sections of the book. As stated before, however, there are different authors for each of the chapters, and some do refer to assessment strategies differently and do have different interpretations of an ePortfolio within their own contexts. Each chapter certainly seems consistent within itself, and examining the text as a whole does give a fairly broad, consistent look at the portfolio discipline.
Modularity rating: 5
This text is easily subdivided as each chapter is a stand-alone essay examining ePortfolios in a particular context. Each of the four sections contain three essays helping to frame a larger discussion about their specific topic and could easily serve as a point for breaking up the text into key eportfolio discussion topics from varying perspectives.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
As mentioned, the four divided sections in the text do provide a good organization for the text that focuses on pedagogical strategy and context rather than a specific technological function. Within each section, there are three essays that seem to build in complexity of context often, though each entry in a section provides a stand-alone essay on ePortfolios in a specific context. There is no commentary connecting the different essays, the volume's Introduction, written by the editors does give a brief overview and connective lens by which to view the separate chapters.
Interface rating: 5
There were no detectable issues I could find with the interface. The PDF was easy to read and images/charts were of high enough quality to see.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I saw no obvious editing or grammatical errors in the text.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
This book does not deal specifically with cultural context, though one article in particular (Darren Cambridge's chapter on the Augusta Community Portfolio) does delve into this topic directly. The authors of the various chapters handle their topics without any offensive assumptions that I could see. The examples from student work were drawn from a variety of cultural and gender backgrounds.
This text would be useful to you if you are teaching a course on authentic assessment or innovative instructional technologies. In addition, if you are planning a portfolio approach in any course you are teaching, there are many good examples and resources in the text to draw from.
Full disclosure: the author of this review was a co-author of one of the chapters. However, even if you ignore the tweltfh chapter, the other eleven are well worth the reading!