My educational research explores how students learn to think critically and reflexively, how they transfer knowledge from one context to another, and how that learning can lead to responsible citizenship.  Currently, I am examining how electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) can be used for this purpose.  Electronic portfolios are an archive of one’s work, achievements, ideas, thoughts and feelings which reflect an individual’s intellectual, emotional and social developments- in essence they are a document of an individual’s learning over time. Having students create an ePortfolio supports a holistic approach to learning which moves students beyond simply attaining a grade in a course to being able to clearly articulate what they have learned and to identify areas for improvement or further learning. This approach implies that students will reflect on their own learning and by doing so, will be able to better integrate their various learning experiences.  I have studied this in the context of my history, sexual ethics, and transition classrooms. These projects are part of a larger initiative that I developed on the University of Waterloo campus to use ePortfolios in a variety of disciplines and I am working collaboratively with other colleagues doing similar research.[1] I continue to be interested in how various learning technologies can improve student learning (learning objects and beyond) and will continue to explore the ability of new tools, particularly in the Web 2.0 context, to engage students.


[1] See Helen L. Chen and Tracy Penny Light, Electronic Portfolios and Student Success: Effectiveness, Affordability, and Efficiency, Washington: AAC&U, 2010; Penny Light, Tracy, Bob Sproule and Katherine Lithgow, “Connecting Contexts and Competencies: Using ePortfolios for Integrative Learning,” in Darren Cambridge, Barbara Cambridge and Kathleen Yancey (eds.), Electronic Portfolios 2.0: Emergent Research on Implementation and Impact, Stylus Publishing, 2009; Tosh, David, Ben Werdmuller, Helen Chen, Tracy Penny Light and Jeff Haywood, “The Learning Landscape: A Conceptual Framework for E-Portfolios,” in Ali Jafari (ed.), Handbook of Research on Electronic Portfolios Information Science Reference, 2006; Tosh, David, Tracy Penny Light Kele Fleming and Jeff Haywood, “Student engagement, a key in e-portfolio development: A Collaborative Approach to Investigating Student Perspectives of ePortfolio use in Higher Education,” Canadian Journal of Learning Technology, 31, 3 (Fall 2005).