Portland State University’s Collaborative Research in the International Journal of ePortfolio

Tuesday 5th December 2023

Portland, Oregon – December 5 2023 — PebblePad, the award-winning learning journey platform, is pleased to announce a collaborative research effort with Portland State University (PSU), which has resulted in the publication of a research article in the International Journal of ePortfolio.


The research article titled “Leveraging a Campus Equity Walkthrough Evaluation (CEWE) ePortfolio to Assess First-Year Students’ Equity-Minded Learning and Campus Belonging” highlights the significant impact of using the CEWE ePortfolio framework to evaluate and enhance first-year students’ experiences and their sense of equity-minded learning and campus belonging.


The study, authored by Dr. Óscar Fernández, Andrew F. Lawrence from Portland State University, and Dr. Melissa Shaquid Pirie and Dr. Gail Ring from PebblePad, explores the transformative potential of ePortfolios in assessing first-year students’ equity-mindedness and their perspectives on campus belonging. This research is especially timely as it addresses the vital issue of campus equity and the role of technology in supporting students’ holistic development.


Key findings from the research include:


Revised definitions of equity and equality: Before completing the CEWE, students primarily defined equality and equity interchangeably, rooted in concepts of fairness. The study found that the CEWE ePortfolio framework contributed to a nuanced understanding of equity as distinct from equality, a significant shift in students’ definitions.

Surprising discoveries: Students expressed surprise at the diversity and breadth of on-campus student resources available to them, enhancing their sense of inclusion and highlighting the importance of understanding and utilizing these resources.

Identification of racialized structures: Students participating in the study identified racialized structures and practices on campus, developing their capacity for self-reflection and enhancing their awareness of the impact of these structures on campus belonging.


This research indicates that the CEWE ePortfolio framework can serve as a powerful tool to enhance students’ sense of belonging and their understanding of equity-minded learning. These findings are critical for educators, university leaders, and anyone involved in ePortfolio design and critical pedagogies, as they emphasize the importance of technology in fostering a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.


Dr. Gail Ring, Director of North American Partnerships and our Implementation Specialist Dr. Melissa Shaquid Pirie share, “Oscar’s early and ongoing dedication to equity allowed for him to hone in on aspects of equity in and around ePortfolio curriculum that have largely been unexplored in both literature and practice. To be working in the realm of ePortfolios for 20 years and to uncover this important facet of what we can and do accomplish with reflective practice anchored in equity was both inspiring and a reminder that the extreme flexibility of the ePortfolio keeps it at the very top of our high impact practice list. While the literature has described essential academic, professional, and personal learning associated with creating ePortfolios, there is less understanding of how ePortfolios assist users in documenting their knowledge of equity-mindedness on campus—the missing “e” in ePortfolio.”


The research article is available for public access in the International Journal of ePortfolio, Volume 13, Number 1. 


About PebblePad


PebblePad is a leading online Learning Journey Platform dedicated to helping educators deliver student-centred learning experiences and cultivate future-ready graduates. Beyond its role as a powerful eportfolio platform, PebblePad offers sophisticated tools to support a diverse range of teaching and learning processes. It addresses gaps in integrative and experiential learning & assessment that traditional Learning Management Systems and eportfolios cannot bridge. PebblePad’s unique set of feedback and assessment capabilities further enriches its feature set. The platform is successfully transforming the learning landscape at universities worldwide, including more than 30 of the top-ranked global universities.


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