Back to Page Authors: Iman Saad El Din Nahla

Keywords: portfolios, e-portfolios, Arabic L2 learners, writing

Abstract: Portfolios, in general, have since long, been widely used across various disciplines. They are defined as a collection of facts and proofs that are collected throughout a person’s journey through learning over time and are used to demonstrate their ability and competences. Portfolios are classified according to their types and their purposes. This paper focuses on reflective portfolios. Reflective portfolios are self-directed, flexible, and hence can be used for many purposes. They can be used to demonstrate the learning that takes place over time and, in addition, with formative and summative assessment procedures. Specifically, this paper focuses on using electronic portfolios with learners of Arabic as a foreign language (AFL). E-portfolios are digital containers capable of storing different elements such as visual and auditory content including text, images, video and sound, that are specifically designed to support a variety of pedagogical processes and assessment purposes. This paper presents a project carried out with elementary AFL students. The purpose of the project was primarily to encourage students to reflect on their own learning and become lifelong learners. In addition, it is a tool for the teacher to use for alternative assessment. Portfolios provide an alternative form of assessment that can be used with students or teachers in different forms as summative or formative assessment tool. To develop the e-portfolios, a framework was adopted which consists of the following steps: 1. Defining and clarifying the scope and purpose of the e-portfolios; 2. Creating a flowchart that will give a visual representation and illustration of different e-portfolio aspects (e.g. sequence, organization, navigation) of the content of the e-portfolio; 3. Creating or selecting artifacts that represent the items defined in the flowchart; 4. Positioning the artifacts onto the e-portfolio system; 5. Publishing the e-portfolio. As mentioned earlier, this is an ongoing project that will be completed by the end of the Spring semester. Findings of this project will be included upon its completion. The paper will address the challenges which students and teacher faced during the process of creating e-portfolios. It will also shed light on the challenges faced by the teacher in using portfolios for assessment purposes. A summary of students’ feedback on this learning experience will be included.