Karuta 3.0 Story: Building an attractive Pandemic ePortfolio

Karuta 3.0 Story: Building an attractive Pandemic ePortfolio

Image of My Pandemic ePortfolio example screenshot.

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of higher education. Over a very short period of time, courses have moved online with students being required to adapt to new tools and ways of learning. The on-campus experience has been replaced by a series of separate non-coordinated activities that often lack the synergy and meaning of the recent past. Anecdotal evidence points to students complaining about the loneliness, isolation, and even pertinence of their learning experience. The traditional university model could be disrupted for years to come.

Although a number of tools have been used to enhance the student learning experience, many researchers have long advocated a more holistic, personal, and integrative approach. As eloquently presented by Jenson and Treuer (2014), learning should be afforded a much broader context where courses, co-curricular activities, internship, work, and personal experiences, contribute to what are called 20th century life-long learning skills (collecting, self-regulating, reflecting, integrating, and collaborating). Most universities share these long term objectives and values and could do more to encourage and guide students in applying them to all their learning activities.

The Karuta Pandemic ePortfolio project is an illustration of this more integrative approach. Contrary to their recollections, students have most likely accomplished quite a lot during the pandemic period: They have participated in courses, but they also may have offered service to their communities, helped colleagues and friends in concrete ways, learned new skills, and/or worked for local or online businesses. What is missing is a mind-set and a tool to make sense of all these a priori unrelated activities using proven and well-accepted rubrics that are key to future success in whatever careers students will choose.

Designed using the new and very flexible Karuta 3.0 environment, the Pandemic ePortfolio provides a safe space to help students connect the dots, make sense of their unusual experiences, assume ownership of their learning, and prepare for the future. The attractive Welcome page illustrates the portfolio rationale and guides students on their journey. They can easily use their portfolio to collect and annotate evidence of their learning, associate that evidence with new and existing skills, document the development of those skills, and self-evaluate their progress. The Karuta Pandemic Portfolio may also be easily modified as a template to support any portfolio-type inquiry, such as the accreditation of nurses, teachers, or members of other professions.


For more information:


Jill. D. Jenson and Paul Treuer (2014), Defining the e-Portfolio: What It is and Why it Matters, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 46:2, 50-57, https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2014.897192.


*The Karuta Project is under the umbrella of the Apereo Foundation, an organization dedicated to the use of open source software in education.