CCE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Gertrude W Abramson

Committee Member

Nicholas Ditirro

Committee Member

Cheryl Ward


advising, assessment, ePortfolio, e-portfolio, first-generation, student engagement


This study considers how advising ePortfolios are uniquely situated to address a current challenge in the application of educational technologies: using the right tool for the right job for the right reason at the right time. The particular problem identified for investigation lies at the intersection of two central issues: first, in the age of accountability in higher education, academic advisors lack both a tool and a metric for assessing advising; second, the current ePortfolio field struggles to prove methodological validity with regard to design, development, delivery, and evaluation. These ePortfolios were systematically studied using an approach that provided a workable method for conceptualizing the advising ePortfolio, its design, and its development to improve faculty-student engagement with first-generation students.

The sample was composed of 10 first-generation first-year students at the University of Notre Dame. The overall methodology followed design and development research for product/tool use and evaluation. Data were gathered using surveys, interviews, and observations. This study answered the following questions: What procedures were undertaken to facilitate the design and development of a validated advising ePortfolio tool? In what ways is the advising ePortfolio prototype practical in meeting the requirements specified for the target group--first-year first-generation students? To what extent is the advising ePortfolio effective in impacting student engagement, particularly with first-year first-generation students?

Key findings indicate that the advising ePortfolio was easy to learn, easy to use, and highly enjoyable. In addition, participants reported that the advising ePortfolio improved the effectiveness of the advising process and, as a result, had a clear impact on increasing student engagement. Beyond the overall positive impact on student engagement, two significant outcomes and contributions emerged: first, the development of the blended advising model, which uses the ePortfolio to deepen the engagement cycle; second, enhanced assessment, learning analytics, and data triangulation models which qualitatively and quantitatively data mines the ePortfolio to create next generation learning analytics that could measure student engagement.

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