Portfolio Assessment with SBF

I have previously posted my plan for grading this semester using SBF. Below is my template for the students to put together the final portfolio.

[Edit August 18, 2011 3:39 PM: I added a link to ThreeFavorites.tex and updated PortfolioTemplate.tex]

The Sample PDF

Additionally, here is a link to a screencast on how to put the Portfolio together.

Comments on design or use of \LaTeX are greatly appreciated.

11 Responses to “Portfolio Assessment with SBF”

  1. Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist Says:

    What is their history with \LaTeX before this class? Is the notion to teach them how to use it?

    a) no experience, don’t want to nec. teach them: These templates are great. I would add a screencast on how to download and install whatever tex environment you want them to use (maybe Latexlab?)
    b) no experience, want to teach latext to them: Templates still good but maybe have them go beyond them.
    c) some experience, don’t want to teach them: perfect
    d) some experience, want to teach latex: get rid of templates?

    Just some thoughts. The SBF portfolio approach is very cool, I’m keeping my eye on this!

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Hi Andy,

      I choose “a).” Most students’ history with \LaTeX will be “zero.” My intent is that they learn it well enough to submit homework with \LaTeX using my template. Most of these students will not go into mathematics/physics/etc, so my goal is not to make them fluent. I will mostly be happy if they can type “\epsilon.”

      I got MiKTeX installed on the campus computers that they frequently use. I am going to be lazy about creating your screencast on downloading (which was a good suggestion, by the way) because:

      1) I do not have easy access to a PC where I can download software onto. 2) My students in two previous semesters have had no problem downloading MiKTeX, so I think I can get away with it.

      Do you think that it would be (theoretically) possible to do Portfolio With Voice (PVW)? I have been thinking about this a little bit, and the technology is daunting me a little bit (perhaps because I don’t have any LiveScribe pens. . .yet). I suppose that the portfolio would just be a flash drive, right? That could be cool. . . Bret

      • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist Says:

        I think PVW is an awesome idea. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, recently, though I’ve decided not to go forward with it for this coming semester. I don’t know about a flash drive, though, as I like the specter of it being “public” to drive them to do well. Thoughts?

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Hi Andy,

        I like “public” a lot. I have some question about how to achieve this, since a semester’s worth of evidence could take a while. However, building a website (in WordPress?) might not be so hard. Then perhaps there could be a peer review process.

        I can understand not wanting to take on a new thing this soon before the semester starts. That being said, you may have encouraged me to do just that—I am one tech support email from writing a blog post about it. Bret

      • bretbenesh Says:


        I have been thinking about PVW a bit, and I think that it might be perfect for my elementary education majors this spring. PVW might be brought to life!

        Question: could you here (or a post on your blog) discuss the relative merits of, say, pencasts and screencasts? Basically, is it worth it for me to consider getting some Livescribe pens for my students? I am not rolling in money here. . .

      • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist Says:

        Here’s a breakdown from my perspective:

        cost $100 (pen and a 50 page tablet)
        software: 7-8 clicks to get it posted to web. only 1 to view on computer
        works best if student is willing to record and write at the same time. If they want to write the whole thing out first and then go back and talk it’s not as useful for an assessment tool because you can’t tell what part they’re referring to sometimes.
        works well for diagrams etc that the student can draw.

        cost $0 if they have a computer ($70 if you want them to have a pen tablet)
        software: Jing is 1-click to post to the web. Very handy
        works well when a student wants to walk you through a fully created document because you can see where their mouse is while they’re talking.
        Also works great for software-based documents like Mathematica (that’s really my own issue, I suppose).

        If a student has a pen tablet, you get most of the benefits of the livescribe pencasts with a tablet+screencasts. I do like how the pencasts gray out what they haven’t gotten to yet, though.

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Thanks, Andy. I will be thinking about this throughout the semester, but I think that I am going to go with the cheaper screencast model as the default for the class. But I am still trying to justify why I need to get a Livescribe pen for myself. Bret

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Thanks, Andy. It seems like Jing is likely to be the winner. I might buy a Livescribe pen for myself that students could use if they really needed it, but I think that this is not likely to be needed for a course on arithmetic.

  2. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    I like to use the BasicTeX installation (http://www.tug.org/mactex/morepackages.html) since it is small and has all the essentials. I prefer using the same editor for all files, not having a different editor for each file type, so I don’t want an integrated LaTeX environment.

    Templates are good to get kids started, as long as it is clear that the template is just a starting point, and to a rigid requirement.

    • bretbenesh Says:


      Thanks for the feedback. I am very interested in switching over to BasicTeX, thanks to your recommendation. I have been using MiKTeX for the past two years. It works well, but it is 2.5 times as big as BasicTeX. If I had enough time to make sure that IT could get BasicTeX on the campus computers before the semester, I would probably switch over this semester. But I think it is too late for that. Bret

  3. Bret->Joss « Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] It seems like I will be morphing into Andy Rundquist next semester. Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed […]

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