An area that currently challenges and will continue to challenge design education in the future is that of assessment. Current research in design assessment has identified approaches such as a holistic assessment, designed to evaluate product, person and process (de le Harpe et al., 2009) and authentic assessment both of which move towards a more learner-centered and process concentrated approach. With these changes come new challenges for design educators to substantiate and validate what they do when it comes to the assessment of student work.
The Graphic Design Degree offered by the Midrand Graduate Institute is presented at ten sites in South Africa and aims to maintain assessment standards, be efficient as well as cost effective. External moderation for all practical modules takes place twice a year at each campus. Student portfolios consist of bulky two and three dimensional work, visual diaries, large digital files for modules such as animation and the cost, fragility and logistics prevent the centralised marking and moderation of the work.
Electronic or digital portfolios (e-portfolios) have been used extensively in other fields, in particular to provide evidence of learning and professional development in the field of teaching and education, they could provide the department with not only a cost effective system for portfolio assessment, but with a tool to be used over the next twenty years that will enhance other aspects of design education.
In an on-going action research project, this paper looks at initial research on how the assessment practice of the institution could be enhanced through the use of e-portfolios.