Alternative Assessment In Information Systems Engineering Education



The complexity of our world is calling for models of education that break away from the traditional 'delivery of information� paradigm towards 'knowledge creation� approaches that value activity, interaction, self-learning, communication, responsibility and team work. We describe a real case where Learning Contracts and Portfolios were combined within an Information Systems course for 5th year Informatics Engineering undergraduates. Students were asked to submit a contract that specified the learning activities they were prepared to carry out ' from traditional essay writing and literature reviews to the organization of seminars that engaged professionals from the field ' and then build up their Portfolios with the results of their endeavours and their meta-cognitive reflections on the knowledge gained, both individually and collectively. The instructor played three roles: the traditional one, of presenting the major topics of interest and mind mapping the important relationships; the role of an advisor, as students progressed in the activities described in their individual Learning Contracts; and the role of an evaluator of the activities, as they were described and entered into the Portfolio. This provided the students with quick formative feedback and with a picture of the build up of their grading on the subject. Since the Portfolios were created as openly available web pages, the students were encouraged to visit each other's Portfolios and to act as peer reviewers of each other's work. This reviewing not only contributed to increase the readers' own bodies of knowledge, but also promoted a sense of responsibility for the build up of collective knowledge. This, in turn, influenced the quality of their contracted activities, since they were encouraged to improve those activities on the basis of the comments and suggestions received and of the stimulus sparked by their discussions. The paper describes in detail the valuable insights on this approach, its merits and problems, as well as some student suggestions and hints for improvement. The implications for the development of a supporting software tool are also discussed.


Learning Contracts, Portfolios, Educational Paradigms, Information Systems


Education & Learning


International Conference on Engineering Education and Research, June 2004

Cited by

Year 2013 : 1 citations

 Huerta Manzanilla, E. L. (2013). El gemba educativo en ingeniería: Un modelo de mejoramiento aplicado al proceso de enseñanza aprendizaje en la Maestría en Ingeniería de Calidad de la Facultad de Ingeniería de la UAQ (Doctoral dissertation).

Year 2010 : 1 citations

 de Figueiredo, A. D. (2010). Learning contexts: A blueprint for research. Interactive Educational Multimedia, (11), 127-139.

Year 2005 : 2 citations

 Henriques, N.F., Mendes, A.J., Figueiredo, A.D. & Cunha, P.R. (2005). Uma ferramenta de e-portfólios para o LearningOnWeb. Revista Iberoamericana de Informática Educativa, Numero 1, Enero 2005 pp 39-47.

 Figueiredo, A. D.. (2005). Learning Contexts: a Blueprint for Research. Interactive Educational Multimedia, Number 11 (October 2005), pp. 127-139. URL:

Year 2004 : 1 citations

 Henriques, N. F. and Mendes, A. and Figueiredo, A. D. and Cunha, P. R. , "An E-Portfolio Tool For LearningOnWeb", in Proc. of the VII Congresso Iberoamericano de Informática Educativa, Monterrey, Mexico, October 2004