Innovation Portal


Who can use the Innovation Portal?

Use of the Portal is free and open

The Innovation Portal was conceived to connect the original design and problem solving work of students with a wide array of opportunities and to both support and promote that level of direct application and knowledge integration in the STEM education arena. Focusing on a single articulated model of the design process and using a standardized template for documenting student work, eliminates any curricular preference or model. Keeping the entire process online eliminates any participation constraints due to geography or resources.

How is the Innovation Portal concept unique?

The single template for the Innovation Portal‘s online portfolio building function is designed around the “Engineering Design Process Portfolio Rubric” or EDPPSR being developed, refined and validated as an engineering process assessment tool with involvement from a number of post-secondary engineering institutions and industry partners and led by representatives of the University of Maryland. This rubric provides a well-structured guide for organizing, documenting, and presenting student works in a standardized manner. With that standardized structure it makes it possible for organizations to create a process for reviewing and accurately comparing the student works and in turn, provide opportunities for students in the form of competitions, scholarship possibilities and third party review and assessment of the work. The innovation portal makes it possible for students to build their online portfolios over time, and when ready, submit their work in a variety of opportunities all from the same web based system.

How does the Innovation Portal’s portfolio-builder function work as a classroom tool?

Individuals or teams simply register for an Innovation Portal account at the Innovation Portal home page home page. Once logged into their secure account they will be able to create a new portfolio”. Once the portfolio is opened students are presented with a blank portfolio template and can begin using the rubric, scored examples and other resources to help build and document their project works. If a student or team is part of a class they can “invite” their teacher to be able to view their work and then to use the embedded rubric to score and offer feedback about the work at any time. Teachers can score and review a portfolio as many times as needed throughout the course. Both students and teacher/mentors keep copies of each review done over time.

Teachers create their own accounts, and like any account holder, can see and create reviews for all of the student portfolios they have been “invited” to view without having to provide a unique set of credentials for each student portfolio. In this manner a teacher can manage, review and mentor any number of student projects over the course of their class form any location with internet access.

Will the online student portfolios be secure?

The portfolios will only be accessible by the account-owners and whomever they grant access or “view” or “collaborate” with the work.

How is the Project Lead The Way organization (PLTW) involved with the Innovation Portal?

Project Lead The Way has designed, built and continues to improve the Innovation Portal for all students because we are committed to supporting, promoting, and working to gain recognition for student works that incorporate the application and integration of knowledge and critical thinking skills associated with original problem solving and design projects.  The Innovation Portal is an excellent vehicle for helping to achieve that goal.  PLTW has also been deeply  involved with the development of the EDPPSR rubric since its inception and continues to be involved in the research, refinement and validation work on the rubric.  As a part of this effort to highlight the design process , PLTW works to expand the partnerships that have led to the Innovation Portal  and the  EDPPSR rubric and increase industry and post-secondary interest and involvement in the Innovation Portal through the number and variety of opportunities available to all students and teachers using the site.

What is the "Engineering Design Process Portfolio Scoring Rubric" or EDPPSR?

The idea for the Innovation Portal began early in 2010 after interviewing dozens of  post-secondary admissions officers, professors, and industry representatives about why the original problem solving portfolio work being done by all of these students was valued, but not being widely recognized by industry education outreach efforts or considered for review in the university admission process. Their answer outlined two distinct but related obstacles that became the foundation for the Innovation Portal. The group replied that;

"...Without a systematic process for reviewing original student design work there is no way to incorporate the value of the work into the algorithm of college admissions or any other recognition process. Without a standardized assessment tool to organize and evaluate any submitted work there can be no systematic process.” What was needed was a well-structured and validated assessment rubric centered on the design process itself coupled with a secure means for students to build portfolios and connect their work to potential reviewers."

The first obstacle involved the fact that there exists a wide number of variations of the design process model used in engineering, most of which had never been transformed into a detailed guide and assessment tool for education purposes. (The rubric used by PLTW capstone students was developed from those authored internally by their university partners and master teachers and was used as a starting point for what has become the EDPPSR)    Many researchers around the country interested in engineering education were grappling with these concerns as well. Dr. Leigh Abts of the University of Maryland had been focusing his efforts on ways to improve the engineering pipeline from K-12 to post-secondary for over a decade and was already working toward a means of reviewing the portfolio work of students.  PLTW had an interest in building an online tool to support problem solving efforts for all students but lacked a national design process rubric to build into its system.  Dr. Abts and his team had an interest in building a national rubric but would need both a tool to put the rubric work in the hands of students and teachers.