Can freedom exist simultaneously for the professor and the student? Can
revolution happen incrementally? In my talk, I explore the challenges that are
introduced when employing the portfolio as an assessment site in the
encouragement of freedom. I draw on bell hook’s exploration of education as a
practice of freedom following Paolo Freire to identify challenges experienced in
my implementation of a dialogic portfolio model. One key challenge that I
encountered, for example, was acute grading anxiety. Peter N. McLellan’s
formulation of the ePorfolio as a counter-site offers a much needed solution. For
McLellan, the portfolio hails students, professors, and institutions alike to be
witnesses to a “revolution.” Professors and institutions need to answer the call to
complete the revolutionary moment. Together, the concepts of freedom and
revolution, through hooks and McLellan, provide helpful parameters for
practitioners who desire less formulaic ways to encourage student reflection on
their growth and also desire meaningful ways to process elements of the portfolio
that are unconventional to academic metrics. As portfolios foreground the
question of what constitutes learning, they afford students a wide berth to argue
inventively and manifest learning by naming it. Equally, the portfolio provides
feedback (often indirectly) on what is left out of standardized learning outcomes,
contributing incrementally to a gradual change in the kinds of learning that we
measure and the kinds of learning that we (as an institution) obstruct. This
feedback materializes, when recognized, as professor and institutions learning.
The instructive potential of portfolios, then, is in their ability to free professors like
me who experience intense episodes of grading anxiety, by acting as small gifts of
what McLellan (through Walter Benjamin) calls 'revolutions.`. Assessment is thus
balanced by the promise of learning; freedom by the expectation of revolution.

Linh Hua, Ph.D., was a 2022 Faculty Fellow for the Center for Teaching Excellence
and The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Loyola Marymount University,
where she is Senior Instructor of Rhetorical Arts in the Department of English. She
earned her doctorate at the University of California, Irvine, in English, specializing
in African American and Asian American literary and cultural history, feminist
studies, and critical theory. She teaches a core curriculum Foundations course
entitled, “Rhetorical Arts: Reading, Writing, and Speaking for Social Justice." Her
writing can be found in African American Review, The Feminist Wire, Teaching and
Emotion (Jossey-Bass Wiley), Conditions of the Present (Duke UP), and Mapping
Gendered Ecologies: Engaging with and beyond Ecowomanism and Ecofeminism
(Lexington Books). She has an article forthcoming in Feminist Collaborations and
Radical Connectedness from University of Illinois Press. Her teaching, research,
and writing centers the work of Black feminism and Black feminist scholars. She is
currently working on a manuscript on citation pedagogy.