Introduction to e-Portfolios

What is an e-Portfolio?

An e-portfolio, like a traditional paper portfolio, is meant to give students a place to share evidence of their learning. An e-portfolio extends this online so that students can collaborate with peers and showcase their accomplishments for instructors or employers. Evidence of learning can be built from any type of electronic file such as text, links, images, audio, or video created as part of a course. These files are often referred to as “learning artifacts”. They can reveal the path a student has taken in their journey and provide insights for the learner, the educator, and the potential employer. Fully formed they can serve as a more complete transcript of learning than is provided through simple course grades.

Reflective Growth

The process of choosing material to include in an e-portfolio naturally promotes self-reflection, leading to a greater awareness of a learner’s own educational goals and development. Reflection can also take the form of blog posts where a learner can write about their learning experiences. This learner empowerment can lead to greater student engagement and improve success, especially when coupled with authentic peer and instructor feedback.

Shared Learning

As an online tool, e-portfolios can be shared as a link with instructors, classmates, or anyone else with internet access. They can be a form of social network as well, often containing a student’s personal blog or commenting tools for visitors. Instructor and peer feedback can be used as valuable formative assessment or incorporated into a final summative assessment.

Enhanced Employability

An e-portfolio that was used for coursework can be a valuable part of a résumé when it comes time to find a job or move up within an organization. Artifacts from a variety of courses or non-academic experiences can be handpicked and assembled into a single body of exemplary work. The e-portfolio can then be sent to employers as a link or shown off during an interview on a laptop or tablet.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (2013) reports that “In addition to a resume or college transcript, more than 4 in 5 employers say an electronic portfolio would be useful to them in ensuring that job applicants have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their company or organization.”

Types of e-Portfolios

There are three basic types of e-portfolios.

  1. Representational e-portfolios demonstrate achievement towards specific objectives. These are also described as showcases. They can be used for assessment in education or as a career portfolio to demonstrate your abilities to an employer.
  2. Developmental e-portfolios form a kind of journal of learning as a learner in their path through their education.
  3. Reflective e-portfolios incorporate the reflections of the learner as they develop. These can serve to generate advanced learning through reflection.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (2013) reports that “In addition to a resume or college transcript, more than 4 in 5 employers say an electronic portfolio would be useful to them in ensuring that job applicants have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their company or organization.”

See the page on Experiential Learning for more information.

e-Portfolio Tutorials

Informative tutorials for some free e-portfolio services:

Come and talk to Matt Miles in Red River College’s Teaching Learning Technology Centre if you’re interested in setting up an e-portfolio for your course or program.

More Information on e-Portfolios

Overview of portfolio assessment, with training modules: http://www.nclrc.org/portfolio/modules.html

Assess using e-portfolios with an e-portfolio rubric: https://www2.uwstout.edu/content/profdev/rubrics/eportfoliorubric.html 

The International Journal of e-Portfolios: http://www.theijep.com/current.cfm

References

The Association of American Colleges & Universities. (2013). It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success: Overview and Key Findings. A National Survey of Business and Non Profit Leaders. Retrieved June 22, 2015 from: https://www.aacu.org/leap/presidentstrust/compact/2013SurveySummary