What is an ePortfolio?
The purpose of ePortfolios is to provide students with a tool to collect, organize, reflect upon and display their academic work. ePortfolios allow students to take ownership of the learning process by encouraging them to think about their learning experiences in a broad context of family, career, and community responsibilities. They provide a record of where a student has been, where a student is, and where a student would like to go. Helping students to engage in this process, summed up by the phrase ―collect, select, reflect, connect, is where faculty play a key role.
Types of ePortfolios
The types of ePortfolios defined below are not mutually exclusive.
A course ePortfolio provides an opportunity for an instructor to revise or rethink a particularly challenging assignment in ways that facilitate scaffolding and incorporate multimedia. For example, an instructor may decide to move the steps of a research paper (finding and evaluating sources, creating a bibliography, developing an outline, drafting, revision, and reflection) to a single ePortfolio with tabs for each part of the assignment. ePortfolios also enable multimedia integration, allowing students to incorporate images, databases, PowerPoint presentations, audio, and video into projects. Instead of thinking of ePortfolios as ―another thing to do, think of ePortfolios as a convenient digital venue for an existing assignment.
In academic ePortfolios, also called learning ePortfolios, students can collect representative assignments from all of their courses, creating a space in which to reflect upon their academic growth and make connections between courses. A learning ePortfolio is where reflection and documentation combine with collaboration or conversations about learning.
Some instructors may choose to develop “signature assignments” that provide evidence of students’ achievement of specific course learning objectives and ask students to place these assignments in their ePortfolios. This differs from the course ePortfolio in that a single assignment is being placed into a larger ePortfolio, rather than the ePortfolio being the assignment itself.
Program ePortfolios are similar to Academic ePortfolios, except that they are specific to an academic program, such as Sociology or Nursing. The program ePortfolio should include a competency or learning outcomes matrix, listing the program learning objectives. Students then link assignments from each required program course to a competency, making visible the program requirements and how those requirements were satisfied. Program ePortfolios also provide useful evidence for program-level assessment.
Showcase ePortfolios are organized to present accomplishments to graduate schools or to potential employers. Showcase ePortfolios might include a resumé, references, samples of work, and information about extra-curricular or co-curricular activities. This type of ePortfolio should encourage the individuality and creativity of each student. In addition to working with the ePortfolio team, students will also work with Career Services to optimize their ePortfolio for showcasing purposes.