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Education Blog



19 October, 2016

ePortfolios are the same as regular portfolios. An ePortfolio is a collection of materials that documents student achievement, and may include reflections on the learning process and its outcomes.

Since ePortfolios are electronic, they have additional qualities such as:

  • Requiring students to organize their thoughts and materials using an electronic interface similar to a personal web page.
  • Enabling the presentation and interlinking of various media types.
  • Being shared easily and constantly edited.

Purposes of ePortfolio

  • Reflecting upon learning processes and outcomes.
  • Organizing and presenting learning accomplishments.
  • Developing self-assessment skills.
  • Representing learning experiences.
  • Developing multimedia skills.
  • Creating electronic text for specific audiences.
  • Learning how to use technology to support lifelong learning.

Advantages of ePortfolios include:

  • Personalizing the learning experience.
  • Enabling students to draw connections between their various learning experiences over the semester and beyond.
  • Seeing progress over time.
  • Improving critical thinking.
  • Evaluating and assessing student products and processes.
  • Assessing course learning outcomes.
  • Obtaining insight into how students experienced a curriculum.

Getting started with integrating ePortfolios

  • Have a clear learning purpose for using an ePortfolio and share this with students.
  • Develop ePortfolio learning activities to use throughout the semester.
  • Develop a clear rubric or set of guidelines that will be used to guide and assess student learning.
  • The learning purpose of the ePortfolio will identify how it is constructed. Before implementing ePortfolios, consider the following (adapted from Butler, 2006):
  • Who chooses what items will be included in the selection and presentation of the ePortfolio, and what are the guidelines?
  • How should the ePortfolio be organized?
  • What are acceptable or unacceptable pieces for the ePortfolio?
  • Will there be chances for collaboration? What about feedback from you, peers, or others throughout the development of the portfolio?
  • How will the ePortfolio be assessed?
  • What will happen to the ePortfolio once it is completed?

Introducing ePortfolios

  • Explain to the students the planned learning outcomes for the project.
  • Tie the skills that students will develop in the process of creating an ePortfolio to their personal, academic, and professional development.
  • Share how students may be able to continue to improve their ePortfolios beyond the course.
  • Include a clear description of the ePortfolio assignment in your syllabus.
  • Explain how you will assess the ePortflio and share the rubric or guidelines.

ePortfolio learning activities

  1. Guided Reflective Thinking

Students do not have come to class with the ability to reflect or are aware of their own reflections. Consider prompting students with guided reflection at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. Here are some examples from Penny Light, Chen & Ittelson (2012, p.56):

  • Beginning of the semester: What is reflection? What is action? What do you think we will do to learn about reflection and action in this course?
  • Middle of the semester: Considering our course readings, and learning activities thus far, have your ideas on reflection and action changed? If so, how and why have they changed? If not, why do you think that is?
  • End of the semester: What were the most important things you learned about reflection and action this semester? What learning activities such as discussions and class readings were most significant to you and why?
  1. Analyze samples of previous coursework or previous student ePortfolios
  • Provide students with a rubric that you will use to assess the portfolios.
  • Have students review the assignments and materials that students in previous semesters included, and ask them to evaluate whether or not they would make good contributions.
  • Showcase previous ePortfolios and have students use the rubric to check what was done well, and what could have been done differently.
  • Do not forget to ask current students if you can share their ePortfolios anonymously with future students.
  1. Peer review of ePortfolio drafts
  • Consider having multiple due dates for an organization plan, first draft, second draft, and final draft.
  • Organize peer review sessions for each step in the process.
  • Divide students into pairs or small groups to review ePortfolios.
  • Consider letting students to create the first drafts on paper or as written reflections pieces, and make only the final product electronic.
  • Give enough time between the last feedback session and the final due date for students to make adjustments.

Assessing ePortfolios

  • Consider using a rubricto guide your evaluation and feedback.
  • Consider integrating self-assessment and peer-assessmentas part of the final grade.

Final products

  • Students can continue to enhance them for their professional careers.
  • They can be displayed in a common space on campus.
  • They can be posted on a class website so students can view each other’s portfolios.
  • They can be shared, with students’ approval, on your course website, or with future classes.