Electronic Portfolio (ePortfolio or eP)
An electronic portfolio, ePortfolio, or eP, is a collection of purposefully self-selected artifacts (text, audio, video, photo, etc.) that are connected together by a narrative, to demonstrate learning, understanding and growth. An eP can be used for reflection on goals and learning, track progress, self-reflection, critique, or articulate ideas. An eP considers the values and beliefs as well as the what and how of learning. An eP may include co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, especially how they help to define the individual and their growth.
Note: This is a quick overview, not a comprehensive how-to guide.
Types of ePs
There is a variety of types of ePs. These include:
- Competency-based where artifacts are collected to support or demonstrate achievement of a prescribed set of skills, or knowledge.
- Reflective whereby the individual provides their thoughts and ideas on something important to them. The reflection may relate to a particular topic in a course or program, a news event or even a hobby, depending on the purpose of the eP.
- Demonstration of learning, growth is similar to a competency-based eP where an individual demonstrates their growth in skills or knowledge, but these may not be prescribed areas.
- Employment/Career can encompass all other eP types, and is focused on providing employers or potential employers with information on skill and knowledge level as well as examples of work.
Purposes of ePs
- Demonstrate competencies for assessment (academic or employment): An individual may show examples of work that demonstrate their achievement of various competencies. For example a first aid certificate might cover the competency: Demonstrate CPR. Another example might be a solved physics problem that demonstrates competency in applying Newton’s Third Law.
- Provide evidence of growth, learning, throughout a course or program: An individual might show early and later examples of work that demonstrate growth. This would be useful for confidence building, as well as for program justification.
- Share reflections, ideas: Similar to a blog, the eP can provide a platform for sharing reflections or ideas, however, the eP is often a more private environment. This is one way an individual can express their views on various works of literature.
- Develop critical thinking: An individual might show development of critical thinking by writing a critique of a news article, or by illustrating thought processes used in solving a chemistry problem.
- Link academic learning to the outside world: An individual might show the connection to a reading in a sociology course to a current news article. Also an individual might apply course to their life for example, a chapter about brick and cement structures could be applied to the building of an outdoor pizza over.
- Career planning: An individual might express a career goal and potential steps to reaching this goal. The individual would then outline and demonstrate their skills and qualifications for each step, how they will obtain the skills, and proof of obtaining the skills.
- Teaching dossiers:
- Lifelong learning: An individual might keep a record of professional development attended, qualifications obtained, courses completed, etc.
- Demonstrate program outcomes for program accreditation: A collection of individual ePs may be used as evidence of learner achievement for program accreditation purposes.
When students are creating an eP it is helpful to have guiding questions to help focus their work, and this is especially true if learners are new to the eP process. Clearly defined goals and/or objectives for an eP should be clearly defined and stated. For an academic eP the goals and objectives should be consistent with the institution, or program’s mission, vision and strategy and map back to the curriculum.
If the eP is to be graded, the grading rubrics should be provided to the students at the start of their creation of their eP.
Audience for ePs
The audience may include instructors/faculty, peers, potential employers, public, or a subgroup of any of these groups. The audience will impact the style and content of the eP, so having the audience clear at the beginning will help alleviate any extra work or frustration on the part of the student. Because different parts of an eP can be shared with different people, there may be different groups of audiences with the one eP. For example, a learner might share their course summaries with classmates, and potential employers, they might share photos of degrees, certificates, etc with potential employers, and course reflections with just their instructor.
Within the eP platform used at Memorial, learners can tag their pages or posts. This enables the learner to use the same artifacts for multiple purposes. For example a coop student may tag a work term report as “wtreport”, then provide permission for their academic work term supervisor to read the report. Later the learner may want to share the report with potential employers.
Currently at Memorial we use WordPress as the platform for ePortfolios which can be found here: https://eportfolio.mun.ca. It is also accessible from within Brightspace.
For further information on how to use WordPress for eP, refer to the eP Users Guide.
- Davis V. (2015). 11 Essentials for Excellent Digital ePortfolios. edutopia. Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/11-essentials-for-excellent-eportfolios-vicki-davis
- Herteis, E.M., & Simmons, N. (2010). Green Guide No 10: The Portfolio Process. Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
- Zubizarrete, J. (2009). The Learning Portfolio Reflective Practice for Improving Student Learning, 2nd Edition. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA USA.