What is an ePortfolio?
An ePortfolio is an electronic format for learners to record their work, their achievements, and their goals, to reflect on their learning, and to share and be supported in this
An ePortfolio is a digital collection of evidence showcasing a student’s learning journey over time. It includes documents, images, videos, and audio recordings, which are curated to demonstrate an individual’s skills, knowledge, and achievements. ePortfolios help students reflect on their learning, collaborate with others, track progress, and showcase their accomplishments for academic and professional pursuits.
Types of ePortfolios
- Showcase ePortfolio: Highlights achievements
- Learning ePortfolios: Demonstrates the learning process with a focus on feedback
- Assessment ePortfolio: Used to assess students’ mastery of certain standards or topics
Why use ePortfolios in your Courses
ePortfolios are an effective tool for both formative and summative assessments. They offer insight into a student’s progress and process, while providing a valuable final product.
Educators can use ePortfolios to:
- Evaluate students’ development over time
- Identify and articulate learning outcomes
- Collect artifacts that demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes
- Provide scaffolding and guidance to help students achieve these outcomes
- Support peer to peer feedback and collaboration
- Share diverse examples of student work within private class learning communities
- Improve courses and provide additional support by identifying areas of common misunderstandings
- Shift to experiential learning approaches, providing a platform to students to share experiences
This form of authentic assessment allows students to deepen learning and develop both soft skills (such as analysis, confidence, creativity, etc.) and hard skills (such as digital literacy, writing, etc.).
By collecting academic and professional artifacts and combining them with self-reflection, students take more responsibility for their learning because it is more meaningful to them. They understand that their ePortfolio is not just an assignment, but a representation of their personal and professional growth. Unlike traditional papers or binder formatted portfolios, ePortfolios are flexible, easy to maintain, and can be easily shared with peers and others who are part of the students’ extended network (such as future employers, other academic pursuits, etc.).
Key Points for Effective Practice Using ePortfolios
- ePortfolios are most effective when used in conjunction with other experiential services i.e., internships, and career interviews) or assignments or course reflections.
- Select a tool for student ePortfolios (i.e. Canvas or Google Sites) and familiarize yourself with the features well in advance of initial attempts to implement the assessment.
- Provide a clear rationale and explanation of what to include in the ePortfolio. Rubrics are helpful to share your expectations for grading.
- Provide guidelines for maintaining student/client/patient confidentiality, like posting intimate personal identifying information (ex. Social security, home address, etc.).
💡NOTE: Make sure your posted information does not contain any sensitive or identifying information regarding any clients/students/patients from your site and yourself.
- Provide examples (from previous students) to demonstrate the meaningfulness of the assessment.
- Introduce the ePortfolio project early in the semester. Consider scaffolding larger assessments through a series of mini-assignments so that you can provide opportunities for frequent feedback to your students. Include an ePortfolio technology (ex. Canvas, Google Sites, etc.) learning session in your class schedule.Have students build and submit their ePortfolios in stages to guide the learning process to ensure deeper learning, ownership, reflection and timely formative feedback.
ePortfolio Privacy and Confidentiality Considerations
When introducing ePortfolios to students, it is important to discuss the implications of privacy and confidentiality. ePortfolios can be set up to be private, public or restricted to specific people. Students should think before sharing content and data about themselves, employees, and clients.
Have a conversation with your students regarding the possible risks of posting personal, private, and specific information on the internet, such as their address, date of birth, social security number, telephone number, internet usernames, and client/student/patient data.
It is also important to choose the proper sharing settings of the ePortfolio platform and ensure it is only shared with people who are authorized to access it.
Steps to Implement an ePortfolio into Your Course
Implementing an ePortfolio in class requires careful planning and preparation.
Here are some steps to follow:
- Determine the purpose or goals. What do you want students to achieve once they have completed the ePortfolio? Some possible goals might include assessing students’ competency in specific standards or topics, providing feedback for an ongoing project, or showcasing students’ competencies for career development.
- Choose the appropriate platform. There are many ePortfolio tools available, each with its own features and benefits. You should consider cost, ease of use and sharing, security, etc.
- Establish guidelines and provide clear instructions. Establish guidelines and provide clear instructions. Create a set of guidelines for your students that outline the requirements for the ePortfolio project, including expectations for the format, content, due dates, and assessment criteria. Provide clear instructions for students on how to create and use their ePortfolios.
- Incorporate ePortfolio activities into your class assignments and assessments. There must be opportunities built into your class sessions or internship that allow your students to create artifacts that reflect their learning and can be added to their e-portfolio project.
- Assess students’ ePortfolios. Develop a rubric to evaluate students’ ePortfolios. Provide regular feedback to students throughout the course to ensure they are on the right track.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the ePortfolio. After the course is finished, evaluate the effectiveness of the ePortfolio and whether it achieves your purposes and goals. Collect feedback from students and consider making changes for the next offering.
Technologies Used to Support ePortfolios
Several technologies can be used to support e-portfolios, including Google Sites, Canvas ePortfolios, Padlet, and Google Docs.
Google Sites is a free web application for creating websites. You can develop the website by yourself or collaborate with others to create the content of the pages. You can decide the level of sharing you would like to permit, who the owners of the website are, and to whom you’d like to give permission to edit or revise the site. You can also provide permission to visitors for viewing purposes only. It is integrated with other Montclair Google Apps and tools so you can easily share videos, photos, presentations, or calendars.
Google Sites ePortfolio Example
Canvas ePortfolios allow students to create an unlimited number of ePortfolios in which to collect and document their educational projects, submissions, experiences, and other work products. Students can keep ePortfolios private or share with other students, instructors, and/or future employers.
💡Note: Canvas ePortfolios can be used by students throughout their University experience but will not be accessible after they graduate.
Padlet is a web-based platform that allows users to create digital bulletin boards where they could add text, images, videos, audio and so many other digital files. Students can easily create a visually appealing e-portfolio by adding different artifacts. You can edit your privacy options, and choose the Share option. You may add others to your Padlet as well.
Google Docs is a free easy-to-use, web-based document editing tool that is part of the Google Workspace Suite. Students can insert text, images, multimedia elements, etc. Students can organize their work into sections and link to other online files. You can also decide who can access your document and their role (viewer, commenter, editor).
Google Docs ePortfolio Example
- Banks, B. (2004). e-Portfolios: Their Use and Benefits
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- Wicks, D., Lumpe, A., Algera, H., Gritter, K., Barrett, H., & Sallee, J. (2011). bPortfolios: Blogging for reflective practice. Sloan Consortium Effective Practices.