ePortfolios

ePortfolios are a learning and presentation tool that are becoming more prevalent in both secondary and higher education. Similar to hard-copy portfolios of the past, ePortfolios provide students with a means to showcase a body of work from a project or course -- but all in a digital format. The ePortfolio portal defines this technology as "...a web-based information management system that uses electronic media and services. The learner builds and maintains a digital repository of artifacts, which they can use to demonstrate competence and reflect on their learning.”

The Australian teaching support website Professional ePortfolios in Education notes that ePortfolios include the following criteria

  • represents an individual's efforts, progress and achievements over time

  • is goal-driven, performance-based and indicates evidence of the attainment of knowledge, skills and attitudes

  • includes self-reflection

  • is a tool for facilitating life-long learning and career development

ePortfolios in Education

Portfolios have long been used in education to showcase a body of work in arts and other humanities courses. Additionally, students seeking teacher licensure in colleges of education have long been required to keep portfolios of their coursework as they prepare to graduate. With the advent of ePortfolios, much of these works are being digitized and delivered online. There are numerous issues regarding ownership of ePortfolios and electronic access rights which are currently being debated.

ePortfolios offer educational institutions another option in the assessment of compentencies. Now instead of just offering a multiple choice test or essay exam at the conclusion of lesson project based assignments can be evaluated and maintained. ePortfolio.org highlights some of the advantages for students as:

  • User-Centered: Students control what goes into their ePortfolio and who sees it.
  • Customizable: Students can create multiple views for a variety of uses.
  • Flexible: Allows students to create multiple portfolios to showcase their skills and achievements.
  • Reflective: Portfolio templates encourage reflective thinking.
  • Easy to Use: Users do not need any HTML or programming skills. They have to be able to fill out web forms and upload artifacts, as they would in an email attachment.
  • Goal Oriented: Users can set, review, and revise goals related to their education, course, major, career, work, service, and volunteer activities.
  • Career Centered: ePortfolio contains extensive templates for users to archive information about educational, volunteer, service, work, and internship experiences.
ePortfolios also address educational needs for what many call "authentic assessment." Rarely are people "tested" on material in their everyday lives using multiple choice tests. Projects and productions are what businesses and clients are asking for post educational experiences so the ePortfolios illustrate more of the students abilities given those parameters. In addition Problem based learning or constructivist learning mechanisms have an assessment mechanism through the use of portfolios and subsequently ePortfolios.

Videos

The following video, although subtitled, focuses on an American school that is using an e-Portfolio system in conjunction with concept mapping. This has allowed for better assessment of student understanding - instead of only memorization. (4 min. 38 sec)