I initially developed the following material for a guest visit to an undergraduate Honors course at Elon University.
As George Kuh writes in the foreword to High-Impact ePortfolio Practice: A Catalyst for Student, Faculty, and Institutional Learning by Bret Eynon and Laura M. Gambino, the ePortfolio:
“serves as a portable, expandable, and updatable vehicle for accumulating and presenting evidence of authentic student accomplishment including the curation of specific proficiencies and dispositions at given points in time… The ePortfolio is much more than a just-in-time twenty-first-century electronic record keeping system. It is an intentionally designed instructional approach that, among other advantages, prompts students to periodically reflect on and deepen what they are learning and helps them connect and make sense of their various experiences inside and outside the classroom that – taken together – add up to more than the sum of their parts.” (2017, p. ix)
Beyond the pedagogical value of ePortfolios, they also offer a venue for professionals to develop an online identity, showcasing their expertise with concrete examples.
An ePortfolio is more than a website… As Eynon and Gambino write, “ePortfolio practice done well supports reflection, integration, and deep learning” (2017, p. 9). ePortfolios also prompt inquiry about our current identities – “Who am I? Who am I becoming?” – and our future dreams – “Who do I dare to be?” (Eynon & Gambino, 2017, p. 11).
Room for Play in ePortfolios?
While their print ancestors can accommodate some multimedia (e.g., photos, drawings, etc.), ePortfolios can showcase a broader array of media (e.g., audio, video, hypertext, etc.). How might you use multimedia components in your portfolio? Here are a few questions to spark your brainstorming:
- What do key aspects of my identity look like? Sound like?
- What might my future look like? How would I visualize it?
- What curricular, co-curricular, or extra-curricular projects have I composed or contributed to that I could showcase in a portfolio as examples of my developing identity?
- How might an audio clip enable me to talk through my reflection on a project or my integration of lessons learned from multiple projects?
- What could a video clip show readers/viewers that they might miss in a text-based version of the same project or idea?
- How might I play with organization/arrangement to either guide readers/viewers through my story or offer them a choose-your-own-adventure representation of me?
My students routinely use WordPress, Wix, or Weebly; Google Sites and Digication are additional options. I encourage you to select a web platform that you already are comfortable composing within or that you wish to learn for other professional development goals.
Many professionals maintain both private working portfolios and public portfolios. Working portfolios are collections of documents/projects that might be included in the public portfolio in the future (or have been in the past). If you anticipate expanding and maintaining your public ePortfolio, establish an organizational strategy for also maintaining a private working portfolio; Google Drive, Dropbox, or an external USB drive are helpful tools for organizing and archiving materials that – at some point – might be included in your public portfolio.
Questions about ePortfolios? Have strategies for ePortfolio development? Please share them in the comments. Thank you!