ePortfolio can be viewed through at least two lenses: process and product. ePortfolio as process is relatively consistent across ePortfolio types or products. As a product, though, ePortfolios can take somewhat different forms depending on one’s goals.
Collect. An ePortfolio is a space where an individual collects samples of work. In an educational setting, those samples always include evidence of learning, progress, and/or achievement. Of course, since your ePortfolio is yours, there is no reason to restrict your collection to your coursework. You might collect your commentary on various experiences, samples of your poetry, artwork, or other products associated with your hobbies and interests.
Select. An ePortfolio is a curated space, which means that one selects samples of work to feature from a collection. Where the ePortfolio might contain a large group of samples, as a curator of your identity you make decisions about which samples to feature – and for what purposes. This selection process changes over time, and selection can be customized for various audiences. For example, samples selected for portfolio-based course evaluation might be different from those selected as part of a job application.
Reflect. An ePortfolio also offers the author a space to reflect on what selected samples demonstrate or show. Your reflections on the selected samples featured in an ePortfolio help to frame a reader’s experience of the work, providing a roadmap or guide through your ePortfolio.
Together, collection, selection, and reflection in your ePortfolio document and make an argument for what you have learned and what you can do. An ePortfolio offers a much richer picture of your knowledge, abilities, and interests than a GPA because it is multidimensional. You are not a number and cannot be reduced to a position on a four-point scale.
ePortfolio as Product
ePortfolio is a digital space to present your work and your self. While ePortfolios can serve several purposes and can evolve over time, they are often described as having one or more of the following emphases:
- Learning ePortfolios foreground one’s development and achievement in a range of areas the author defines as relevant.
- Professional ePortfolios foreground one’s professional identity and include a personal/professional statement, a resume, and samples of relevant professional work.
- Showcase ePortfolios foreground the best one has to offer and serve as a kind of intellectual/creative showcase.
Most ePortfolios are a hybrid of these basic types because the author imagines different audiences coming to the ePortfolio for different purposes.
If your ePortfolio is required as a course component, the learning dimension will likely be emphasized. If it is an expectation of your major or minor, you will be expected to explain what you have learned through your coursework and provide evidence of that learning.
As you move through college and approach graduation, you will likely want to add professional and, possibly, showcase dimensions to your ePortfolio. This emphasis need not limit your ePortfolio to required course components.