Students sometimes feel that their course work is unrelated to their major area of study, or they do not see the relevance of a certain skill set when, at first glance, it seems unnecessary for their professional career path. ePortfolio can help by creating an opportunity for students to recognize not only the growth of their knowledge but also the importance of their skill development in both courses and co-curricular experiences.
Over the past decade, several colleges and universities have embraced ePortfolio as a space to encourage students to reflect on their learning as well as to select projects and examples that demonstrate their learning and growth. Catalyst for Learning, also known as C2L, is a site that was created as a resource to share the research and strategies related to ePortfolio use on 24 college and university campuses in the US. According to C2L, “Reflective ePortfolios help students connect and make meaning from otherwise isolated learning experiences. This deepens the inquiry process and helps students integrate their learning into a larger framework of development and purposeful self-authorship, often through reflective engagement with other students.” The process of reflecting on learning and experiences helps students to think more deeply about the connection of their courses and to reflect on the full value of their college experience. As students build and rebuild their ePortfolios, they begin to feel ownership and deeper understanding of their educational experience.
ePortfolio structure may take several forms, depending on the audience and purpose. At UNE, ePortfolios are initially created as a work space for students to collect and reflect throughout their years at UNE, but they may also be used to assess course learning and skill development. As students complete their studies at UNE, they may move to refine and revise ePortfolio to include their best work with the purpose of sharing it with employers or graduate schools. Whichever audience and purpose, ePortfolio serves as a valuable space for students to reflect on their learning and begin building a professional digital persona.