What is an ePortfolio?
An ePortfolio is an electronic portfolio of student-generated content shared as a Web site. The purpose of the portfolio is to create a space where students begin building a professional Web presence. A UNE student’s site may include content from one or more courses as well as a profile, explanation of professional experiences such as internships, and possibly collegiate sport or club experiences. As with many Web sites, UNE ePortfolios offer a number of features, but the basic structure includes posts and pages. Posts are typically shorter writing pieces that may be categorized by course or tagged for content, skill, or medium (such as podcast, video, etc.). Posts also include a commenting feature, so they welcome discussion (similar to social media posts). Pages are typically used for more static content, and they often feature reflections and work samples. They may also be used to highlight skills or to organize an ePortfolio. Pages can be nested to create an organizational structure (similar to a subheadings for chapter).
Because ePortfolio is versatile, students choose the design and customize by adding pictures, background designs, and layout of the site. WordPress offers a number of templates to standardize the font and style of the site. Users may also add special features by adding widgets. Some examples are links to other sites, a calendar, and word clouds from tagged posts.
Why incorporate ePortfolio?
When students embrace ePortfolio, they are not only developing their digital skill set but also becoming more aware of their own learning. When well developed, ePortfolio creates an avenue for long-term reflection on content knowledge and skills. The findings of the Connect to Learn (C2L) Project (a national community of 24 teams from higher-education institutions) suggest three major benefits of ePortfolio initiatives done well:
- Advance Student Success
- Support Reflection, Social Pedagogy and Deep Learning
- Catalyze Learning-Centered Institutional Change
Essentially, higher educational institutions that adopt an ePortfolio approach create more integrated communities of educators and learners. Students think more deeply about their course content and skills, are more engaged in their learning, and become better at self-assessment. Faculty and staff better understand the student experience, and cooperation across the institution increases. To learn more about institutions who were involved in the C2L project, click here. Click here to learn more about the Catalyst Framework, which is the guide to high-impact ePortfolio practice.