What is an Eportfolio?
Eportfolios are active learning environments where students and faculty engage in a continual learning process throughout the students’ undergraduate and graduate career. Eportfolios are a reflective collection of student work that are created with goals in mind and used for assessment of the students’ learning in his/her discipline. Using an online database, students organize, display, and discuss their work, which is ready for review at any time. Eportfolios rest upon the following process:
- Collect: Students collect work from various evidence categories that include academic, extra-curricular, and personal information. Most often this work is in text format, but eportfolios also work with visual works and can include sound recordings as well.
- Select: Following the guidelines of their major department, students determine what shape their portfolios will take as they are taught to consider the portfolio’s purpose and audience. Students then review their collected works and decide upon representative works that present the learning outcomes and ideas they believe are important. They also need to develop an organizational format for their portfolio, as well as set up places to integrate reflective writing pieces that demonstrate the learning process.
- Reflect: Students select specific projects or assignments to analyze and interpret for their audience. This work includes explaining what a project achieves, how it might be revised or developed further, how the work fits into the student’s major/minor, and considerations for future learning development.
- Publish: Students post their works and reflective pieces to their portfolio site and activate the site so that others may view it. Faculty, at this point, can review student progress and help students critique their portfolios.
Overall, eportfolios offer students a way to integrate their learning experiences from inside and outside the classroom by helping them make connections between their learning experiences. Because eportfolios combine information about family and work, education and hobbies, classrooms experiences and extracurricular experiences, they provide a picture of the student as a whole individual and, thus, have an enormous implication for their education. Eportfolios emerge as a tool for universities and colleges to engage and stimulate student learning, as well as enable students to take greater responsibility for their educations.