What are ePortfolios?

ePortfolios are a digital space for creating, housing, and sharing unique individual content or group projects. ePortfolios can be formatted in many different ways and can incorporate a range of media. Like more traditional portfolios, they usually benefit from a defined scope and careful curation. ePortolios allow students to showcase good work, integrate experiences, and share with others.

Why use ePortfolios?

ePortfolios offer the opportunity to reflect on learning and make important connections amongst courses or topics, as well as make links between academic work and life experiences. More than just traditional portfolios in digital form, ePortfolios can be edited and shared with ease. Uploading artifacts—whether they are photos, academic papers, or certifications—to an ePortfolio allows users to draw attention to their achievements and qualifications. Depending on the privacy settings an ePortfolio user selects, the ePortfolio can also be opened to search engine indexing, leading to greater discoverability and visibility.

What can I do with ePortfolios?

Hub-and-spoke model

Adam Rothman uses what we describe as the "hub and spoke" model in his history courses, which combines a course blog and ePortfolios to encourage students through a synthesis of collaboration and ownership. After requesting a single course blog and an ePortfolio for each student in his course, he adds a list of links to the ePortfolios to the side of his course blog. His students then work on their coursework on their ePortfolio, using the course blog as a jumping-off point for exploring their colleagues' work. This integration of shared (the course blog) and individual (each ePortfolio) gives students a chance to participate on multiple levels as well as complete the course with an ePortfolio to continue to build up or share.

Teaching portfolios

Teaching portfolios have long been considered an asset for those teaching and those preparing to teach. Sherry Steeley, who instructs students on how to teach English to speakers of another language, asks her students to build ePortfolios during her TEFL course. While she offers students guidelines on the type of material they should add to their teaching ePortfolios, she is also happy to have students go beyond those requirements and make the ePortfolio their own. At the end of the course, students have a carefully composed ePortfolio, like Capie's ePortolio, to share with future employers.

Reflective portfolios

Students in the Masters in Nursing Education program are required to build a portfolio to document their nursing education credentials. While some students choose to create a traditional paper portfolio, others like Lauren elect to create a more accessible ePortfolio Lauren's ePortfolio. The students who create ePortfolios make them into dossiers filled with intellectual artifacts (including papers and presentations) as well as reflections on their personal objectives. Creating an ePortfolio focuses on looking back on the past years of coursework and extracurricular enrichment and reflecting on how that learning has contributed to the student's intellectual and professional maturation.

Professional biographies

First-year students in the CCT program use ePortfolios to construct a professional narrative about their learning and career goals. Along with a written biography, students include CVs and other relevant documents to convey their experiences, skills, and projects. Though this use is similar to the reflective portfolios, the interdisciplinary nature of the CCT program means that each student’s focus is uniquely tailored. The ePortfolio can be an invaluable resource for potential employers to understand what the student accomplished to earn this degree. View a sample ePortfolio set up through the Georgetown Commons.

How can I get started with ePortfolios?

WordPress is a popular choice for ePortolios because the interface enables high levels of customization while also being accessible to beginners―and learning to build in Wordpress is a marketable skill. Georgetown offers students and faculty free Wordpress blogs through two different platforms: Commons course blogs and Domains. Commons course blogs includes access to CNDLS consultations and Georgetown themes, but there are more privacy and security controls in place. Domains can support blogs as well as other kinds of websites, and blogs on Domains have less restrictions on them.

To get started with Commons, request a Commons blog.

To set up your own Domain, visit the Georgetown Domains site and click on “New User.” Remember, individuals are allowed one domain name, so think of a url that is useful to you for a long-term project or e-portfolio. Typically, we recommend using your name or your research/professional interests (e.g., digitalwatermarking.georgetown.domains).

For a consultation on using blogs in your class, including best practices, please contact CNDLS.