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.
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.
Because ePortfolios are digital, they can be shared via a simple link. 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.
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, like Robynne's) 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 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, to share with future employers.
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. 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.
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. Catherine used this online platform to link her biography to outside websites that host previous projects she wished to highlight. 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.