An electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) is a web-based collection of student work which illustrates their learning progress, demonstrates their skills, and allows them to reflect on their learning (Alexiou & Paraskeva, 2010). An ePortfolio enables students to showcase best projects, reflect on their learning, document learning experiences, and prepare for the job market. According to Dr. Frank DiSilvestro in the IU School of Education, “ePortfolios reflect a student’s best work, critical thinking, cognitive and affective learning, and practical applications of their learning. It is through deep reflection that students reveal their deeper learning and make their learning explicit. Students evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as well as their course or graduate learning and consider their future learning. The ePortfolio is a critically reflective collaborative process that leads to deeper learning.”
Why use ePortfolios?
ePortfolios can have several purposes and goals, including the cultivation of self-regulatory learning (Reese & Levy, 2009), the development of digital literacies (Blair & Monke, 2009), and engagement in deep learning. In a practical sense, they can be a tool for showcasing the knowledge and skills that can help in career development—a bridge of sorts between academic and professional careers.
Because ePortfolios include a self-reflection component, they are ideal for use in community-engaged learning classes like service-learning, study abroad, and capstone experiences. Students can share artifacts from their learning experiences like photos or interviews with community partners, and then reflect on those experiences to demonstrate learning related to course goals (Harring & Luo, 2016; O’Laughlin & Serra, 2016).
What ePortfolio tools are available?
There are many platforms for creating ePortfolios, and depending on your goals, you may choose one of them. At Indiana University, CourseNetworking (CN) ePortfolio is available to all students, and they can access it through Canvas. CN ePortfolio allows your students to easily showcase their academic and career skills, knowledge, experiences, and accomplishments. Collaboration, academic networks, badges, skill tags, recommendations, comments, and showcases are unique features of the CN ePortfolio tool. Additionally, you can follow colleagues and have your followers. Take a quick look this CN ePortfolio example from a Journalism student.
Below are some basic features of CN ePortfolio.
- Each ePortfolio has a unique URL that gives a student lifelong access to their portfolio, allowing them to take their ePortfolios with them beyond their time in your class or at IU.
- Students can select which documents are shared with their classmates and/or with the public, allowing them to actively curate their ePortfolios.
- It is possible for students to earn microcredentials in your classes, and these earned badges will show up in their portfolios. They can be shared with classmates, instructors, employers, or the public.
How do I access the CN ePortfolio site?
You can reach your CN ePortfolio through Canvas. In Canvas, you need to go to your course, click the “CourseNetworking (CN Post)” tab on the course menu, and click on your picture or name.
Once you are on your CN ePortfolio, jot down its URL. My CN account number is UK10 and therefore my ePortfolio URL is https://www.thecn.com/UK10.
Do I have to teach students how to create an ePortfolio?
Fortunately, CN staff have created help pages with all the instructions your students need to create their ePortfolios. That lets you focus on helping students develop good learning experiences, artifacts, and reflections to share in those ePortfolios.
If you would like help in designing, implementing, or evaluating the CN ePortfolio or another ePortfolio option, please contact the CITL. One of our consultants will be happy to meet with you about incorporating an ePortfolio assignment into your course.