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ePortfolios

For Faculty and Staff

ePortfolios have tremendous potential benefits for students and faculty. As Chen and Light (2010:3) state:

"E-Portfolios – as both process and product – can promote deep learning and knowledge transfer by fostering student’s ability to make connections between … learning experiences in a variety of classroom, workplace and community settings…. In other words, an integrative approach to student learning encourages students to take responsibility for documenting and demonstrating their own abilities … within a broader learning landscape ...

As “container” of authentic evidence of student work, e-portfolios can serve as a catalyst for conversations among faculty and other stakeholders with departments and programs about common learning outcomes, coherence among courses and professional development. … e-portfolios offer insight into the process by which students learn, rather than just an end product."

Resources

The actual and potential use of ePortfolios is generating a rapidly growing literature and suite of professional conferences; most of the literature is widely available online.  Key publications include: Electronic Portfolios and Student Success: effectiveness, efficiency and learning(opens in new window) by Helen Chen and Tracy Penny Light (2010, AAC&U) and E-Portfolios: for Reflection, Learning and Assessment(opens in new window)Special Issue of Peer Review, Winter 2014, 16(1). 

The Connect2Learn website(opens in new window) is a “FIPSE-funded project coordinated by LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) that links ePortfolio teams from 24 campuses nationwide into a supportive community of practice. Launched in 2011, C2L focuses on exploring and documenting ePortfolio strategies to advance student, faculty, and institutional learning.”  C2L is a rich repository of ideas, tips, cautionary tales and other documentation of ePortfolio use.

A third key resource is The International Journal of ePortfolios(opens in new window)a peer-reviewed, open-access, web-based journal. “The journal’s focus includes the explanation, interpretation, application, and dissemination of researchers’, practitioners’, and developers’ experiences relevant to ePortfolio.”

Examples

There are two main approaches to creating ePortfolios: Open source platforms that allow users to build their own websites – “a domain of one’s own” – and commercial vendors who sell specialized ePortfolio products.

Open source: Some faculty are attracted to open source solutions. These have the advantage of being free – usually within limits – with considerable latitude for site design.  All current (2016) use of ePortfolios on our campus is via open source platforms. Open source providers include: WordPress(opens in new window)Wix(opens in new window)Weebly(opens in new window) and others.

Vendors:  Chico State is currently considering three commercial ePortfolio platforms: Digication(opens in new window)Pathbrite(opens in new window) and Portfolium(opens in new window). The CSU Chancellor’s Office has a site license for Portfolium. Chico State faculty and students currently (2016) have 2-year window of free access.  

Current Use of ePortfolios