When integrated into courses, e-portfolios can serve as a valuable project to engage students in synthesizing and reflecting upon the learning they’ve done. As a digital showcase of a professional persona or a presentation of an experience, an e-portfolio often helps students think through the context of their learning and how to convey its importance to a broader audience. It can re-center learning around the learner. Creating e-portfolios also requires students to gain valuable digital skills and can provide them with an immediately useful online resource for going on the job market after graduating.
e-Portfolios at UNCG
Digital ACT Studio: The Digital ACT (Action, Consultation, and Training) Studio is one of the Multiliteracy Centers at UNCG along with the Speaking Center and the Writing Center. Students, faculty, and staff can bring in digital projects and have a 30- or 60-minute consultation with a trained consultant who acts as an informed audience member. Feedback focuses on how to make the project more effective from a design and function standpoint for a given audience. Appointments can be scheduled online. DACTS also conducts workshops on e-portfolio design, and the director is always happy to discuss implementing e-portfolio or other digital media projects into courses in ways that support an instructor’s specific learning outcomes.
DACTS is located on the Lower Level of Jackson Library, open during the week (M-Th 10-8, F 10-2).
Digital Media Commons: The Digital Media Commons supports the technical execution of digital media projects. Students, faculty, and staff who are looking to learn how to use software or have technical questions can ask at the DMC help desk. Longer technical consultations can also be scheduled for software training by contacting the DMC staff. The DMC conducts workshops and tutorials for classes that teach students how to use software for class projects. Additionally, the director welcomes questions and discussion on how to integrate digital projects into a course.
The DMC is located on the Lower Level of Jackson Library, open all public hours of the library.
Research on e-Portfolios in Higher Education
Cowan, J., & Peacock, S. (2017). Integrating reflective activities in eportfolios to support the development of abilities in self-managed experiential learning. Reflective Practice, 18(5), 655–672. https://doi.org/10.1080/14623943.2017.1307723
Deneen, C. C., Brown, G. T. L., & Carless, D. (2018). Students’ conceptions of eportfolios as assessment and technology. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 55(4), 487–496.
Kuh, G. D., Gambino, L. M., Ludvik, M. B., & O’Donnell, K. (2018). Accentuating Dispositional Learning from HIPs Using ePortfolio. Assessment Update, 30(3), 8–9.
Reynolds, C., & Shaquid Pirie, M. (2016). Creating an Eportfolio Culture on Campus through Platform Selection and Implementation. Peer Review, 18(3), 21–24.
Rivera, J., & Loebick, K. (2017). Integrating High Impact Practices: Recognizing Attributes and Overcoming Obstacles in Learning ePortfolios. Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education (ELTHE): A Journal for Engaged Educators, 1(2), 25–50.
Roberts, P., Maor, D., & Herrington, J. (2016). ePortfolio-Based Learning Environments: Recommendations for Effective Scaffolding of Reflective Thinking in Higher Education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(4), 22–33.
Platforms and Software
The online platforms or software one uses to create an e-portfolio can have many implications for its design and reception. For instructors, specific platforms may or may not support overall pedagogical goals. The director of the Digital ACT Studio and the director of the Digital Media Commons always welcome instructor questions on what software may best support their course’s desired learning outcomes.
Google Sites: Part of UNCG’s iSpartan platform (Google Drive > New > More > Google Sites), a Google Site is an incredibly easy way to build a website, such as an e-portfolio. The template selection is limited. Being part of the iSpartan platform means that there is greater control over privacy options for UNCG users.
Weebly: A commonly used platform with trendy templates that allows one to create a website without coding. Users can simply drag and drop text boxes, media, and images and arrange as needed. Free, but paying for premium service removes built-in Weebly ads.
Wix: Another commonly used platform that supports dragging and dropping elements and media. In general, Wix provides greater control over layout than Weebly; however, it also has a more complicated display and interface. Free, but paying will remove built-in Wix ads.
WordPress: WordPress is an open-source web platform that anyone can install on a server. WordPress.com is a free installation of WordPress that allows users to create a free, but limited WordPress site. The WordPress editor is not drag-and-drop, though it does have easy-to-use tools to input all text and media. WordPress.com is free, but paying will remove ads and certain limitations.