The value of an ePortfolio?

This website was inspired in part by a former student who now publishes under the pen name of Mia Aruna and who wrote to me (in March 2011):

By the way, are you still doing those digital portfolios in your classes?  After I graduated those really came in handy.  Every writing/art job I’ve ever applied for required some sort of digital portfolio, so already having prior experience with them really gave me an advantage.  Even though I’m working for myself as an independent cartoonist now (which is awesome), I basically designed my blog to be a fancy looking portfolio in disguise, and it’s working!  I’m generating a steady stream of traffic, I’m getting my name out there, and even generating some income, so thanks for the head start!

You can visit her current site at http://www.seekingliminality.com/

In January 2013, a research group commissioned by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) conducted online surveys of 318 employers whose organizations have at least 25 employees, of whom at least 25% of their new hires have either a two-year or a four-year degree. Among the results: “more than 4 in 5 employers say an electronic portfolio would be useful to them in ensuring that job applicants have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their company or organization.” An overview and the key findings are available here and provide language that would be useful for resume or eportfolio categories as well as for job letters; you can also access the full report via this link.

The winter 2014 issue of Peer Review contained several items on ePortfolios. In particular, Randy Bass wrote on “The Next Whole Thing in Higher Education,” an essay beginning with the observation that ePortfolios are “decidedly not the hottest thing in higher education.”

In his May 1, 2014, “Batson’s Blog” (posted to the AAEEBL site), Trent Batson wrote a response to Bass’s essay that builds upon and reinforces Bass’s main points.

In a January 2015 essay, Batson suggested the various ways in which the concept of evidence-based learning is closely connected to the ways in which learners assemble materials in a digital portfolio. Click here for a PDF version of that essay. 

A February 2013 blog posting to the “Undercover Recruiter” listed the “Top 10 Things to Mention in an Interview.” Don’t miss #6 in that list.

In a 2009 essay entitled “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure,” Gardner Campbell asked the question, “So, how might colleges and universities shape curricula to support and inspire the imaginations that students need?” His answer: provide students with the resources to “build out their digital presences in an environment made of the medium of the web itself.” Campbell’s vision makes a compelling case for why higher education should be moving in this direction.

Catalyst for Learning: ePortfolio Resources & Research is a site hosted by LaGuardia Community College but created by 24 campuses in the Connect to Learning project. This site contains a number of resources focused on ePortfolios in the context of higher education.

The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) has issued a position statement — “Principles and Practices in Electronic Portfolios — whose main focus is on composition, but the principles and practices apply to many possible uses and contexts for ePortfolios.

Darren Cambridge, author of the 2010 study Eportfolios for Lifelong Learning and Assessment, has an essay in the March/April 2012 issue of EDUCAUSE Review for an essay on ePortfolios with an engaging subtitle: “Go Big or Go Home.”

The December 2013 issue of the AAC&U News headlines a story about Santa Clara University, which is exploring how to integrate ePortfolios into their core curriculum with a focus on integrative learning.

My own thoughts about ePortfolios have been heavily influenced by some UC colleagues (such as Lisa Meloncon, Joyce Malek, Rich Robles, George Suckarieh, Sonja Andrus, and Ruth Benander) as well as by external colleagues (such as Kathi Yancey, Darren Cambridge, and Barbara Cambridge). In one way or another, they have all helped shape a two-page document (attached here as a PDF) in which I try to boil down the main things that I know now about ePortfolios.

A conference presentation of mine — at the July 2010 conference of the Association of Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) in Bost0n — provides an overview of ePortfolios at that time within a UC context, seeking further to define a wider faculty-development function for ePortfolios.

Another major overview of ePortfolios, with resources of all kinds, can be found at Dr. Helen Barrett’s site, at http://electronicportfolios.com/

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