ePortfolios allow students to collect, archive, and publish their work, as well as draw connections among different projects and integrate topics and themes across disciplines and semesters.
An ePortfolio is a digital archive that represents student work over time through a broad range of artifacts.
An ePortfolio might include submitted course papers and projects in a variety of formats, works-in-progress, independent research, reflections on assignments, learning goals, ideas for future scholarship, and links to relevant resources. An ePortfolio can function as a C.V. to share with prospective employers, a venue for sharing academic work with family and friends, a tool for inviting collaboration and feedback, or a private log of academic progress.
Traditionally, ePortfolios have been adopted in teaching and learning to provide a space for students to collect their work and reflect on the connections visible to them. At their most basic, students might use an ePortfolio as a basic curriculum vitae, but an ePortfolio reaches its potential when used to build complex, detailed reflections on scholarly achievements and goals. This reflection can take place textually, visually, or multimodally.
Not only do ePortfolios serve a practical purpose by allowing students to collect, archive, and publish their work, they also help students to draw connections among different projects and to integrate topics and themes across disciplines and semesters. In selecting and organizing work to include in an ePortfolio, students are encouraged to envision the “big picture” of their academic journeys and to reflect on their overall goals and accomplishments. ePortfolios serve both a personal and a public function, helping students to synthesize work for themselves and allowing them to share that work with others.
Additionally, ePortfolios can benefit the university by allowing faculty and administrators to track student progress over time, both individually and collectively.
Reflective lifelong learning is at the core of Georgetown University’s mission. The University’s founding principle to promote intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding has been a constant through our changing times. As our enduring values continue to shape each generation of graduates, we strive to improve the environments that help our students become thoughtful, socially-conscious learners who are responsible stewards of their education.
The Georgetown University ePortfolio Initiative built coherence around three main principles: making reflection an integral part of learning (metacognition), making connections across courses and programs (integrative learning), and highlighting the social component of learning (social pedagogies). The initiative’s focus on principles that are consistent with the University’s ideals and values is expressive of the unique character of the Georgetown University ePortfolio Initiative.
During the initial phase of Georgetown’s ePortfolio Initiative, ePortfolios were already being used in a variety of contexts. For example:
For more examples of ePortfolios and a fuller description of some popular ePortfolio models, please see the Commons page on ePortfolios.
ePortfolios can take a variety of forms, and many different tools can be used to create them. The Georgetown ePortfolio Initiative focuses on two software programs for creating ePortfolios: