Why are ePortfolios important?

In this video,  one of my gurus Helen Barrett explains the purpose of ePortfolios and how she sees the relationship between digital portfolios and social learning. The full EDX talk is available here. I really like her idea of self discovery through writing one’s own learning narrative. As the full-length video explains, she is often introduced as the grandmother of ePortfolios. Helen pioneered the bPortfolios approach (2009). It is described and evidence of its effectiveness is provided here.  The Seattle Pacific University won a Sloan-C Effective Practice Award for this work in 2011.

I believe that social media introduces additional dynamics which students can harness – notice the variety of sharing options at the bottom of this WordPress blog post for example. These were not around when Helen did her research, although she mentions them in her talk. I am also interested in how different disciplines harness different platforms (Wix, WordPress, Behance, Google Sites, Carbonmade, etc). I do not believe that there is a one-size-fits all model. However, what is common, are aspects of reflection of learning evidence and personal growth, showcasing skills for potential employers, professional development, nurturing digital literacies, a digital archive for life and many more. I am interested to see which aspects lecturers and students find value in based on their positioning within a discourse community and subject culture. The traditional, institutional environment influences the integration of ePortfolios as process and product and I’m keen to explore this in more detail. I smell another thesis in the works…

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