Using Portfolios in Your Program
Learning portfolios are a great way for students to document their progress and learning outcomes throughout their time in your programs.
They are ideal for majors or programs with capstone courses -- students have the ability to compile and reflect upon their experiences as they progress, and have a wealth of information to draw on when they reach the capstone level. Portfolios also provide an excellent platform for students to present their final projects or theses creatively.
If you are interested in incorporating learning portfolios in your college, department, major, or program, please contact us. We'd be happy to help you get students set up and provide you with some pedagogical tools to help you implement portfolios! You can view more information on templates for your program here.
Learning portfolios aren't simply a web showcase for student work -- they are tools for active learning. Rather than an electronic resume (such as LinkedIn) or a place to post photos and videos (such as Facebook), a good portfolio includes reflection, demonstrates integrative learning, and provides evidence that a student has achieved a particular learning outcome or goal.
The benefits of learning portfolios for faculty, colleges, and departments include the following:
- Faculty can see student progression over time
- Learning portfolios allow faculty to determine individual participation in group projects
- Reading responses within the portfolio allow faculty to get a glimpse into student reactions as well as the opportunity for developing longer papers/assignments
- Learning portfolios can make student learning more visible when assessing specific programs
- Portfolios allow for qualitative assessment, alongside traditional quantitative assessment
- Some studies have indicated that learning portfolio usage correlates to a higher rate of retention
- The institution can identify areas of existing high achievement and those that need improvement
- Student and faculty comments allow for qualitative assessment of curriculum and pedagogy
- Portfolios facilitate engaged and active learning among students
Educational groups and associations around the world are beginning to gather data and share best practices on portfolio work. Here are some additional resources (courtesy of Virginia Tech):
- Dr. Helen Barrett's Electronic Portfolios site
- The International Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research (INCEPR)
- EPAC (Electronic Portfolio Action and Communication) Community of Practice
- EIfEL (European Institute for E-Learning)
- MOSEP (More Self-Esteem with my E-Portfolio)
- The Teaching and Learning Technology Group
- American Association of Colleges and Universities VALUE-Plus
- Europortfolio Resources Page
- MERLOT ePortfolio Portal
- eFolio in the UK
- Joint Information Systems Committee ePortfolios Feature