Documentation:CTLT Resources/Selected TL Topics ePortfolios
What is an e-Portfolio?
This can be a source of confusion. Is an e-Portfolio just a resume on steroids? Or is it a conceptual understanding, what is often referred to as “Folio Thinking”? We define e-Portfolios as personalized, web-based collections of work, responses to work and reflections that are used to demonstrate key skills and accomplishments for a variety of contexts and time periods.
Strictly speaking, an e-Portfolio isn’t an e-Portfolio if it doesn’t contain reflections and isn’t shared. But as with most things, when we speak too strictly, we are quickly handed an exception. Indeed, some people have a very-unreflective CV online and they still call it an e-Portfolio. So, what is an e-Portfolio?
The term ‘e-portfolio’ can be used to refer to any of these things (and more):
- a website that features your teaching philosophy and CV, or
- a collection of your work and reflections on that work that you keep on your computer at home, or
- a site, like iWebFolio, that allows you to share feedback and e-Portfolios with a network of people.
Your e-Portfolio could be a showcase or a private area of reflection. But e-Portfolios can be much more than just 21st century resumes; they’re opportunities to build community, and improve and reflect on your practice.
What is a teaching e-Portfolio?
A teaching e-Portfolio is a collection of your best work as an instructor, and will often include items like:
- Your teaching philosophy
- A list of courses taught, with numbers of students, etc.
- Lesson plans
- Awards you’ve received
In other words, it has some similarities with UBC CV, in that it does showcase your training, accomplishments and skills, but is more personal, more professional- and personal-growth oriented. Again examples are worth a thousand words. You may also find Teaching Portfolio Preparation Guide useful.
Who would use one?
Anyone who is interested in reflecting on their teaching with the aim of becoming a better teacher. It may also be useful for those seeking promotion or tenure; it is always important to show what you are doing to improve your teaching.
How can I get started?
Send a message to Lucas Wright at email@example.com and he can discuss with you possible approaches and tool options. You can also attend an e-Portfolio seminar regularly offered by CTLT for an idea of the scope of an e-Portfolio, and some suggestions about how to start collecting and sorting your artifacts.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of an e-Portfolio compared to a paper-based portfolio?
The advantages of an e-Portfolio are generally considered to be:
- portability – you can access it from anywhere, unlike an often-sizeable paper copy
- media-richness – the ability to easily include graphics, audio, video and so on
- ease of repurposing – you can easily create several versions of your e-Portfolio for several different audiences
- control of access – you control who sees it, and for how long
- organizational ability – e-Portfolios are great for organizing a large amount of information, and keeping it all in one place
The disadvantage of a some ‘template-based’ systems (such as iWebFolio 2.0) is:
- lack of customizability – the style can be rigid and difficult to customize
The disadvantages of a teaching e-Portfolios in general are:
- possible lack of acceptance as promotional tool – your department may not know much about or accept a teaching e-Portfolio as part of a tenure/promotion process, although this is changing as more people learn about e-portfolios
- lack of printability – yes, you can print from most applications , and it looks acceptable, but it isn’t as easy as it should be, and MS Word still does it better
We’re not suggesting that you should or should not create a teaching e-portfolio. That’s up to you. Yes, it’s a commitment, but the reward is, we believe, a tool for improving your teaching. If you’re curious, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can someone steal my work?
- if you’re using WordPress, you can set the access permissions for the people you share your e-Portfolio with, and
- make sure you share your e-Portfolio with people you can trust.
We haven’t heard of any examples of malicious use of e-Portfolios so far, so it’s likely you’ll be okay.