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What is it?

A purposeful selection of artifacts together with reflections that represent some aspect of the owner's learning Lorenzo & Ittelson, 2005

From Wikipedia:

An electronic portfolio (also known as an eportfolio, e-portfolio, digital portfolio, or online portfolio) is a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a user, usually on the Web. Such electronic evidence may include input text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. E-portfolios are both demonstrations of the user's abilities and platforms for self-expression. If they are online, users can maintain them dynamically over time. Wikipedia

Or from Cotterill S. J. What is an ePortfolio? ePortfolios 2007, Maastricht

An ePortfolio is a purposeful collection of information and digital artifacts that demonstrates development or evidences learning outcomes, skills or competencies.

The process of producing an ePortfolio (writing, typing, recording etc.) usually requires the synthesis of ideas, reflection on achievements, self-awareness and forward planning; with the potential for educational, developmental or other benefits.

Specific types of ePortfolios can be defined in part by their purpose (such as presentation, application, reflection, assessment and personal development planning), pedagogic design, level of structure (intrinsic or extrinsic), duration (episodic or life-long) and other factors.

What is an Artifact? An artifact can be a paper, a problem set, multimedia, digital photos etc.

What is "folio thinking"? "Folio thinking" promotes self-awareness, motivation, and direction and provides invaluable support to individuals in academic, professional, and social settings.

What is reflection? Reflection is thinking that enables self-awareness, personal and professional growth and improved teaching and learning experiences.

What is an e-portfolio? E-portfolios are personally designed online showcases of your work.

Uses and Benefits

Why would I choose to use e-Portfolios?

  • demonstrate to potential employers, graduate schools, or others that you have the skills you claim to have.

Who is using an e-Portfolio?

  • Entrepreneurs, photographers, designers, urban planners, contractors, teachers, recent graduates, business owners, future employers and students documenting their learning

Academic Uses:

  • Learning or Development
  • Assessment
  • Employment
  • Retention, Promotion or Tenure
  • Certification, Accreditation

Benefits of the e-Portfolio Process (Liz Hamp-Lyons & William Condon 1998, Cambridge 2001) :

  • can feature multiple examples of work: such as drafts of writing over the course of a semester or quarter. Looking at development over time you get a more accurate representation of what students have learned.
  • can be context rich: instead of just seeing the final product or the grade, including the course syllabus, assignment and grading criteria will make the assessment process more accessible. The reader of the portfolio can see the context for learning and how change has happened over time.
  • can offer opportunities for selection and self-assessment: the portfolio can represent evidence of what the student believes to be quality work. Lee Shulman, former President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has talked about the teaching portfolio as a theoretical act. That the act of selecting and determining what is 'portfolio worthy' is an act of theory, an act of personal growth and reflection.
  • can offer a look at development over time: using the technology to visualize what you have learned in ways that you could not have seen if your examples were simply in a stack of papers

For Students

For Academics


UBC e-Portfolio Programs

Student Examples

Here are a few examples of student blogs/e-Portfolios:

External Examples

Get Started

Steps in the portfolio process:

1. Collect - collect evidence and save artifacts that demonstrate your achievements

2. Select - choose artifacts and evidence that best demonstrate your skills

3. Evaluate - ask a peer, a mentor or your advisor to evaluate your portfolio and give you feedback

4. Reflect - reflect on what you've experienced and learned

5. Present - personalize your porfolio and present it

For Academics

If you are considering incorporating e-Portfolios in your course check out the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) article on Effective Practice with e-Portfolios

In this report, they recommend 6 steps for Effective e-Portfolio-based learning:

1. Define – e-Portfolios can mean different things in different contexts. Establish the purpose and objectives of your e-portfolio initiative. Define the issues it aims to address, the likely support needs of the learners and the nature of the learning environment before asking: ‘Which tools, systems or approaches should we adopt?’

2. Understand – e-Portfolio-based learning offers real potential for autonomous and personalised learning. However, a vision for e-portfolios as the hub of student learning will have an impact on pedagogic and other institutional practices. Ask: ‘What kind of learning outcomes do we require from the e-portfolio initiative and what implications will this have for our practitioners, administrative and technical staff?’

3. Prepare – e-Portfolios raise a number of fundamental issues around ownership of data and identity and access management. The embedding of any e-learning tool requires assessment of risks as well as benefits, plus investment in staff training and support. Accessibility, IPR, copyright and other potential legal issues also need to be raised. Ask: ‘Who will prepare the ground?’

4. Engage – e-Portfolio use is a far-reaching initiative that may involve practitioners, personal tutors, administrative, technical and learning support staff, and, potentially, workplace mentors outside the institution. Ask: ‘What are the most effective strategies for engaging and sustaining the commitment of learners, and those involved in supporting learners’ use of e-portfolios?’

5. Implement – Effective e-portfolio use does not occur on any scale without leadership from curriculum managers and practitioner teams. Ask: ‘What are the lessons learnt from the pilots we have run? What are the factors, such as timing or involvement of e-portfolio champions, that might influence the outcomes?’

6. Review – Use a range of methodologies to explore the viewpoints both of learners and practitioners – guidance and reusable templates for learner evaluation of e-learning initiatives have been developed under the JISC Learner Experiences of e-Learning programme.34 Ask: ‘How will we evidence and evaluate the outcomes?’

For Students

What can I put in my e-Portfolio?

  • An up-to-date, employer-ready, professional, master resume.
  • A writing sample, such as a research paper or comparative essay that highlights your writing style, analytical skills, and your ability to form a cohesive argument and defend it with effective and relevant evidence.
  • Media content, such as, podcasts, videos, or presentations that show off your creative flair and technical capabilities.
  • Photos of volunteer events you ran or participated in, or university clubs you are a part of with a brief description.
  • Reflections of previous projects, work experiences or learning activities, that demonstrate skills that you are acquiring.
  • Scholarships, certificates of achievement or qualifications IE: serving it right, first aid, foodsafe, etc.
  • Anything else that you are proud of and shows that you’re: professional, skilled, and hireable.
  • How do you want people to get in touch with you?

How does UBC support e-Portfolios?

UBC supports e-Portfolios by facilitating e-Portfolio workshops, and providing online resources and documentation. Additionally, the WordPress/UBC Blogs platform provides a space where you can develop your ePortfolio.


General Tips

  • Collecting and organizing your documents and portfolio artifacts will give you a better sense on how you want to present your eportfolio.
  • When you add information to the Web remember it is a public place. It is important that you understand the systems privacy controls and understand who can acces you ePortfolio
  • Think broadly when selecting artifacts to add to your ePortfolio. In addition, to showcasing your academic work e-Portfolios can include evidence gained at university, at work or in your personal life.
  • Keep your e-Portfolio up-to-date. It can be difficult to go back through your experiences and reflect on them.

Reflection Tips

The following two frameworks can assist you with your reflections:

1. STAR-L, Situation, Task, Action, Result and Lessons Learned

  • Situation-the context in which the material occurred.
  • Task-What was required of you in this situation?
  • Action-The steps that you took to respond this task.
  • Result-The outcome of your actions. How did your actions contribute to the completion of the task?
  • Learned-What you have learned from the experience?

2. What? So What? Now What?

  • What? Describe context and details of the experience.
  • So what? Explain the significance of the experience in relation to your own practice.
  • Now what? Explain how you will continue personal or professional growth in this area.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Create Your e-Portfolio

  1. Why create an e-Portfolio?
    See Uses and Benefits
  2. Who will be viewing this portfolio and what is it’s purpose? Is the portfolio designed for documenting your learning or highlighting your work experience?
    Click here for a discussion of types of ePortfolios.
  3. Do I have appropriate and interesting media content to illuminate my competencies and artistic capabilities?
    Click here to view an example of a ePortfolio that uses interesting media content
  4. Do I have the correct contact information, phone number, professional email address, phone number with a professional voicemail?
    Click here to view guidelines on professional ePortfolios.
  5. Are my privacy settings in place to ensure my online presence is available for networking and employers while my personal information is protected?
    Click here to read about privacy considerations online.


Portfolio Community of Practice

This community is open to anyone who has developed or is interested in developing a course and/or teaching portfolio, whether on paper or in an electronic format. Seminars and resources are offered in response to expressed needs and interests of the community members; individualized assistance is also available.

More information is available at ctlt.ubc.ca

Online Resources




Student Resources

Copyright Resources


  • Capraro, M. M. (2003). Electronic teaching portfolios: Technology skills + portfolio development = powerful preservice teachers.Permalink.svg Permalink
  • Hallman, H. L. (2007). Negotiating teacher identity: Exploring the use of electronic teaching portfolios with preservice english teachers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(6), 474-485.Ubc-elink.png
  • Hartnell-Young, E., & Morriss, M. (2007). Digital portfolios: Powerful tools for promoting professional growth and reflection. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Ubc-elink.png
  • Herman, L. P., & Morrell, M. (1999). Educational progressions: Electronic portfolios in a virtual classroom. T.H.E.Journal, 26(11), 86-89.Ubc-elink.png
  • Herner, L. M., Karayan, S., McKean, G., & Love, D. (2003). Special education teacher preparation and the electronic portfolio. Journal of Special Education Technology, 18(1), 44-49.Ubc-elink.png
  • Hill, D. M. (2003). E-folio and teacher candidate development. Teacher Educator, 38(4), 256-66.Ubc-elink.png
  • JEFFREY R. YOUNG. (2001). Professors publish teaching portfolios online. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 47(49), A.31.Ubc-elink.png
  • Jafari, A., & Kaufman, C. (2006). Handbook of research on ePortfolios. Hershey PA: Idea Group Reference.Ubc-elink.png
  • Leonard P Herman, & Mark Morrell. (1999). Educational progressions: Electronic portifolios in a virtual classroom. T.H.E.Journal, 26(11), 86.Ubc-elink.png
  • Milman, N. B. (1999). Web-based electronic teaching portfolios for preservice teachers.Permalink.svg Permalink
  • Milman, N. B. (2005). Web-based digital teaching portfolios: Fostering reflection and technology competence in preservice teacher education students. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 13(3), 373-396.Ubc-elink.png
  • Seldin, P., Miller, J. E., & Seldin, C. A. (2010). The teaching portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Ubc-elink.png
  • Stansberry, S. L., & Kymes, A. D. (2007). Transformative learning through "teaching with technology" electronic portfolios. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(6), 488-496.Ubc-elink.png

See Also

Teaching Portfolio

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