"Building an ePortfolio has allowed me to go back and think about my experiences at IUPUI. This has led me to find purpose in everything I have done or am still doing. Listing these skills along with interesting thoughts and life-lessons has helped me build something that displays who I am and allows me to express myself with no word-limits." - Anjali Prakash, 2015
ePortfolios are most commonly assigned as requirements for a course, undergraduate major, or graduate/professional degree program. Some ePortfolios are intended to encourage you to document and reflect on experiential learning opportunities like study abroad, undergraduate research, or student organizations. You may be expected to include specific pages (e.g., About Me, Resume, Career Goals) and/or assignments. Some programs have identified what are known as "signature assignments" that demonstrate your accomplishment of particular learning outcomes.
None of this assigned work prevents you from exercising creativity! You control the look and feel of your ePortfolio; Taskstream has several layout themes and color schemes from which to select. You add images, captions, and links meaningful to you--your ePortfolio can be as individual as you are, even within the assigned structure. Ultimately, your ePortfolio or ePDP will tell your story as a learner and as an emerging professional. By the time you graduate, you'll probably have more than one ePortfolio you can tap to help convey to graduate schools or prospective employers what you've learned and what you can do.
A cornerstone of ePortfolio work is reflection. This isn't the journaling you did in eighth grade or the kind of bare-your-soul revelation demanded by psychotherapy. It is the serious intellectual work of making connections among learning experiences, of thinking about your learning, and thinking about your thinking. Reflection helps you make your learning your own and integrate all of your learning during this intensive, extensive experience called college. Take reflection seriously, and you'll reap the benefits. Students have told us many times that the reflection they did in putting together their ePortfolio allowed them to explain more clearly to others (like job interviewers) what they had learned and what they could do (including construct a website). Employers report that they're impressed when applicants provide a URL for an ePortfolio.
It is possible, especially for grad students, that no one at IUPUI will ever require you to prepare an ePortfolio. Consider doing one on your own! You can link to Taskstream through the course navigation menu of most Canvas sites. If you don't yet have a Taskstream account, you'll be prompted to create one; if you need help with that or with developing your Web Folio, follow the instructions in KBase.
There are also several online web authoring platforms--like Wix, Weebly, and WordPress--that provide free site hosting (or upgrades for modest annual fees) and that are fairly easy for a novice to use. In some IUPUI programs, students are allowed to use these other tools. The Student Resources help page includes links to several blogs that provide advice on getting started with these tools.
Whatever platform you use, assigned or not, keep in mind that building an ePortfolio is also an opportunity for you to begin learning how to manage your online identity as an emerging professional. Carefree use of social media is fun, but be aware that employers and colleges increasingly look up prospects on the Web before an interview or before admitting or hiring. In addition, it's important to learn responsible use of others' work in online contexts as well as in research papers. Your ePortfolio can be the basis for establishing the professional web presence you'll want people to see when they search. You'll find some tips in the Resources page about this topic as well.
In the meantime, take advantage of the opportunity to jump in, get started, and keep improving your ePortfolio. There's no better time than the present!
"I feel like each portfolio is very different in its scope; however, they can also effectively be integrated into something that is cohesive and interesting." -- Ethan Joll, 2015
"The portfolio allows me to build a professional brand of my experiences and expertise." -- Margo Foreman, 2015
"The questions I answered deepened my understanding of myself and helped me understand how my strengths relate to my career choice. My ePortfolio enhanced my motivation to succeed at IUPUI." -- Grant Gish, 2015