What is an ePortfolio?


screenshot of ePortfolio

If you're an undergraduate student, chances are good that you'll be asked to prepare at least one ePortfolio during your time at IUPUI. (Most graduate programs that use ePortfolios ask students to develop one cumulative portfolio as they progress through the program.) The Electronic Personal Development Plan (ePDP) you create in your First-Year Seminar is designed to be used throughout your undergraduate experience--goals and planning, academic materials, community connections, and evolving resume--so be sure to take advantage of it.

Electronic portfolios fill many purposes, but a short-hand definition might be that an ePortfolio is a personal learning website. It's a space where you can (or may be assigned to):

  • place copies of assignments for future reference,
  • post reflections about what you're learning (usually written, but might be photographic, video, musical, and/or visual arts),
  • keep your educational and career goals in front of you as you monitor your learning progress,
  • pull together what you learn in a classroom or online course, from study abroad or service learning, from undergraduate research or internship, from employment or volunteer work, from student-organization leadership, to see patterns, make connections, and articulate (for yourself and others) what your college learning experiences add up to,
  • share what you're learning with friends and family,
  • keep information at hand to help your advisor provide informed guidance or help a professor write a letter of recommendation, and
  • create a showcase that demonstrates what you've learned to graduate school admissions committees or prospective employers.

Some professors use ePortfolios as an organizing platform for assignments, reflection, and feedback within a single course. For example, a writing class might have you create a portfolio record of revisions or different types of writing. Some IUPUI undergraduate research programs use ePortfolios to help you keep track of your lab work and organize research results. Some degree programs will ask you to start an ePortfolio early in the major and complete it in your senior capstone; others will introduce an ePortfolio capstone to encourage you to demonstrate and reflect on what you've learned.

Often, ePortfolios you create for different purposes can be merged, and even if formats are different, you can simply cut and paste or link rather than having to reinvent previous work. Several of the ePortfolios in the Gallery illustrate ways to draw on multiple ePortfolios. HINT: Be sure to save all your important assignments, your favorite or most meaningful pieces of work, and photos or journals from experiences with student organizations, service learning, etc. You can use your Box account or an app like Dropbox to store items in the cloud or keep them on a thumb drive: doing both is a good idea.

ePortfolio screenshote

Your professors, advisors, and mentors assign work with ePortfolios because they want to help you dig deeper, engage thoughtfully in your own learning, and see how the different aspects of your education connect to one another. ePortfolios also give you an opportunity to be creative and learn how to compose online communication responsibly and professionally.