Student Resources

What is an 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. 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 shorthand definition might be that an ePortfolio is a personal learning website. It's a space where you can:

  • Post reflections about what you're learning
  • 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, or 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
  • 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.

HINT: Be sure to save all of 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.

Telling your story, your way

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 to 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) or assignments. Some programs have identified what are known as "signature assignments" that demonstrate your accomplishment of particular learning outcomes. 

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

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 ePortfolios 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.

One of the most helpful lessons I learned was how to write positively and confidently about my abilities and qualifications.

Laura, 2017