Why Portfolios?

Portfolios are dynamic, developmental representations of personal and professional identities on the Web. Now standard practice for many students and instructors, portfolios typically include examples of an individual’s skills and achievements. Yet more than a digital resume, an academic portfolio also demonstrates the author’s ability to reflect upon and synthesize their work, as well as showcase assessments of their work that have been made by others for the purpose of validating its academic merit. According to A Vision for Penn State: A Report of the Blue and White Vision Council (2013, p. 14), portfolios are cited as an aspect of “significant technological change” pertinent to Penn State strategy in a digital (r)evolution.

Food for thought: All eportfolios are websites, but not all websites are eportfolios.

Academic portfolios support personalized, active, and multimodal learning. This means that eportfolios allow learners to tailor their learning experiences to meet their learning needs and aspirations, take ownership of their learning, and integrate learning artifacts produced in multiple creative forms, such as audio, video, image, and text.

Academic portfolios also:

  • Value process, uncertainty, and creative inquiry
  • Situate abstract tasks into authentic contexts
  • Promote digital literacy
  • Facilitate social pedagogy
  • Increase student engagement
  • Make learning visible
  • Catalyze institutional change


Recommended Reading

To learn more about teaching and learning with portfolios we recommend the following selection of open access journal articles:

A Framework for General Education Assessment: Assessing Information Literacy and Quantitative Literacy with ePortfolios

ePortfolios and Audience: Teaching a Critical Twenty-First Century Skill    

Exploration of ePortfolios for Adding Value and Deepening Student Learning in Contemporary Higher Education

The ePortfolio as a Living Portal: A Medium for Student Learning, Identity, and Assessment 

What Difference Can ePortfolio Make? A Field Report from the Connect to Learning Project


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