ePortfolios for Faculty


How do I introduce ePortfolios to my students?

  • Go over the rubric(s) that students and faculty will use in your class, program, or major.
  • Explain to the students the intended learning outcomes for the project.  This may be in the syllabus or in the course description.
  • Tie the skills that students will develop in the as they create digital artifacts for this class to their personal, academic, and professional development, in particular the program learning outcomes and SMC’s Habits of Mind.

Here are some suggestions to help you prepare your students for ePortfolios

Have an "exploration workshop" where students respond to questions:

  • What's the purpose of your ePortfolio?
  • After seeing your ePortfolio, what do you want your viewers to think and know about you?
  • Discuss the difference between the audience for professional online platforms like your ePortfolio versus social online platforms like Facebook. This will lead to good “netiquette.”

Share examples of student ePortfolios from SMC (Note that these were done with an earlier version of Google Sites):

Share examples of student ePortfolios from other colleges, e.g: https://aap.cornell.edu/academics/student-work.

Motivate students by making your expectations clear and by explaining the value of ePortfolios beyond your class.

How can I support my students?

SMC has adopted a very user friendly platform, Google Sites.  Students who've created their site and created their first entry have reported that they need minimal further support in developing their ePortfolios.  That said, you can:

  • Become familiar with Google Sites yourself.  You can drop in or make an appointment at the EdTech Center for more help.
  • See the resources in Getting Help with Your ePortfolio.

What are some ePortfolio learning activities?

Guided Reflective Thinking

Students do not necessarily come to class with the ability to reflect or are aware of their own reflections. Consider prompting students with guided reflection at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. Here are some examples from Penny Light, Chen & Ittelson (2012, p.56):

  • Beginning of the semester: What is reflection? What is action? What do you think we will do to learn about reflection and action in this course?
  • Middle of the semester: Considering our course readings, and learning activities thus far, have your ideas on reflection and action changed? If so, how and why have they changed? If not, why do you think that is?
  • End of the semester: What were the most important things you learned about reflection and action this semester? What learning activities such as discussions and class readings were most significant to you and why?

Analyze samples of previous coursework or previous student ePortfolios

  • Provide students with a rubric that you will use to evaluate the portfolios.
  • Have students review the assignments and materials that students in previous semesters included, and ask them to evaluate whether or not they would make good contributions.
  • Showcase previous ePortfolios and have students use the rubric to evaluate what was done well, and what could have been done differently.
  • Remember to ask current students if you can share their ePortfolios anonymously with future students.

Peer review of ePortfolio drafts

  • Consider having multiple due dates for an organization plan, first draft, second draft, and final draft.
  • Organize peer review sessions for each step in the process.
  • Divide students into pairs or small groups to review ePortfolios.
  • Consider allowing students to produce the first drafts on paper or as written reflections pieces, and make only the final product electronic.
  • Provide enough time between the last feedback session and the final due date for students to make adjustments.

How can I follow up with my students?

After students have begun authoring their ePortfolios, the assignments become more meaningful when instructors:

  • Guide students on how to write brief descriptions and reflect on the work they are sharing (e.g. design or adapt reflective prompts as an assignment allowing students to think about their work, goals, and progress in more depth).
  • Set milestones for accountability (e.g. clear due dates).
  • Create easy ways for students to share their ePortfolio with you and with classmates (e.g.post URLs in a Moodle gallery or a forum, or a shared Google Doc, connect with each other on Google Plus).