E-portfolios are versatile tools and can carry a different meaning to different people. The requirements of the different stakeholders in education (students,executive, academic staff, researchers, staff developers) are likely to vary: assessment, career progression, study placement, CV ..etc.

E-portfolios allow a student or practitioner to easily record, collate and present their learning, development, experiences and achievements in both a structured and engaging way. The contextual mode of achieving this is by that of reflective practice, such as providing a traditional journal or a log book.

Modern terms for e-portfolios (including Middlesex University derivative terms):

  • Personal Development Portfolios, PDP (Mental Health & Social Work, Criminology)
  • Practice Assessment Tool, PATs (Nursing, Midwifery)
  • LASERs (Psychology)
  • Reflective Practice, RPs
  • Evidence Based Practice, EBP
  • Learning Journal, LJs
  • Log book
  • Web Logs or Blogs
  • Digital Portfolio
  • CPD - Continuing Professional Development

They are a digital collections of documents, ideas, reflections. They are versatile tools and can be used for:

  • Collecting evidence and showcasing work for future employers or professional/awarding bodies.
  • Assessment - formative and summative assessment, recording achievements, skills, progression of development, can be liked to evidence supporting them.
  • Appraisals - self or peer appraisal
  • Reflection - personal learning journals, blogs, collection of ideas and constructive feedback given by peers or tutors
  • Supporting learning - students can keep a record of their learning and reflect on it. Tutors can view these records and offer feedback to students. Placement students can keep a journal of their experience. Can be used for project work.

An e-portfolio is more than a collection of digital files because

  • It is presented in a cohesive manner employing links to relevant documents, ideas and reflections.
  • It is presented online in the form of a website. The users do not need any web developer skills as the portfolio presents them with simple templates they can fill out and save.
  • It is multifunctional: facilitates information presentation, reflection and collaborative working.

How is it different from a vle like My Learning?
E-portfolios are personal to students. They are in control of creating and maintaining them and they decide who is allowed to see them. It is a record of their personal development.

Structure of an e-Portfolio

  • User authenticated - users need to log in with an account ID and password
  • an easy-to-use, intuitive interface
  • a visual, publishable web space
  • an inventory/online file store for storing media
  • a storyboarding tool
  • a journalling tool

e-Portfolio Tools

e-Portfolio tools comprise any tool which can help in creating, producing, or even presenting an artifact, asset or whole presentation.

  • Wordprocessor
  • Powerpoint or powerpoint viewer
  • Spreadsheet or spreadsheet viewer
  • database, DBMS, or database report viewer
  • pdf reader
  • a web browser
  • an HTML authoring package
  • scanner
  • digital camera
  • image processing /editing suite
  • camcorder
  • webcam
  • tape recorder
  • digital voice recorder
  • audio processing software

Pedagogical Value and Theory

Personal, lifelong and reflection are key words associated with them.
The e-Portfolio tool itself puts the learner practitioner at the centre of the development of the portfolio. That is, there are no constraints as to what is presented or how. The learner practitioner decides what has been a valuable experience, or learning achievement.

The purpose of an e-Portfolio is to showcase experiences and achievements, with appropriate evidence, not to be the tool that has facilitated the learning, thereby distinguishing it from the similar looking virtual learning environment, VLE. It is also more than a 'competency management system', a label which can easily be levelled against some, if not all, of the above reflective practice tools Middlesex currently uses.

Support and Documentation

A number of relevant resources and training events are under development (for example, on assessment of e-portfolios: http://eportfolioworkshop.middlesex.wikispaces.net/)
For further details please contact Mike Mimirinis at M.Mimirinis@mdx.ac.uk

Resources and External Links

e-Portfolios: key resources

A JISC guide to key resources including:
  • UK and international institutions working on e-Portfolios
  • Surveys, reports and papers
  • Case studies and examples of practice
  • Multimedia, documents and other relevant links

Research papers

Mimirinis, M. (2010) Institutional perspectives on e-portfolios: benefits, conflicts and creating a sustainable learning culture. In Proceedings of Global Learn Asia Pacific: Global Conference on Learning and Technology. Penang Malaysia,17-20 May.

Mimirinis, M. (2010) Assessing Personalised Learning in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities, In Proceedings of Global Learn Asia Pacific: Global Conference on Learning and Technology. Penang Malaysia,17-20 May.

Ward, R. and Richardson, H. (2005) Getting what you want: implementing personal development planning through-portfolio. JISC. Available at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/Guidance_final.doc [17-11-2009]