Creating eportfolios as a course project is a good way to engage students in their coursework, if you present the eportfolio as an exercise in digital storytelling–specifically the story of their work and progress. If your institution has a campus-wide deployment of an eportfolio system, such as Epsilen or the Carnegie Foundation’s KEEP Toolkit (see comment below about availability), you can draw on common resources with which to introduce and support your students’ work.
There are a variety of free tools on the web, though, with which you and your students can be creative in crafting eportfolios to suit your course situation. Yours might be an essay-driven course, or perhaps yours requires students to create a lot of graphs and data-driven material. Or yours might focus on research and collaboration. Sometimes its easier to find the tools that work best for you than to reconfigure a template-based system.
Helen Barrett is a name you will run across in your research on eportfolios, and she not only provides expertise on the purpose of such work and lots of links to resources, she puts her money where her mouth is and has created a staggering list of eportfolios using all sorts of tools and methods, so that you have good models to view. Here are some of her resources:
Online Portfolio Tools (with links to models): http://electronicportfolios.org/web20portfolios.html
Portfolio and How-To on WordPress: http://hbarrett.wordpress.com/my-portfolio/
- Dr. Barrett’s Portfolio in a blog format with a special tab on how to create a portfolio in a WordPress blog.
Electronic Portfolios.org: http://electronicportfolios.org/
- This is a gateway site to many of her pages. She’s been at this for almost two decades and her examples are well worth visiting
I have used course portfolios in composition courses, in which students select drafts and graded papers, reflect on the process of creating them, and evaluate their own writing process and progress in a course. It is the truth that I find some of their best writing in their reflections and in their presentation of the portfolio. I have not asked students to use online tools for such a project, but look forward to doing it soon. Now that we can take advantage of more methods of telling stories, using audio, video, and photos, I think the results could be very interesting.
How would you use today’s tools to suggest creating an eportfolio?