Make Learning Transparent
ePortfolios help students make and integrate meaning as they document and reflect on their experiences and process as a learner over time and across multiple courses. ePortfolios support self-directed learning, information and digital literacy, and creative aesthetics in web design. The process of designing and creating an ePortfolio assists students in articulating transferable skills, knowledge, and co-curricular learning. ePortfolios provide a place for students to organize, represent, and contextualize their academic growth and the intersections with their professional aspirations.
Prepare for Professional Life
Exemplary programs using ePortfolios at AppState include Geography/Planning, Nursing, Recreation Management, Rhetoric and Composition, and Sustainable Technology. Many students in these programs start the process of creating a pre-professional ePortfolio during the first year of the their major. Many capstone courses are also using ePortfolio pedagogy to prepare students for graduate school and successful careers. In 2013, more than 4 in 5 employers reported that an electronic portfolio was useful to them in ensuring that job applicants have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their company or organization (It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success Summary, AAC&U). Showcase ePortfolios are intentionally crafted for specific professional audiences, and students can solicit critical feedback from professors, advisors, Career Services, and the University Writing Center before sharing their ePortfolios with professional readers.
Because ePortfolios show student learning over time, they are an excellent tool for curricular assessment at the course, department, and program levels. At Appalachian State University, the exemplary programs listed above use students' ePortfolios to assess learning in individual courses, as well as to evaluate curricular scaffolding. In the Writing Across the Curriculum Program, we use ePortfolios to assess the vertical writing curriculum.