Paper-based portfolios have been used in education for many years. More recently, as a majority of materials created and used by staff and students in their academic work is born digital, the ePortfolio has emerged as an authentic and more effective option, allowing portfolio owners to curate and manage their digital footprint and identity across multiple thresholds, using a variety of media. ePortfolios can foster a mode of learning and assessment that is student-centred and promote critical thinking and reflection by putting an onus on students themselves to demonstrate how their work meets the stated learning outcomes of a programme of study.
For staff, ePortfolio use can promote a new approach to thinking about curriculum and digital literacy, opening up paths to new forms of pedagogy and knowledge previously difficult to incorporate in traditional modes of teaching and assessment. However, while such benefits are acknowledged within the sector, the formal deployment of ePortfolios has been slower across academic programmes.
Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Hibernia College, with the support of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, have worked together on a six-month project entitled An ePortfolio strategy to enhance student learning and assessment, and staff professional development. This project has been funded by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2016 (Building Digital Capacity).
This project seeks to create an ePortfolio framework that will encourage and enable academic staff to incorporate ePortfolios into their programmes, in order to empower students, allow for more authentic forms of assessment and foster a student-centred approach to learning. The development of this framework will include consideration of appropriate ePortfolio organisational principles and reflective approaches, the production of exemplars and guidelines, and the exploration of ePortfolio systems and models appropriate to the higher education and student context. Resources, guidelines, exemplars and training materials to support these approaches will be created and made available on this website.