The ePortfolio is typically met with a collective groan from Salt Lake Community College students, but ePortfolio coordinator Kati Lewis wants to change that.
Although every SLCC student is required to have an ePortfolio, there seems to be some animosity toward creating and using ePortfolios.
There are a variety of opinions as to why ePortfolios are unpopular: they are time-consuming and difficult, they are not applicable to their specific profession and aren’t useful, they are a waste of study time, employers may look at them as only showcasing strengths and hiding weaknesses, and more.
Why ePortfolios matter
When used effectively, Lewis believes ePortfolios can allow students to create a learning space that is not possible in any other format.
“It allows students to communicate in all of the different ways that humans communicate,” Lewis says.
Lewis argues that paper portfolios and written assignments can’t fully utilize different types of communication methods: textual, visual, spatial, oral and gestural.
“The ePortfolio provides anyone with the space to communicate in all of the ways that we communicate,” Lewis adds.
Making connections, one assignment at a time
Lewis says ePortfolios give students the capability to reflect continuously on their work throughout each semester in all classes rather than just reflecting at the end of the semester. ePortfolios allow students to literally connect their learning.
As students progress in school, they can use the digital platform to find relevant links between assignments.
“[An ePortfolio] allows students … to connect their learning, and understand … how that technology can help them make those connections in ways that they might not [have been able to],” Lewis says.
Benefits of the ePortfolio
There are many uses for a well-constructed ePortfolio that extend beyond the classroom.
With summer just around the corner many new jobs will be opening. Students with ePortfolios can use them to showcase what they are capable of in online resumes. Employers may also consider applicants who went the extra mile with their portfolio.
If students work hard and put some thought into their ePortfolios, the long-term pros can outweigh the short-term cons.