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An eportfolio is a collection of electronic files (i.e. text, image, sound, video, hypertext) about individuals and their work, projects and successes which are then curated for presentation. Traditionally, electronic portfolios duplicate real world portfolios and give users opportunities to showcase their ideas, philosophies and projects. In academia, ePortfolios are used in conjunction with personal learning plans (PLPs) as an electronic record of accomplishments and achievements, and even a benchmark for continued development.
In the United States, the Connect to Learning (C2L) network brings together eportfolio practitioners to share resources and research. The initiative is a rich resource and includes a framework for design, inquiry, reflection and integration focused on assessment, design and professional development. In the library arena, eportfolios are used to measure the value of information literacy and student progress in information programs (Diller and Phelps, 2008; Florea, 2008). Increasingly, social media allows eportfolio users to share their work and to comment on their peers. Eportfolios increase opportunities for collaboration by being very explicit about your goals. An ePortfolio can be integrated into a user’s profile (e.g. Posterous) or more private with logins required (e.g. eportfolio.org).
Foti and Ring (2008) propose that the “find, refine, design and bind” workflow in eportfolios are ways to build on the theory of constructive learning. They recognize that eportfolios are extensions of identity and argue for a reframing iPortfolios. Since virtual identity is a major element of eportfolios, this is a compelling idea. Hiradhar and Gray suggest that the principles of mixed (or hybrid) learning can be applied to eportfolios so that users can benefit from undertaking formal learning in informal settings. Many educational programs include eportfolios as a part of a personal development program (PDP) and in order to foster greater personal attachment and relationship to work and learning. This, it is suggested, provides learners with professional confidence in their futures (e.g. Luchoomun, McLuckie, and Van Wesel 2010).
Numerous ePortfolio platforms are available, including some that are integrated into learning management systems such as Desire2Learn and Blackboard. Independent third-party ePortfolio platforms used by educational institutions include the following:
International Journal of ePortfolio
School Librarians e-portfolios
Academic Librarians e-portfolios
Archivists/Special Librarians e-portfolios
Public Librarians e-portfolios