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Why it’s time you built an ePortfolio

An electronic portfolio, also known as digital portfolio or ePortfolio, is a purposeful collection of information and digital products or artifacts that provide evidences of your learning outcomes, skills, competences or qualifications. According to Dr. Helen C. Barrett from the University of Alaska, "electronic portfolios are much more than innovative resumes or scrapbooks". They are a "reflection, evolution of thought, and professional development."

Importance of ePortfolios in the modern world

Today, many people use multimedia tools like Facebook, Twitter and SMS texting to convey messages. These tools are informal channels that allow people to conveniently get their point across. The electronic portfolio, on the other hand, is a formal tool that allows you to share specific pieces of information or parts of your portfolio online.

Whether by typing, writing or even recording, you need to build your own ePortfolio to leverage the Internet and convey your message effectively to a wider audience on the World Wide Web. Unlike a traditional portfolio, an ePortfolio encourages a deeper level of feedback and dialogue based on the information your make available online.

Cotterill SJ., senior research associate from the University of Newcastle, while speaking on the importance of ePortfolios at the ePortfolios 2007 conference in Maastricht dubbed What is an ePortfolio? says, “ePortfolios are interoperable (for example with learning environments, recruitment services or for the migration of portfolio data to support continuity in life-long learning)."

Producing an ePortfolio

On producing an ePorfolio, Mr. Cotterill says, "ePortfolios can be produced using simple tools (such as presentation software or blogs) but more typically using specialisted Portfolio applications that contain a level of structure (pedagogy and learning outcomes/skills) with a high level of customisation for specific contexts and support for multiple purposes.”

In other words, you not only need tools to build a good ePortfolio, but also knowledge of how the web works. Specifically, you need to synthesis ideas, reflect on achievements, sharpen your self-awareness and plan forward when producing your eProtfolio, keeping in mind the potential for developmental, educational and other benefits.

Cotterill notes that “Specific types of ePortfolios can be defined in part by their purpose (such as presentation, application, reflection, assessment and personal development planning), pedagogic design, level of structure (intrinsicor extrinsic), duration (episodic or life-long) and other factors."

The take away

The world is fast changing and new norms are emerging thanks to advances in information technology. There is a push to free people from paper and traditional portfolios and integrate technology into the training of young professionals. You'll benefit if you get in on the front end of new norms and build your own ePortfolio. The ePortfolio is already the tool of choice for formally conveying evidences of competence, skill and qualifications to the world.

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