Electronic Portfolios: Different Models for Different Purposes

Argument for E-Portfolios in STEM
Course Examples, Assignments and Rubrics
STREAMS SPIDER Network Program and Mentoring
Assessment and Deep Learning
Hints for Implementation and References
Different Models for Different Purposes

E-portfolios can serve different purposes. As such, students will reflect on different themes, faculty and peers will provide different types of feedback, and the evidence given in the portfolio will be different.

It is very important to think about what purpose you have in mind for your particular class or as a department before assigning e-portfolio work. If used longitudinally over the course of a few years, portfolio purposes could shift as well – possibly early on the purpose might be skills improvement while later students might be asked to shift the tone and evidence towards what a future employer would like to see. What follows is a lightly adapted table from John Zubizarreta’s book The Learning Portfolio.





Development, reflective inquiry, focus on goals, philosophy of learning

Drafts, journals, online threaded discussions, e-mails, statement of goals, classroom assessments or exams, research notes, lab reports

Job Search

Career preparation, versatile skills, ambitions, potential for future contributions, flexibility, knowledge of technical equipment (lab skills), programming skills

Showcase projects, writing and communication samples, resume’, references, internship evaluations, certifications, reports/logs, computer programs, awards, transcripts, videos explaining use of technical lab equipment, posters or other research presentations

Prior Learning

Mastery of content, readiness for new curriculum and challenges, goals

Products demonstrating skills and competency, references, achievement/placement test scores, interview transcripts

Problem Solving

Critical thinking, creativity, application of knowledge, flexibility, curiosity

Problem-solving logs, lab reports, computer programs, spreadsheet data analyses, engineering / architecture models, examples of solved problems

Field Experiences

Application of knowledge, trained skills, adaptability

Field journals, logs, reports, video/audio recordings, photos, project leader evaluations, grant proposals, publications

Assessment of Achievement

Challenge, risk, creativity, reflection, motivation, self-directed learning, preparation for graduation / professional school, higher-level skills, collaboration, service, leadership, value-added education

First year essays or lab reports alongside capstone or senior level essays, retrospective reflections, papers and lab reports in draft and final stages with feedback and responses, academic presentations (programs, handouts, Powerpoints, posters), service / leadership records, photos, awards, transcripts

Teacher Preparation

Content mastery, philosophy of teaching and learning, creativity, responsiveness to advice

Products demonstrating skills and competency in the discipline, sample lesson plans, explanations of teaching philosophy, recommendations and references, service / leadership records


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