Student Perspectives: ePortfolios

UW Bothell student and Learning Tech Assistant Avalon Willows gives her perspective on ePortfolios:

As a student who has gone through two portfolio classes already, I have been around my fair share of ePortfolio frustration. Any UWB student will agree with me when I say that the process of compiling a portfolio, while technically easy, is very tedious. On top of that, many students just don’t “get” the ePortfolio; the reason for it is just unclear. This causes many students to have feelings of disdain towards the degree requirement.

This is unfortunate, considering that an ePortfolio can be a very useful tool for students. ePortfolios show things that a college transcript or GPA won’t. They showcase the hard work that goes into individual assignments, they reflect on individual learning styles and processes, and of course, they show what fantastic work you have the ability of producing.

Reflection is a vital part of the education process, and ePortfolios allow students to reflect on progress in the beginning, middle and end of their time in college. This allows room for improvement and perhaps the creation of set goals. Personally, when I was going through past assignments to build my ePortfolio, I came across a lot of work that I enjoyed reflecting on. Some assignments I had turned in in such a hurry that I didn’t even realize what great work I had produced. While reviewing other assignments, I often found things I didn’t like—so, I took note and used it for improvement in my future work.

The truth is, even after college, ePortfolios can be useful. Students may be tempted to finish them as a requirement, and forget all about them. However, there are many benefits to hanging on to your ePortfolio and keeping it up-to-date. After building your portfolio at UWB, it can act as a supplement to your resume. Students should know that linking their ePortfolio to things like employment and graduate school applications can be a great way to show your strengths and credibility. Additionally, if a student wishes to create a more career-centered ePortfolio, they have a template to use and experience with putting one together.

While we students aren’t too keen on the idea of ePortfolios at the moment, it’s important to emphasize the end product and long-term benefits of them. An ePortfolio done well and containing powerful work is a great thing to have. If students know that they are working toward something that will be a great asset upon completion, there will be far more enthusiasm towards them. Students shouldn’t look at ePortfolios as irritating graduation requirements, but rather as a personal showcase benefitting them in the long run.