DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Definitions of ePortfolios

Collect, Select, Reflect, and Connect











  • A collection of purposefully organized artifacts that support retrospective and prospective reflection to document, augment, and assess growth over time.
    (Helen L. Chen, Stanford University)


  • Portfolios can   1.  feature multiple examples of work 
    2.  be context rich 
    3.  offer opportunities for selection and  self-assessment 
    4.  offer a look at development over time.

    (Hamp-Lyons & Condon, 1998, Cambridge, 2001)


  • The digital portfolio provides a multimodal venue for learners to document and reflect on the learning process and turn it into knowledge. The tool enhances the ability to make learning connections between other academic, professional and personal experiences. Reflecting and connecting facilitate self-assessment and promote self-determined learning behaviors. The learning becomes real and the learner is in control. Over a lifetime, the digital portfolio becomes a snapshot of learning connections, transitions, growth and accomplishments. It becomes the learner’s legacy of learning how to know and knowing for future generations. (Nancy Wozniak, Stony Brook University)

Types of eportfolio

  • Learning (developmental): demonstrate the advancement and development of student skills over a period of time. They are considered works-in-progress and are student-driven (the student is in control) and include both self-assessment and reflection/feedback elements. The primary purpose is to provide communication between students and faculty.
  • Assessment (course and program): demonstrate student competencies and skills learned in a course or program. They may be end-of-course or program assessments primarily for evaluating student performance and are faculty-driven. The primary purpose is to evaluate student competency as defined by program standards and outcomes.
  • Showcase: demonstrate exemplary work and student skills. This type of portfolio is created at the end of a program to highlight the quality of student work.
  • Career (including Teaching):  demonstrates career specific accomplishments, talents, abilities, activities, and attitudes for job searches and promotions.  The career eportfolio can be used as a professional branding tool.
  • Hybrids: Most portfolios are hybrids of the types of portfolios listed above.
  • Personal Reflection -  a collection of personal works, works in-progress, and reflections for the owner’s benefit.


Self-reflection is an important component of electronic portfolio development. If you do not require participants to self-reflect on the artifacts they add to the portfolio, they will not gain from the rich learning experience that e-portfolio development can provide!  Helen Barrett, an expert in the field of e-portfolios, would say "a portfolio without standards, goals and/or reflection is just a fancy resume (or website), not an electronic portfolio."


Nancy Wozniak, Learning Architect and ePortfolio Project Manager
The Faculty Center, Stony Brook University

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.