When deciding what type of ePortfolio you want your students to create and maintain, it’s best to first decide what its function will be. Much like resumes, they should be tailored and include pertinent information for the desired outcome. However, there are still certain components that are deemed essential to incorporate.
Building a Better ePortfolio
1 - Biography
Usually written in the third person, the bio is a condensed narrative version of a resume, but infused with more personality. It should include: name, contact info, email address, and educational background. If pertinent, incorporate job details such as current work position, a summarized description of professional background, experiences, and accomplishments. Also add a brief description of personal interests and activities, and remember to keep all info current by updating the section regularly.
2 - Educational Background
Use this section to expand on any educational information mentioned in the bio, with qualifications listed in reverse chronological order (i.e., from most recent to least recent). Each entry should include the name and location of institutions attended, degrees, majors/minors, and the actual or anticipated date of graduation (month and year). This is also the place to list honors/awards, training certificates, publications, professional licenses, conferences/workshops, study abroad programs, internships, and scholarships. And don't forget any relevant projects, coursework, testimonials, transcripts, continuing education, presentations, and professional affiliations/memberships.
3 - Professional Experience
This section will focus on how experiences and skills are well suited to the ePortfolio owner’s professional goals, along with the careers he/she is seeking. Just like in the educational section, list jobs in reverse chronological order. For each position, include the names and locations of employers, job titles, dates of employment (month/year), and the job's duties and responsibilities. Keep the layout consistent and simple so that everything is easy-to-read. Document certificates pertaining to additional training and workshops, certification of technical skills, awards/honors, resume (scanned), transcript, volunteer work and community services, major projects, publications, internships, communication, public speaking, and foreign language skills. Even if you're a student who hasn't yet started your career, you'll still want a place to share your professional experience when you do.
4 - Performance and Skills
Displaying evidence of performance and skills will help make an ePortfolio really stand out. Start by naming the skill area, followed by the knowledge or personal traits that contribute to the individual’s success in that skill area. Also include background and specific experiences that demonstrate application of the skill. Always keep the ePortfolio's purpose and audience in mind when deciding what activities to include. Some excellent examples are: voluntary work, internships, technical skills, writing skills, communication skills, study abroad, foreign languages skills, sports participation, military service, clubs involvement, leadership positions, and professional affiliations/memberships.
5 - Evidence of Competencies
Regardless the purpose or type of ePortfolio being created, it should always include evidence of competence in the areas of expertise being highlighted. This allows anyone viewing the ePortfolio to understand the range of skills, knowledge, and abilities of the creator. Each artifact included should have a purpose, overview of goals, social importance, and expected learning outcomes. Reflection will also help make the ePortfolio more meaningful. Examples of artifacts are publications, electronic presentations, audio and video projects, assignments, research papers, writing samples, a copy of your resume—basically any materials that can be added to the ePortfolio to represent knowledge and show a proof of proficiency.
6 - Awards and Honors
Since ePortfolios are mainly used to represent capabilities and competence in a specific field, it's important to show any honors and kudos received, awards and accolades won, certificates and training taken, and promotions or performance appraisals. Memberships in professional or educational organizations should also be highlighted.
Share in the comments the ePortfolio components you've found essential.
Photo Courtesy of: Antonio