Letter to students

Dear Student,

Have you ever been asked to make something for a course with little to no instructional time given to create such a thing?  And you don’t want to seem out of the loop or stupid, so you frantically search the web for videos on how to make said item.  This may work for simple products like a birdhouse or a hyperdoc, but when there are multiple moving parts or different elements that need to work together, then building it can feel like a daunting mountain of a task.  Especially if there is no support… and you don’t even know where to begin.

Creating an ePortfolio from scratch is an example of said daunting task.  There are a couple of reasons (moving parts) for this:

  1. ePortfolios are more than just a list of accomplishments.  Though content has been already created (or mostly created), organizing the content into a sensible order requires careful thought and a clear purpose.  The purpose needs to be more than “because it is a requirement for the course” for ePortfolios to be meaningful and useful.
  2. ePortfolio creation is also a process of self-growth.  It is an exercise in reflection and critical thinking to develop a greater sense of professional identity.
  3. Websites are the popular choice of ePortfolio platform, but creating one requires some technical knowledge that many students do not have.  Most free website builders offer no tech support, which means many students get stuck with basic formats and struggle to add or place their ePortfolio content the way they imagine it.
  4. Successful ePortfolios effectively have their form (reason 3) integrated with their function (reason 1 and 2).  How a student wrestles with form and function is ultimately how they design their ePortfolio to clearly convey who they are to their intended audience. Many ideas and questions can guide students through this discord, but they are not readily available in one place (until now).

There is a fair bit of academic research that supports the use of ePortfolios. There is no doubt that ePortfolios can be great tools, but it’s easy to lose sight of their value when so much technical learning is required to build one. The goal of this template is to make the theoretical practical.  It aims to take all the positive theoretical underpinnings of ePortfolios and pair it with technical web design instructions so that any student can create a unique ePortfolio without an insurmountable amount of effort, expertise, or expense. It brings the focus back on showcasing you and your work.  You can do this!  We really mean it.