MOSEP foundation module/session 1

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More self-esteem with my e-portfolio: Foundation Module
Discovering the power of e-portfolio



After this session the participant will be able to :


After this session the participants

  • have discussed the enablers and barriers of ePortfolios
  • List of ideas on how to use ePortfolio in one's personal practice


The ePortfolio method and different purposes

One of the publications of the last years: The Handbook of Research on ePortfolio from Ali Jafari and Catherine Kaufmann.

In recent years, the interest, work and research on the ePortfolio method and the number of tools for ePortfolios has grown constantly. More and more books, reports and articles about the method and experiences are published. Following, we introduce in origins of the concept, definitions and important processes of the e-portfolio method.

Introduction and definitions

According to the EduMedia Group from Salzburg Research, the following remarks can be made about the origins of the ePortfolio method (c.p. Schaffert, Hornung-Prähauser, Hilzensauer & Wieden-Bischof, 2007, E-Portfolio-Einsatz an Hochschulen: Möglichkeiten und Herausforderungen, , p. 76; referring to Häcker 2006):

The term "portfolio" based on the Italian term "portafoglio", consisting out of "portare" (carry) and foglio (paper/page). As a learning and teaching method, the goals of portfolio work are the documentation and support of the learning processes, of learning results and of competencies. Elements of the portfolio method can be found in reformist pedagogical approaches such as the school journals of Celestin Freinet or the year project work following the ideas of Rudolf Steiner.

If electronic support or media is used for the development, documentation, administration or presentation of portfolios, it is called "e-portfolios", "electronic portfolios", "digital portfolios", or "webfolios" (a web-based portfolio).

When defining e-portfolio, one discovers that different definitions exist. For example, Helen Barrett, a famous supporter of the e-portfolio method, says:

e-portfolios could be defined as “a purposeful collection of student (or teacher) work that illustrates efforts, progress, and achievement in one or more areas over time. An electronic portfolio uses digital technologies, allowing the portfolio developer to collect and organize portfolio artifacts in many media types (audio, video, graphics, text). A standards-based portfolio uses a database or hypertext links to clearly show the relationship between standards or goals, artifacts, and reflections. The learner's reflections are the rationale that specific artifacts are evidence of achieving the stated standards or goals. An electronic portfolio is a reflective tool that demonstrates growth over time." (Barrett, 2004)

In Wikipedia the following definition is used: An electronic portfolio, also known as an e-portfolio, or digital portfolio, is a collection of electronic evidence (artifacts, including inputted text, electronic files such as Word and PDF files, images, multimedia, blog entries and Web links etc.) assembled and managed by a user, usually online. ePortfolios are both demonstrations of the user’s abilities and platforms for self-expression, and, if they are online, they can be maintained dynamically over time. Some ePortfolio applications permit varying degrees of audience access, so the same portfolio might be used for multiple purposes. ( "Electronic Portfolio" , 2007-06-12)

Even though many different definitions of ePortfolios are being used, they all focus on a process that:

Web Resources


Different purposes of ePortfolios

There are different purposes for ePortfolio, e.g. presenting achievement, a tool for active learning, a tool for professional or career development planning (PDP or CDP) or as an assessment tool.

Barrett & Carney (2005) distinguish:

(Barrett, H. & Carney, J. (2005). Conflicting Paradigms and Competing Purposes in Electronic Portfolio Development., 2006-12-12)

Zeichner & Wray (2001) have produced a useful list of the issues and decisions which need to be made about why to construct a portfolio, how to go about it, what to include, and what happens after it is completed. These include:

(Source: Zeichner, K., and Wray, S., (2001). The teaching portfolio in US teacher education programs: what we know and what we need to know. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17 (2001), 613-621.)

The electronic portfolio is based on two organizing documents: learner’s collection of artifacts and learner’s reflections on meeting his/her outcomes, goals or standards.

Your Résumé (CV) area should be divided into two sections:

Web Resources

Video podcasts, providing and over view of ePortfolio developments, recorded at the MOSEP Krakow conference, May 2007:


  • The above videos give good insights into different ePortfolio perspectives and purposes. Try to find out and name the different understandings, definitions, purposes and focuses of the presented ePortfolio approaches!
  • After this, create a list of ideas on how to use ePortfolio in your personal practice
  • Post the List as a Blog Entry in your portfolio

The ePortfolio processes

Below you find an overview about different processes which Jeremy Hieberts extracts as important for portfolio work.

Jeremy Hieberts view on processes of the ePortfolio. (Source:, (C) by Jeremy Hieberts)

Several stages learners would need to go through if they were using an ePortfolio to help them. They would:

There are other ways to differentiate processes.


Watch this Presentation: [the ePortfolio Process ]and look at the picture below.


Discuss in your group these questions:

  • Do you agree with this definition of portfolio processes? If not, why?
  • Have any processes been missed out?
  • Have any processes been included that you think should not be part of the ePortfolio development process?
  • How do these processes compare with those normally followed by your learners who do not use ePortfolios?
  • Find consensus and post your conclusion in your ePortfolio (e.g. as a reflective entry or a blog entry).

Construction of an e-portfolio

A useful list of the issues and decisions which need to be made about why to construct a portfolio, how to go about it, what to include, and what happens after it is completed is the following (Source: Zeichner, K., and Wray, S., (2001). The teaching portfolio in US teacher education programs: what we know and what we need to know. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17 (2001), 613-621.)

Enablers and barriers of ePortfolio

Watching the videos and reading this introduction to the portfolio method, one can easily imagine, that it does not fit to a traditional teacher centred model of learning: The learner is in the focus of the method and he/she is viewed as an active, self directed and self responsible learner. Teachers also get new roles as tutors and coaches, supporting the planning and reflection of learning processes. The portfolio method has direct and indirect influence in the learning culture. There are severals enablers and barriers for the portfolio method, e.g.


  • What might be enablers and barriers to ePortfolio implementation in your situation at school?
  • Think about enablers yourself, discuss it in small groups and document them as a blog-entry
  • Go to the internet, research on possible barries and enablers and post them as a link or as a blog entry

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