Skip to main content


ePortfolios are digital collections of course, program, or co-curricular student work samples (artifacts)  that represent their knowledge, skills, and experiences. Their learning can be captured through a wide variety of formats, including text, multimedia presentations, video, or sound.  In most cases, the students' artifacts are accompanied by reflective statements that draw connections among prior learning, what they have learned recently, internship or workplace activities, their personal goals and more.

ePortfolios allow programs to assess one or more program learning outcomes. Programs can either specify which types of artifacts students should include in their ePortfolios, or they may ask students to select one or more examples of the work they believe shows mastery of particular learning outcome(s). Programs that ask students to select their own work samples and to complete a reflection upon their learning can enrich student learning even further; this process invites students to take ownership of their learning, promotes deep learning, and stimulates them to make connections between their work and real-world applications. 

Examples in Practice

ePortfolios work equally well at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as the following two examples show. 

The Communication Department at SCU has an ePortfolio requirement for all graduating seniors. It is designed to meet two program assessment goals:

  1. As one method for students to demonstrate their own learning mastery with three program learning outcomes (two from a list and one required of all) associated with more advanced work. They select two course learning artifacts (projects, assignments, etc.) for each of their chosen outcomes. 
    1. Analyze how communication maintains power and privilege, relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion
    2. Analyze the ethical dimensions of communication and form judgments and practices based on evidence and values.
    3. Demonstrate research skills including the ability to formulate research questions, interpret, and evaluate communication research.
    4. Create oral, visual, or written communication based on awareness of diverse perspectives, contexts, and/or social identities.
    5. REQUIRED: Design communication that fosters a more just, humane, or sustainable world. 
  2. The program analyzes the required reflection essay and other artifacts to assess its final learning outcome (LO 8): graduates will “Integrate, synthesize, and reflect on how the study of Communication prepares for life-long learning and active civic engagement in a diverse world.”
  3. Using a Rubric, a team of faculty assesses student learning of LO 8 on a four-point proficiency scale. They can also use rubrics specific to each of the other LOs to assess student work, in addition to using course-embedded assessment. 

The Graduate Program for Pastoral Ministries similarly uses an ePortfolio as the assessment method for its masters’ program. Students select two artifacts drawing from different classes that demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes in four areas: Theological Foundation, Pastoral Proficiency: Servant Leadership: Diversity Fluency. Program faculty assess student learning in each of these areas using the program’s rubrics. ePortfolios are the principal means of assessing student learning, and the program recognizes the benefits of using this method when students may take a varied path through the program. Creating the ePortfolio also provides students agency in making visible their own learning journeys and accomplishments. 

ePortfolios are also used by co-curricular programs to provide a method for students to reflect on their learning and for assessment. At Loyola University in Chicago, a requirement of all Engaged Learning courses or learning experiences is for students to complete a learning portfolio as a demonstration of the university’s commitment to engaged learning. These may include service-learning courses, internships, research, or other designated courses. Regardless of the learning experience, students build a digital collection of their demonstrated knowledge, competencies and skills represented through learning artifacts. Within the portfolio, students are also asked to engage in critical reflections and integrate their learning across course concepts, academic disciplines, and co-curricular experiences.