Thursday, May 5, 2011

Developing an Authentic ePortfolio

Did you ever feel frustrated that in school you are supposed to spend all this time studying, taking tests, completing worksheets and handing in reports with no audience beyond the teacher and after years of that all your left with is a pile of tests and papers nobody cares about? School shouldn’t be preparing you for more school. Should be preparing students for the world, but unfortunately, the thing that is most important often falls through the cracks and is replaced by more and more testing and measuring. If you’ve decided to opt out of school and opt into the real world, you’ll have time to begin preparing your ePortfolio where you can share with everyone how great you are!

In the real world ePortfolios are actually just called websites or blogs and the point is to show the world how fabulous you are and what you can do. When you create it here are some of the sections you may consider including.

  • Landing page:
    This is the main page and gives your audience an overview of who you are and what you do.
  • About Me page:
    Give a brief overview of yourself and your talents. You may want this page to have links to pictures of you as well as your resume.
  • What People Are Saying:
    You may want to collect and share what people are saying about you and your work.
  • Work Samples:
    Share samples of your work. You might consider organizing this by types of work or how the work is displayed i.e. photos, videos, animations, podcasts, etc.
  • Content Areas:For an academic ePortfolio you might want to have pages for content areas that you want to highlight i.e. Science, Writing, Math
  • Contact:
    Give people a way to contact you i.e. your email, your Facebook page, your Twitter handle.
These are some general sections that most people in the real world have. When creating your own, check out the sites of experts who share your interests and follow their lead in the parts you like.

 Creating your ePortfolio aka Website or Blog
The first thing you want to do is get a domain name. I recommend doing so though Google since Google Sites is free and easy to use. The domain name will cost you about $10 a year. Here are the directions to set it up through Google. Here is where you get going with Google Apps for free! Here is your guide to starting with free Google Sites. If you want to make your ePortfolio more business/entrepreneurial just look at sites of those you want to be like. If you want it more education focused visit Helen Barrett’s ePortfolio site at


  1. For those folk keen to use ePortfolios for education please try
    which is built on Mahara. Great facility!

  2. I set up my site and blog through google and I love it. Very easy to use. I used sites like folio spaces in college and would have to say that google is the way to go.

  3. I have a FREE ePortfolio site also using mahara. Check it out at

    Mark Carrara

  4. I teach E-Portfolios as part of our career exploration class and I use Wikispaces which is free to educators and students. They have privacy settings as well

  5. Great introduction to a student-centered ePortfolio! I support using tools that give users lifelong skills and an opportunity to build a positive digital identity. In addition to a showcase portfolio, organized as outlined here, I also recommend keeping a blog, reflecting on growth over time. An ePortfolio can be very powerful as a conversation, as well as a presentation. My latest research is on how we can "capture the learning moment" using mobile devices through audio, video, images, as well as text (similar to our use of social networks, but for a different purpose!). I am working on a series of online courses to help teachers use Google Apps to implement ePortfolios.
    - Helen

  6. @Dr. Helen Barrett,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and giving additional smart suggestions. I look forward to continuing to follow your work and learning more from you.

  7. @Mrs Stern,

    I love wikispaces too. Thank you for sharing this great and free "for educators" resource.

  8. Rick Fletcher @TRFletcherMay 14, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I have just returned from a teaching program accreditation visit at a smallish liberal arts school. As part of the accreditation review we looked at all of the portfolios from teacher candidates and recent alums. The portfolios spanned a wide range and offered a direct representation of how we viewed the teacher candidates and alums. We took them very seriously, as will your future employers and evaluators. They are worth the time you invest. Few had active blogs (outside a few course requirements) but I suggest a candidate make it a habit. Several of our state standards include reflective learning for the teacher and a blog can show clear evidence of this important skill that is effective in creating excellent teachers. Always remember that there will be readers - even if it seems unlikely. Take the time to put a good foot forward.