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What are portfolios?

Portfolios have been described as ‘a personal digital collection of information, describing and illustrating a person’s learning, career, experience and achievements’ (European Institute for E-Learning, EIfEL, 2010) but this seemingly univocal definition obscures several factors for diverse types of portfolios:

  • the sorts of artefacts that they contain
  • the nature and duration of contributions
  • and their distinct goals and purposes.

Portfolio thinking and activity is essentially a learning process that consists of students planning, curating, collecting, connecting and showcasing their work and other artefacts, and emphasises reflection and evaluation.

Why would I use portfolios? 

Portfolio activities provide a range of learning opportunities, including:

  1. Critically evaluating and reflecting on individual student work, skills, knowledge and experiences through curation of a portfolio of work.
  2. Creating the context for authentic and programmatic assessment through course-wide application.
  3. Showcasing a curated collection of student work and activities, forming a comprehensive digital resume as demonstration of their capabilities to potential employers.
  4. Improving relevant skills and knowledge domains necessary to foster work readiness and employability.

There has been an increasing presence of portfolios in university curriculum (Hallam, et al 2008) and portfolio activities have been promoted as a way of developing and enhancing graduate employability through the curation of evidence (von Knoskey and Oliver 2012)

Where can I learn more about portfolios?

Find out more about using portfolios, including use cases and examples, in the ‘Using Portfolios in Learning and Teaching’ resource. This resource will also introduce you to PebblePad, Deakin’s eportfolio platform, and help you get started with using portfolios in your teaching

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