November 12, 2018 -- Digital portfolios, also known as ePortfolios, are commonly used for showcasing work to be assessed by a professor for a specific class. According to published research by University Libraries Instructional Design and Training Manager Miguel Nino, academic institutions need to transform their assessment digital portfolio programs into ePortfolios that can be used for their students' career readiness and employment.
In his article, From Assessment to Career Readiness: Revamping ePortfolios for Student Professional Development and Employment, published in the International Journal of Recording Achievement, Planning, and Portfolios, Nino said that assessment digital portfolios are extremely effective in documenting learning and providing evidence of learning outcomes, but are not effective when applying for jobs due to their format, length, and selection of projects. He describes the steps that need to be taken to transform an assessment portfolio into a career portfolio.
"The student should include items, such as design documents, project management plans, analysis documents, presentations, posters and infographics, digital stories, podcasts, research papers and essays, group projects, reports on internships or summer jobs, and a resume," said Nino. "Hiring managers and recruiters only spend seconds browsing application materials, so the career ePortfolio should market the student in a way that quickly gains attention."
Nino also said that the use of reflections in the career ePortfolio will show recruiters why the candidate is the best fit for a position and what assets they can bring to the team. The ePortfolio can also be linked to social media and digital networking to enhance a professional online presence.
"With the right strategies, these ePortfolios can be modified and tailored to be used for career purposes," said Nino. "Career ePortfolios provide evidence of growth, development, and the learning journey of an individual. They are able to tell stories and demonstrate how a person can change due to knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired throughout time."
He said that the reflective component of ePortfolios linked to specific projects makes them true testimonies of how learning can shift the human experience in any direction.
"It is very rewarding to see students discover themselves and be able to market themselves as competent professionals through ePortfolios," said Nino.
Recently, Nino presented at ePortfolios & More: The Developing Role of ePortfolios within the Digital Landscape conference hosted by the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-based Learning and the Centre for Recording Achievement in Dublin, Ireland. Close to 100 international scholars, teachers, and practitioners interested in ePortfolios and authentic learning attended.
His two presentations — Designing Training and a Community of Practice for a Campus-wide ePortfolio Implementation and Lessons Learned from an ePortfolio Student Showcase: A Case Study — described the University Libraries at Virginia Tech's unique systematic approach to the ePortfolio program and its integration with other areas, such as digital literacy and experiential learning.
"My goal was to present programs that we are implementing here at Virginia Tech that can be implemented at other higher education institutions around the world," said Nino.
"It is very rewarding to see students discover themselves and being able to market themselves as competent professionals through ePortfolios," said Nino. "Through my work in the University Libraries, I will continue to share best practices for using this powerful tool to reach beyond the classroom toward career success."