At last year’s AAEEBL conference, a new initiative was founded: Writing The Field Guide to ePortfolio. The writing part is accompanied by a series of webinars. The Field Guide is geared towards administrators and decision-makers in higher education. In essence, it’s going to be an executive briefing on ePortfolio and thus a fairly short but information-packed and valuable publication.

Why a Field Guide?

Primarily, the question “How” is going to be answered to support them in realizing the concrete potential of ePortfolios and their place in their institution not just for one department or a small group of students but at scale across the entire campus.

To answer “How”, the Field Guide author team is looking at the following areas to be covered in 12 chapters (working titles):

  1. What does it mean to move to a portfolio-based institutional learning ecology?
  2. Redesigning learning: ePortfolios in support of connected, social, and reflective pedagogies
  3. Authentic learning and teaching
  4. Reflective practice and folio thinking
  5. Learners and the digital era: Digital identity; literacy in digital forms
  6. ePortfolios and institutional challenges: Assessment, outcomes, engagement, retention, completion, quality
  7. New ways to demonstrate achievements: Warranting evidence
  8. Transition to career and career development
  9. Learning analytics and the learner
  10. Creative teaching portfolios
  11. Internationalisation and global learners
  12. How important is the technology

Career portfolios

I chose to be part of chapter 8 and look into portfolios preparing students for their career and support career development. There are four other collaborators on my team from institutions of higher education in Australia and the U.S.A.:

The five of us have the challenge to condense our ideas into three pages for the Field Guide (yes, that includes abstract and references and everything else!). Fortunately, we can link to more extensive resources and case studies elsewhere online. Some of them may sit on the companion website for the Field Guide that is going to be set up.

Our timeline is short (chapter drafts are due by the end of March) and our ideas are many. Currently, we are in the gathering phase, which will come to a conclusion soon. We decided to focus on the following areas for the gathering of articles, research and supporting arguments:

  • Why do we do what we do, i.e. work with ePortfolios?
  • Are employers demanding ePortfolios?
  • Do we need our résumé anymore?
  • Where do authentic experiences come to play?
  • How is the voice of the student translated?
  • What about assessment as work-integrated learning?
  • How is career development and not just career entering supported?
  • What about branding – self- and institution branding, self-marketing and promotion?
  • How do graduate attributes fit in?

These are a lot of areas to cover off in three short pages. During our current brainstorming phase, we may consolidate a bit more and see what we’ll include eventually.

How you can help

While we already have a good amount of information and resources, if you have research or studies or surveys that could support our writing in the above mentioned areas, please let us know in the comments.

For example, we’ve come across a couple of employer surveys from 2008 and 2013 in which they were asked about their position towards ePortfolios. If you conducted your own survey at your institution or with employers recently (within the last two years) it would be great if you could share it. Did you conduct a survey amongst students or graduates or even alumni on their use or perceptions of a career portfolio? Does your career services department have evidence of portfolios supporting students entering the workforce or continuing at university?

Or if you prepared a document for your own administration in which you highlighted reasons for implementing career portfolios and have research for us to look into, please let us know.

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