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Portfolio Rationale

Why would you want to create an electronic portfolio for a course or your EV major? Perhaps the best explanation can be provided by successful programs at other universities, where students have created them in the past. A few examples are given below:

Duke University

The Duke Student Portfolio is your space to create an ongoing record of your original work and accomplishments and to present yourself professionally. An electronic portfolio is an organized, purposeful, collection of your personal achievements, course work, and projects. Here you can archive text, audio, and video files to include in online presentations or to display on the World Wide Web to potential employers and others inside and outside of the Duke Community. You are the owner of your portfolio, and you decide what to archive and what to make available for viewing on the Web. Think of it as your own virtual museum with you as the curator.

The Duke Student Portfolio is the place to put your talents on display!


Skills Portfolio

Why Start A Portfolio?

  • Increases your confidence and planning in Senior Year.
    Seniors have consistently reported being anxious and unsure about how to develop a focus for employment or graduate school planning.
  • Allows you to analyze your Dartmouth experiences so you can describe them.
    Seniors report wishing that they had identified earlier their accomplishments, skills acquisition and interests so they could be better prepared.
  • Facilitates your preparation of a Personal Statement for Graduate School.
    Juniors and seniors report their uncertainty and frustration in writing about themselves.
  • Prepares you with the mindset and foundation for developing your Resume and Cover Letters.
    Seniors report that using the portfolio made it easier to identify relevant information for composing these two documents.
  • Enables you to articulate your experiences more explicitly in a Job Interview.
    Alumni interviewers have consistently reported that Dartmouth students need to be better prepared to describe their academic and non-academic experiences in relation to jobs. As the most effective interviewing technique, Behavioral Interviewing requires the candidate to provide 'evidence' of competencies by clearly describing experiences which demonstrate each one.
  • Prepares you for a 'Competency-Based World of Work'
    Employers report a need for applicants and employees to have an increased awareness of the competencies that they bring and the competencies that they wish to gain in return.


A list of professional competencies in Getting Started provides a template against which you can measure your college experiences.  Create a personal record of situations you have faced, how you dealt with those situations, and how you rate yourself at the particular competencies used. This way, you can keep track of the experience which describes your present best example for each competency.

St. Olaf,Web Portfolios: Demonstrating the Coherence of an Individual Major

Overview and Requirements

To promote reflection on the coherence of their academic careers, students completing individual majors maintain web portfolios of their work.

A web portfolio is a collection of work that a student chooses in order to illustrate the unfolding meaning of their career. The work is stored and presented as a web site, with links that demonstrate how the student understands the relationships he or she has built among many individual achievements. These portfolios make the CIS interest in "making meaningful connections" concrete. Works of almost any imaginable kind (art, lab reports, film and audio clips, essays) can be included in a web portfolio.

Although many different materials may be included in a web portfolio, the following are required elements:

  1. The original proposal for your individual major.
  2. A selection of work produced in the several courses that make up your major sufficient to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your understanding of the subject matter.
  3. An annotated bibliography: this list of resources, each with a paragraph of annotation describing its contents and relevance, can include websites as well as library materials. It should be both extensive and detailed, demonstrating your competence in the area.
  4. Internal links: your portfolio should contain many internal links, that is links between the various pieces you have included, hereby demonstrating the connections you have made, the integrative web you have woven in your individual major. You should develop links between coursework and your original proposal. You might also, for example, provide links between a paper produced in one course and a project produced in another. The links illustrate themes and ideas important to your major. In short--web portfolios should be richly “linky.”
  5. Your senior project.

Besides demonstrating a student's grasp of the central subject of their studies, web portfolios promote four goals of liberal learning: recognizing connections, being reflective about intellectual and personal growth, building intellectual community, and building bridges to communities outside the academy.

Excellent web portfolios are characterized by the meaningful coherence of the whole, the quality of the individual pages, the clarity and logic of the overall design, the creativity and thoroughness of the links, the degree to which the rationale for particular links is explicit and sensible, the critical judgment apparent in the selection of external sites, the extent of the portfolio, and the portfolios overall aesthetic quality

Portfolios for Learning

Nedra Reynolds & Rich Rice, Portfolio Teaching: a Guide for Instructors second edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s Professional Resources 2006)

Learning portfolios are specifically designed to benefit learners, with or without evaluation.  When students are assigned to keep a learning portfolio, they are invited to collect, select and reflect on artifacts to include in a portfolio for their own benefit, not to prove to a teacher or a coach or a supervisor that they should pass a course, receive an award, or get a promotion.  Learning portfolios invite students to collect or create artifacts – essays, photographs, charts, letters, notes and so on – that best represent their experience and engagement wit the learning process in a particular subject area.  A learning portfolio may be revised for presentation or evaluation.  But in the learning-portfolio approach, students have the freedom to determine most of the content and the method of organizing it.  Keepers of learning portfolios make dozens of choices that demonstrate what is important to them or how they have learned something.