There was a time when portfolios were primarily used by faculty as a way to gather information on student progress. Times have clearly changed because the California State University system rolled out an e-portfolio initiative in November that is available for use by more than three million students and alumni.
An e-portfolio provides students with a place to collect evidence of lifelong learning and skills. The electronic repository provides employers information that help match students with jobs. Colleges and universities are also using e-portfolios to identify tools and training needed to help students become more attractive job candidates.
“Tuition costs are up, perceived value is down,” Ryan Craig wrote in a report for TechCrunch. “Reports suggest that half of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Colleges and universities need to provide students and graduates with additional training and tools to improve immediate employability.”
More than 30 states now require students as early as middle school to create e-portfolios and individualized learning plans. Students will be able to provide colleges and universities with examples of their best work, helping to make it easier identify the abilities and potential of prospective applicants.
“Once a sideshow, e-portfolios are beginning to play a more central role in higher education, connecting both forward (graduates to jobs) and backwards (high school students to admissions),” Craig wrote. “Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the days of viewing e-portfolios as peripheral rather than central are dead.”