Reflection and Learning Portfolios: What, So What, Now What

Reflection is a key area of learning portfolios, yet it is a concept that is not always explored sufficiently when developing learning portfolio projects. The following handout developed by Kyle Nelson provides an introduction to critical reflection. Please take a few moments to go through it before the workshop. Reflection Session Handout CoP 2014 September

What: What is reflection

‘active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends’ (Dewey 1933: 118)

So What: Why does reflection matter?

In the context of Portfolios reflection can serve to help students consolidate their knowledge, provide ‘glue’ to ePortfolio artifacts and help create a story of knowing (context for them). It also can deepen and broaden learning, facilitating learners analyzing, integrating and synthesizing information

Reflective pedagogy transforms ePortfolio from a push-button technology into an engaging process of connection, linking students’ academic learning and life experience to the most profound processes of personal growth.

Now What:  Resources

Learning Portfolios: Inquiry, Reflection and Integration

As part of the CTLT Institute I had the pleasure of co-faciliating a workshop on Learning Portfolios with Tara Ivanochko  an Instructor in Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and Director of Environmental Science. The workshop was a great opportunity to discuss examples of learning portfolios and their value in higher-education. 

Session Resources

Catalyst for Learning ePortfolio Resources and Research

Connect to Learning (C2L)  is a network in the United States that brings together national ePortfolio practitioners to share resources, and research related to ePortfolios. As part of this initiative they have developed a rich ePortfolio resource, Catalyst for Learning. The website includes a  framework for ePortfolio design, Inquiry, Reflection and Integration and resources focused on assessment, design and professional development.

Tools to Support the Process, Resources and Links

We had the opportunity on January 23rd, 2014 to discuss different tools that can support portfolio assessment in teaching and learning. It was a chance to hear about recent changes in ePortfolio software and to connect with members of the UBC Portfolio Community of Practice and hear about the online tools that they are using to support portfolio learning and assessment in their context.

 Presentation Slides

Portfolio Tools at UBC at a Glance
Download Portfolio Tools at a Glance

Continue reading Tools to Support the Process, Resources and Links

Understanding the Evolution of E-Portfolio Practice: Where Do We Go from Here (Webinar)

CTLT will be hosting a ELI Webinar ‘Understanding the Evolution of E-Portfolio Practice: Where do we go from here, on January 13th from 10:00-11:00am. This will be an opportunity to hear more about current ePortfolio research and connect with other faculty and staff interested and/or using portfolios at the University.

Time/Date: January 13th, 10:00am-11:00am

Location: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Seminar Room, 2.22/23



Join Malcolm Brown and Veronica Diaz as they moderate this webinar with Gary Brown and Helen Chen. According to ECAR’s annual study of undergraduate students and IT, seven times as many students reported using e-portfolios in 2012 to facilitate their academic success as compared to 2010 (52% versus 7%). To better understand this marked growth, researchers have employed both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate how e-portfolio practice by institutions, faculty, and students is evolving in higher education.

This webinar will highlight emerging findings from several sources including the annual membership survey of the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) and LaGuardia Community College’s Connect to Learning project. With a focus on how different methodological approaches are resulting in diverse insights into e-portfolio practice as well as informing new research directions for the field of e-portfolios, this webinar will engage attendees in a conversation about outlining a research agenda for e-portfolio practice and what kinds of methods and approaches would be the most effective in addressing these issues.

ePortfolios Rising

Stephen Downes recently wrote an article in the Europortfolio newsletter contextualizing ePortfolios today. I was taken by the quote below because it locates ePortfolios in a discourse of late dominated by MOOCs and the flipped classroom.

“In recent years discussion of ePortfolios has been eclipsed by the excitement around
massive open online courses (MOOCs). I think this is a mistake. It is important to
encourage students to create and share their own work. That said, the focus on
taking many courses from multiple providers makes it difficult to reply on a single
provider’s ePortfolio service. Increasingly, students will have to manage the hosting

of their online portfolios on their own.” Europortfolio Portfolio Newsletter

In my role as an educational developer at UBC, I have witnessed the meteoric rise of MOOCs, Flexible Learning and the flipped classrooms and as interest builds in these areas, I see the continued value of ePortfolios in learning, and assessment. With the increasing distribution of learning we need approaches to enable us to see students as whole learners and share/celebrate the creative products that they develop.

I agree with Downes when he notes that it becomes difficult to rely on a single service provider to support the diverse ePortfolio needs in an institution. I am excited by the focus by some institutions such as UBC on a  diverse and distributed support model for different ePortfolios tools and initiatives such as University of Mary Washington “A Domain of One’s Own”  provides a model that moves us towards more learner-centred and holistic ePortfolios.

ePortfolio CoP: Tools to Support the Process

Join us at the next Portfolio CoP meeting for an interactive exploration of tools that can support portfolio assessment.

Time/Date: Jan 23, 2014
1:00pm – 2:30pm

Location: Irving K Barber Learning Centre – Fraser River Room 2.27



What ePortfolio tools can meet your program needs? What new ePortfolio tools are available? What are the limitations of current ePortfolio tools? What are criteria for selecting ePortfolios tools?

Join us on for an interactive exploration of tools that can support portfolio assessment. In particular we will be looking at three ePortfolio tools: The open-source ePortfolio tool Mahara, a platform that has been implemented in Higher Ed in New Zealand and Australia, WordPress a blog platform that has been customized and developed by a number of Universities to support learning portfolios. We will have a chance during the session to look at examples of ePortfolios using these systems, discuss possibilities and future directions.

The Portfolio Community is open to anyone who has developed a portfolio whether on paper or in an electronic format. Seminars and resources are offered in response to expressed needs and interests of the community members; individualized assistance is also available. Members of the Community of Practice are invited to share their ideas, examples, resources and information about learning opportunities related to portfolios.

ePIC 2014, the 12th international ePortfolio and Identity Conference, Call for Proposals (March)

Join ePIC 2014, the 12th international ePortfolios and identify conference in July this year. The focus this year is Evidence-Based Learning. The call for proposals is due March 3, 2014 

ePIC 2014, the 12th international ePortfolio and Identity Conference, 

Evidence-Based Learning

How digital technologies transform the way we collect, organise, visualise and exploit evidence to inform future learning

Evidence-Based Learning covers two different and complementary perspectives:

  1. Evidence-Based Learning in the sense of Evidence-Based Practice as pioneered in the field of medicine and psychology.
  2. Evidence-Based Learning to explore the wealth of new types of evidence at our disposal to lead and transform the learning experience

Portfolio Community of Practice: Assessing ePortfolios.

This brief about ePortfolio assessment was developed to support and provide direction for the Portfolio CoP meeting held on November 7th, focussing on assessing ePortfolios.

PDF Version: Assessing ePortfolios

What is an ePortfolio?

An e-portfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items – ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc, which ‘presents’ a selected audience with evidence of a person’s learning and/or ability.

Sutherland and Powell (2007) JISC Effective Practice with ePortfolios

Portfolio Assessment

The portfolio provides a critical opportunity for purposeful, mentored reflections and analysis of evidence for both improvement and assessment of students’ learning. Such a process is a rich, convincing, and adaptable method of recording intellectual growth and involving students in a critically reflective, collaborative process that augments learning as a community endeavor.

Zubizarreta (2010)

Portfolios dictate a different approach to evaluation: accumulation of work evidence and reflection on that work. Using reflection as the most basic way that we academics evaluate students is far more appropriate to the way we work in this century than the testing methods of last century. We no longer need to test as we did, but we do need to evaluate using portfolios.

Trent Baston (2010) The Testing Straightjacket

If universities are moving further towards an emphasis on ‘assessment for learning’ and formative learning then various approaches to paper-based portfolios and ePortfolios should naturally emerge across discipline areas.

Pelliccione and Dixon (2010)
Beyond assessment to empowerment in the learning landscape

  A Process for Assessing Portfolios


Baston, Trent (2013) The Testing Straightjacket, Campus Technology. Retrieved from:

JISC (2007) Effective Practice with ePortfolios, Retrieved from

Miller, A. (2011). E-portfolios and E-assessment—discussions.

Pelliccione ,Lina and Dixon, Kathryn (2008) ePortfolios: Beyond assessment to empowerment in the learning landscape, Ascilate Conference. Retrieved from

Tillema (2001) Portfolios as developmental assessment tools
Retrived from: