Evolving List of ePortfolio-related Tools

ePortfolio-related Tools and Technologies

Thoughts about this list as of 1/5/2015:


During our recent EPAC discussion in December 2014, a question was raised: what is an ePortfolio in 2014?  EPAC and the broader ePortfolio community first addressed this definitional question in the early 2000s and perhaps it's time to revisit what are the criteria for what constitutes an ePortfolio in 2015.  The list below includes anything and everything that might be ePortfolio-related, from website building tools to assessment management systems.  While comprehensive and perhaps appropriate in the early stages of technology development, more specificity in purpose is needed now that our understanding of ePortfolios has evolved from both a pedagogical and technological perspective.  Perhaps it's time to put a stake in the ground and not only define what is an ePortfolio but also what is not.  All of which could and should be fertile ground for debate and discussion.


Would this be a conversation you'd be interested in taking part of?  We are considering making this the topic of a future EPAC Chat.  Please contact Helen with your comments/suggestions/participation/questions.


List updated 9/17/2014

For the archived list, click here.


Ways You Can Help:

We are continually updating the ePAC wiki to include a refreshed look at ePortfolio systems.


Would you please consider helping us out by filling out this short survey?  You can provide new or updated information via the form.

**Please review Section IV below to make sure your school isn't already represented!


Here's the form:  https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGU4a1l1dDcyb2N6UkVkR2NrTzhyamc6MQ


Want to add a system? contact J. Elizabeth Clark at lclark [at] lagcc [dot] cuny [dot] edu.


I.  Alphabetical List of Systems


Disclaimer: Please note that the purpose of this list is to provide a comprehensive overview of available ePortfolio-related tools (the definition ePortfolio is broadly defined here).  EPAC does not advocate nor recommend any specific ePortfolio tool, product, or technology.  Inclusion in this list should not be considered an endorsement.  We try to keep our community informed about the range of products currently in use in order to allow our members to exchange personal experiences, best practices, and suggestions for what questions to keep in mind and issues to consider when deciding which ePortfolio technology to adopt and implement.  This list was compiled from existing resources and we welcome any and all suggestions for additions and changes. 



Most of the above represent some kind of online tools and services.  Other kinds of tools being used to create ePortfolios include:


II. ePortfolio Tools & Deployment


There are different deployments of ePortfolio tools that have different implications for learners and institutions. The list above is alphabetical but we are in the process of adding the following notations to indicate the common means of deployment.  We welcome your feedback on whether this approach is useful and how we can improve this coding scheme.


Institutional Deployment (coded 1): In this model, the institution operates the ePortfolio tool and students create portfolios within it. This has advantages for the institution in terms of having a dependable place for capturing student work, and depending on the tool, mechanisms to facilitate institution-wide assessment using the data housed in the tool. Centrally managed login and authorization can facilitate users getting quickly to the spaces they need and for the managing of private spaces for specific uses For learners, this model can offer templates that can structure the portfolio work and help get of the blank page. A down side for learners is that it may be difficult to take the portfolio with them when the leave the institution, and the tool may not allow them to capture all the aspects of their learning, because of specific institution foci for the portfolio.


Learner Deployment (coded 2): In this model the learner operates the ePortfolio tool. This might be as simple as a web site, or might be a user managed Drupal deployment. This model gives the user great flexibility, but requires substantial skill and commitment on the part of the learner. More commonly, and similar in in many respects, is the Third-Party deployment.


Third-Party Deployment (coded 3): In this model the learner adopts a third party tool, or tools, for the portfolio Two variants of this model of deployment. 1. The tool is specifically designed for use as a portfolio and 2. The tool is "worldware" developed for a broader audience and typically supported with a broadly-based business model. In either of these variants, the learner is in control of the content of the portfolio, not the institution. This kind of portfolio deployment raises problems for the institution related to institutional goals of access to the portfolio for program accountability. It is possible that the learner will take the portfolio down, or exclude the institution from continued access. However, this deployment solves the learner's problem of "taking it with them."  Helen Barrett describes these learner-owned portfolios as "digital archives"http://electronicportfolios.org/web2/index.html and has explored how they can be life-wide and life-long.


(With thanks to Nils Peterson of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at Washington State University for his significant contribution of the above categorizations)


III. Key Reasons Schools & Universities Adopt Systems/Platforms


In a 2011 survey of schools using ePortfolio, campuses (higher education) reported the following reasons for adopting ePortfolio (in order of responses, greatest to least). Please note this is not a comprehensive study. These results are based on a self-reported survey to the ePAC Community. This list will be updated periodically. (Last update: 7/6/2012)


  1. Documentation of student learning
  2. Course management
  3. Institutional/programmatic assessment
  4. Integrative learning/interdisciplinary learning
  5. General education
  6. Career development
  7. Reflection
  8. Professional development (faculty)
  9. Transfer


IV. Who Has Adopted Which System/Platform

**Please note this is not a comprehensive study. These results are based on a self-reported survey to the ePAC Community. This list will be updated periodically. (Last update: 7/26/2012)



V. Key Criteria Cited By Schools In Considering Systems/Platforms

**Please note this is not a comprehensive study. These results are based on a self-reported survey to the ePAC Community. This list will be updated periodically. (Last update: 7/6/2012)



VI. Most Important System Elements Cited By Schools

**Please note this is not a comprehensive study. These results are based on a self-reported survey to the ePAC Community. This list will be updated periodically. (Last update: 7/6/2012)


VII. Resources


2009.10.15 - Regional Support Centre West Midlands - Kevin Brace's blog: ePortfolio evaluation survey



Evaluation of E-Portfolio Software

Klaus Himpsl, Peter Baumgartner, pp. 16-22

International Journal: Emerging Technologies in Learning (IJET), Vol. 4 (1), 2009




E-Portfolios are a new type of software and it is still relatively vague to determine, which functions are obligatory – that is which functions constitute characteristic features – and which functions are just optional (“nice to have“). This article describes the concept and the preliminary results of a research project which was conducted to evaluate E-Portfolio software, and aims at providing decision guidance for implementing E-Portfolios in higher education - first and foremost from the pedagogical perspective. Which recommendations can be made to an institution which now wants to implement electronic portfolios with a certain objective?


The Clever Sheep:  15 Efficient ePortfolio Tools



Helen Barrett's Categories of ePortfolio Tools:


and relevant blog posting: 



EIfEL ePortfolio Solutions Center



EduTools ePortfolio Review (also includes criteria for evaluation ePortfolio tools)



Richardson, HC and Ward, R. (2005) Developing and Implementing a Methodology for Reviewing E-portfolio Products: version 1.0[Online] JISC. Available from: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/epfr.doc [accessed 14.11.06]

http://personaldevelopmentplanning.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-good-are-free-e-portfolio-solutions.html [accessed 2009.01.16]


Sweat-Guy, R. & N.A. Buzzetto-More. (2007). A Comparative Analysis of Common E-Portfolio Features and Available Platforms.  In Proceedings of the 2007 Informing Science and Information Technology Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 22-25, 2007.

http://proceedings.informingscience.org/InSITE2007/IISITv4p327-342Guy255.pdf [accessed 2009.01.16]


Jamin Lietze is a Primary (Elementary) School Teacher in New Zealand.  Here he describes his critieria and process for selecting an ePortfolio tool for his school and students.




2008.12 - Choosing ePortfolio Software

From Steve Ehrmann as cited in the TLT Group's recent TGIF (TLT Group Information Forum) Year 3 Issue #7 email:


I'm in Australia at the ascilite conference. Lots of interesting conversation about ePortfolios, a hot topic here.

I was asked for my thoughts about how to choose a software package. I think it's a mistake for institutions to assume that a) one software approach will serve all ePortfolio uses, or b) that choosing software is the place for institutions to start. But suppose we're talking about just one institutionalized use of ePortfolios. How should one choose the software?


I have one thought to add to the discussion. It begins with a story from 20+ years ago. (That figure is significant, as you'll see.) Around 1985, Prof. Greg Crane and his colleagues from Harvard visited me at the Annenberg/CPB Project, seeking funding for a project to be called "Perseus," a resource for the study of classical Greece from Homer through Alexander the Great. It would include a vast repository of texts, photographs, archaeological documents, and educational material.


Greg, a brand new assistant professor, said something in that first conversation that I've always remembered. "If classics professors see Perseus and don't have faith it will be around for 20 years, they will never use it." We agreed that that would be one of the design principles of the project. Because no one could anticipate changes in operating systems, one corollary of the principle was, "The architecture of Perseus ought to enable one to write a program to translate the whole thing, relatively automatically, into a different form that would run in a different operating environment."


That threshold was a tight constraint. Within two years several staff, including one co-PI, had left because several ambitious features of Perseus wouldn't fit it.


Subsequent research revealed that rewriting educational courseware for a new operating environment was expensive (e.g., writing a Windows version of software that, like Perseus, had been originally written for a Macintosh). the cost of 'porting' to a new environment could easily equal, or exceed, the original development costs. When it came time to port Perseus twice, to the Web and to Windows, the Macintosh version had cost around $3 million. But porting it twice cost only about $50,000.


Here's Perseus, 23 years old, and still rowing upstream.


So let's return to ePortfolios. It can easily take 5-10 years to institutionalize the reorganization of academic work. It's unlikely that the software one adopts today will still be in use by the end of that period, let alone later. So let's adopt a criterion for system selection: the software should allow one to either (a) export the whole content -- artifacts, reflections, assessments, and relationships -- into a standards-based file that could be uploaded into a different system, or (b) to write a software program that would automatically create such a portable file later on.


What do you think? Write me at ehrmann@tltgroup.org.

(For information on how to subscribe to these weekly mailings, please visit http://www.tltgroup.org/TGIF_subscribe.htm)


We can always use more volunteers and if you would be interested in helping us out with this, please contact Helen.