Electronic portfolios have served as a valuable learning tool for students. The process of thoughtfully selecting key artifacts illustrating growth and significant learning milestones engenders a process of self-reflection, proven to be valuable and beneficial to the student. e-Portfolios have evolved significantly, reaching beyond the student and the learning experience, broadening their benefits to faculty, administrators, state agencies, accreditation bodies and the labor market.
The purpose of this guide is to identify different kinds of e-Portfolios and the different uses of e-Portfolios for students, faculty members, and administrators in higher education. Identifying the purpose of the e-Portfolio will allow programs and institutions to more clearly define the e-Portfolio’s organization, content, distribution, and points of assessment. Additionally, this guides aims to demonstrate how the e-Portfolios can be linked to the ExhibitCenter™, and how the ExhibitCenter™ is linked to Visitor Passes. The goal of this guide is to provide LiveText users with the knowledge to create a more effective and powerful e-Portfolio that is useful for all higher education stakeholders.
The Purposes of the e-Portfolio
E-Portfolios are very versatile and have a variety of purposes that can benefit students, faculty members, and administrators. e-Portfolios are designed for organizing, sharing, and presenting work done in the program; for reflecting on experiences, both in the program and during field/internship experiences; and for sharing personal beliefs, goals and ongoing professional growth. In addition to the student’s experience, colleges often use the e-Portfolio for assessing program effectiveness. Whether for accreditation or for program improvement, the eportfolio can also serve as an important source of data to drive program changes.
Many programs have developed electronic portfolios to fulfill their specific requirements. This guide will focus on three main types of e-Portfolios: student academic e-Portfolios, faculty e-Portfolios, and continuous improvement e-Portfolios.
Students have no limit on the amount or length of e-Portfolios created in LiveText. Some of their e-Portfolios are used for specific class projects or for program-wide purposes. They can also create e-Portfolios for professional purposes so they have a substantial, electronic document to show to potential employers.
Academic e-Portfolios can be specific to an assignment, span the length of a course, or apply to an entire program.
The program e-Portfolio is a collection of key tasks, critical assignments, or hallmark activities that are required by the program for all students. The purpose of this e- Portfolio is to collect all of the artifacts used to meet program goals or accreditation standards. The program will identify key activities to be assessed and then collect them all in one portfolio. These activities are mapped out for the student when they create the e-Portfolio, and students will be responsible for putting the artifacts in the appropriate place in the e-Portfolio as they complete the various activities and assignments.
Academic e-Portfolios can also follow a student through their years of higher education and serve as a collection of artifacts that demonstrate how a student has improved and grown in certain areas. These do not have to be specific to a certain program and can be used institution-wide.
Similar to the academic portfolio, the reflective portfolio is designed around meeting program goals or standards. The reflective portfolio differs in that students selfselect artifacts and projects they feel best demonstrate their understanding of a particular standard or their attainment of the program goal(s). Often the student will also complete a justification, summary, or reflection to explain why they feel the selected artifact meets the goal or standard. They often also explain how the project contributed to their personal growth.
Some of the content in reflective e-Portfolios will be more subjective in content if students choose to include pieces of writing in which they reflect on their progress or improvement in a certain area. Reflective e-Portfolios can also span the length of a student’s time in a higher education institution and can serve as a way to display how a student’s critical thinking skills have progressed. Reflective e Portfolios are usually structured around program goals or outcomes and are focused on collecting activities and journals from the student in which they present and describe how they have worked toward and achieved these goals.
The professional e-Portfolio is invaluable in today’s job market. With more competition for positions, employers are always looking for candidates that stand out. Professional student e-Portfolios are an electronic presentation of the individual’s abilities, skills, and experiences and have the end goal of helping the individual gain employment or track professional activities and development. The professional e-Portfolio is shared with professors and peers, potential employers, and professional organizations. Typically, the individual will include materials such as a resume, an objective statement, a short biography, and/or examples of work that are selected to appeal directly to the intended audience. For example, business students applying for a market research position would select projects featuring data collection and analysis over advertising or budgeting projects.
Graduating students who showcase their experience, knowledge, and skills in e-Portfolios have the advantage of being able to give the Visitor Pass code to anyone to view their e-Portfolios. These Visitor Passes can be used at any time and anywhere there is Internet access. e-Portfolios are more professional and impressive because they are clean and crisp looking, and not cumbersome the way physical portfolios can be. Students can include the Visitor Pass on their resumes, and it can be given to as many people as they wish. Professional e-Portfolios also allow students to show off their best pieces of work and most remarkable achievements in a creative way, as opposed to getting lost in a college transcript.
Faculty Tenure E-Portfolios
Faculty e-Portfolios are a good way for faculty members to present their skills, experience, past work, and publications in one electronic document. Faculty members can use their e-Portfolios when they are being considered for tenure or any kind of promotion. e-Portfolios allow them to edit and expand as they collect more experiences and awards, as they add more achievements to their professional record, and as they progress in their teaching careers.
Continuous Improvement/Accreditation Visits
Recently, more schools have been using e-Portfolios as evidence of student learning and continuous improvement. In these e-Portfolios, faculty members and administrators can add information about:
- The institution’s mission statement
- The institution’s academic programs
- Biographies and resumes of the faculty members and administrators
- Curriculum maps and organizational charts
- Program assessment timelines
- Student surveys
- Examples of student work (such as e-Portfolios)
- Description of the courses in the program
- Diversity statements
- Links to data reports run in LiveText that that show what students have been learning and areas for improvement
- Institutional standards, student learning outcomes, and program learning outcomes that are used to measure program or institutional effectiveness
- Institutional continuous improvement goals
- Special message(s) for the accrediting body
Putting any and all of this information in an e-Portfolio for accreditation visits allows for a simplified and electronic way for institutions to present the information they are required to show accrediting bodies. Additionally, these e-Portfolios can be used year after year, allowing for edits to be made and for trends over time to be recorded.
Domain templates are available to all users in the domain and are not restricted to a particular role or course. A best practice for e-Portfolio templates is to build them as domain templates so students and faculty can create an e-Portfolio at any time from this template. Commonly, this list is reserved for templates that are used for an entire department, program, or college.
Best Practice: Enable an administrative account with domain template manager permission, as opposed to using individual accounts for the same purpose. This way, templates can be edited and managed from a single account.
Converting a Document to a Domain Template
Users can access and copy domain templates from the template dropdown when creating a new document. Only faculty or administrators with template administrative rights can convert LiveText documents into domain templates. While every account can create documents, not every account can create domain templates. In order to convert a document into a domain template, faculty members must be enabled for this feature by providing a written request from their LiveText administrator to LiveText Implementation or Technical Support.
- Create a LiveText document that contains all of the content you want to appear in the template.
- While the document is open, click the Save as Template button.
- Select a folder in the Choose a folder to place template in drop down menu. The folder you choose determines which folder the template will be located in. If you prefer to create a new folder to place the template in, select "[New Folder]".
- Click the Create link. If you selected an existing folder in step 3, then the template will be placed within that folder. If instead you chose to create a new folder in step 3, you will be prompted to enter a folder name. In the "Enter Folder Name" textbox, enter a folder name, click the OK button, and then go back to step 3.
The new template will appear both in the list of documents in the Documents tab and in the list of templates in the templates area. The domain template can be identified by looking for the icon. This is the “live” template that is available to all users in the domain.
Modifying this document will change the “live” template available, but will not have any effect on documents that have already been created. Once a template is used, the resulting document is completely separate from the template.
Managing Domain Templates and Folders
Domain Template Managers can customize the folders that templates appear in. This can be useful when organizing templates for easy access by students or faculty. These folders can be classified by program, document type, course, or any other category the administrator may wish to use. These folders are visible to all members registered in the domain.
1. Click Templates under the Admin tab to access all templates in the
2. Click Add for the corresponding folder in which the template will
3. The “Template Chooser,” a list of LiveText documents to choose from,
4. Select the checkbox next to the template to be added to the folder.
5. Click Add.
Administrators can customize the folders to address specific needs and name them
accordingly. For example, in some domains, the folders have been created to match
the different document types. Some common themes for domain template folders
- Role (Student, Faculty, etc.)
- Activity Type (Portfolio, Lesson Plan, Assignment, etc.)
Folders have a single level, so administrators cannot create folders within folders. A
template can be added to multiple folders for easy access if associated with multiple
Assignment templates are created from documents that have been created in
faculty or administrative accounts. The difference between assignment templates
and domain templates is based on the process for distributing the templates.
Assignment templates are distributed through courses and are only accessible by
the participants in that course. The use of assignment templates helps
administrators and faculty provide the correct document to students in an
assignment. When the term is over, access to the assignment template is disabled.
This is useful if the portfolio is introduced in a specific course or if a portfolio course
is loaded and the first portfolio submission is tracked and assessed.
To create an assignment template:
1. Go to the Documents tab
2. Click the + New button
3. Choose the LiveText document that you want and click the Create
4. Name the document and press OK.
5. Build out the document and save it. This will save in the Documents tab for
you to share.
To attach an assignment template to an assignment:
1. Click the Dashboard tab.
2. On the right side of the screen, click the course code for the course with the
3. Click the Assignments tab.
4. Click the New option.
5. After filling in the assignment information, scroll down to the Assignment
6. Scroll down to “Assignment Templates” and click the Browse button.
7. Select the Label (e.g. My Work, Inbox, or a custom label) where the document
8. Check the checkbox in front of the title of the LiveText document(s) that you
want to act as the template(s) for this assignment.
9. Click the Insert Document(s) button.
10. Click the green Save Assignment button.
On the “Assignment Details” page, the name of the template document will be listed
with the version number. Administrators have the ability to copy assignments to
other courses and sections. Each faculty member has the ability to copy this
assignment to any course or section they instruct. Copying this assignment to other
sections will maintain the reference to the same version of the document.
Administrators and faculty members have the ability to copy assignments from
previous terms to current terms. This process allows courses to use that same
assignment and templates from course to course.
Note: Documents that have been used as an assignment template will not be
indicated with the “T” icon in the Documents area. Additionally, modifying the
source document does not impact the assignments in which the template has
already been added.
Benefits of Using a Portfolio Template
Setting up a template, whether it be an assignment template or a domain template,
of an e-Portfolio serves many purposes. It communicates the requirements of the e-
Portfolio: what should be in each section and on each page, and in what order. It
ensures that the students’ e-Portfolios have a similar organization. Students and
faculty members always have access to LiveText Support when using e-Portfolios by
calling or emailing the Support Team with any questions.
Best Practices for e-Portfolios
LiveText promotes some best practices related to the use of e-Portfolios.
One of these best practices is naming the e-Portfolios specifically, so that the
purpose and date of creation are clear from looking at the title. This will avoid any
confusion and ensure that when the user sees the title of the e-Portfolio, he/she will
know right away what that e-Portfolio is for and when it is from.
Another best practice is for users only to make e-portfolios into domain templates if
they want everyone at the institution to be able to access the e-Portfolio.
LiveText also encourages faculty members and administrators to communicate with
students to make sure that students understand the many uses of LiveText e-
Portfolios, so that students are able to make their own e-Portfolios for their own
use. e-Portfolios can have many different purposes and can be created in a variety
of ways, and it is important that this is communicated to students so that they can
take full advantage of their LiveText accounts.