Part 8: Fall 2018 Labs

139 ePortfolios – 11.02.2018

Do your students leave class with concrete evidence of their learning? Digital portfolios serve not only as a way to visually track progress over the semester but also as lasting products that can showcase knowledge and skills to future employers.  At the November 2, 2018 Active Teaching Lab, participants explored how ePortfolios can be used in different contexts, how to get started, and how to adapt to ever-evolving options for creating them.


  • Weigh the value of openness to the public in selecting the ePortfolio creation tool. Public-facing work can improve student buy-in, sense of ownership, and quality of the final product, but using the tools available within Canvas can prevent students from spending hours on the design instead of focusing on content. 
  • Consider the intent of the ePortfolio when creating the assignment and its assessments. Is the purpose to sell the student’s skills to future employers? To build comfort in articulating job skills with employers? To reflect on the learning process? 
  • Recommend that students pull out relevant components (1 page) of the ePortfolio to show to potential employers rather than the whole portfolio. This strategy prevents the publication from becoming overwhelming to potential employers and pushes students to decide what is important to that particular business/agency and why.
  • Require students to create written or video annotations about their ePortfolio artifacts to 1) help them reflect on the importance of each piece of work, and 2) be more discriminating about which pieces to include. Considering the audience will push students to think about the relevance of their work more deeply than “this was the biggest project I’ve ever done.” 
  • Use task-based assessment with a timeline that stretches the entire semester to encourage incremental completion of portfolio components versus all-nighters.

For more information on ePortfolios, visit the session’s activity sheet.


The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm (room 302) and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am (room 120) in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.) during fall 2018. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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