How can I motivate my students to create thier own ePortfolios?

Students understand that an ePortfolio is a collection of the best work, but they will have more difficulty understanding the need for them to reflect on their work and the need for them to make connections between different courses and experiences. Therefore, you should use the term critical self-reflection, and help your students understand what you mean by that.

  • Provide them with numerous examples of successful ePortfolios that have been developed by other students.
  • Help them start small: have them choose just one artifact (such as an essay) and have them reflect on the challenges they had to address as they wrote their essay. Or, have them select two assignments from different courses, and have them reflect on how each of those assignments helps them to better understand the other assignment. Once they are comfortable with this kind of process, encourage them to expand it to other artifacts and reflections.
  • Create an ePortfolio for yourself, and share it with your students. Doing so will help you understand the challenges and benefits of maintaining and ePortfolio, and it will also persuade students that it is a useful endeavour.
  • Make the ePortfolio an integral part of how you assess your students. Maintaining an ePortfolio demands a significant amount of time and energy from students, and they will resent it if their time and energy is not reflected in their final grade. If ePortfolios are merely an optional assignment that is encouraged but not required, most students will not undertake one.
  • Encourage your students to look at and comment on one another’s ePortfolios. You could, for example, have a link to each student’s blog in the online space that your course has in your university’s learning management system. Additionally, you could create a discussion forum in that online space where students make helpful and encouraging comments on one another’s ePortfolios.