J. EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS, Vol. 38(4) 437-456, 2009-2010AVOIDING THE PITFALLS: CURRENT PRACTICESAND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ePORTFOLIOSIN HIGHER EDUCATIONAPRIL CHATHAM-CARPENTERLORI SEAWELJOHN RASCHIGUniversity of Northern Iowa, Cedar FallsABSTRACTInstitutions of higher learning use eportfolios for multiple purposes suchas to enhance student learning, conduct authentic program/institutionalassessment, support students as they prepare for future careers, and meetcertification standards. The article investigates existing eportfolio literatureand documents our findings of current practices in eportfolio use from asurvey of 43 higher education institutions which we delivered in the Springof 2009. The intent of our research was to learn more about 1) the predomi-nant uses of eportfolios in institutions of higher learning across the globe,2) the challenges institutions of higher learning face when implementingeportfolios on their campuses, and 3) the considerations institutions of higherlearning should address in such an implementation. We present our recom-mendations for eportfolio implementation along with limitations and sug-gestions for future research.Many universities and colleges around the globe have implemented eportfolios inthe past 10 years (cf. Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research,n.d.). A hybrid of technology and education, the eportfolio revolutionizes the437Ó2010, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.doi.10.2190/ET.38.4.e
traditional paper portfolio. Easily accessible, with limitless potential, this inno-vative technology provides higher education institutions with a groundbreakingtool to enhance learning, conduct assessment, meet standards, and increase studentemployability. This does not imply eportfolios act as a panacea, because univer-sities do face challenges when utilizing this twenty-first century tool (Cheng,2008; Lane, 2009; Lee, 2007), such as high initial operating costs, securityconcerns, and adaptability for various purposes. Nonetheless, the benefits pro-vided by eportfolios remain undeniable. The purpose of this article is to explorecurrent practices of institutions of higher learning in implementing eportfolios,make recommendations for eportfolio implementation, and provide suggestionsfor future research.RESEARCH ON ePORTFOLIOSPrimarily, the focus in the eportfolio literature has been practical tips oneportfolio use or on how individual institutions are using eportfolios (e.g.,Cotterill, Aiton, Bradley, Hammond, McDonald, & Struthers, 2006; Staub& Johnson, 2003; Walz, 2006). More recently, with the formation of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research in 2003 and its fiveinstitutional research team cohorts, there has been a more intentional effortto collect data on how eportfolios affect learning. Cambridge, Cambridge, andYancey’s (2009) most recent compilation overviews research from these variouscohorts, specifically on the impact of higher education eportfolio initiativestoward integrative learning and organizational change. Other compilations (e.g.,Jafari & Kaufman, 2006) also include a few studies of effects of eportfolioson student learning (e.g., Peters, Chevrier, LeBlanc, Fortin, & Malette, 2006),professional development (Ring & Foti, 2006), and attitudes (Hickerson &Preston, 2006).