27 Mason, Pegler, and; Weller, “E-portfolios: An Assessment Tool for Online Courses”


Mason, R., Pegler, C., & Weller, M. (2004). E-portfolios: An Assessment Tool for Online Courses. British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(6), 717–727. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2004.00429.x.


Portfolios can be utilized in education for development, presentation, and assessment. In these capacities, the portfolios are compiled over time by students as a way to reflect upon and share their work, as well as provide a way to showcase their educational body of work. Peer review of e-portfolios has also been shown to be more thorough and provide benefits for average and high-ability learners (Nicolaidou, 2013). E-portfolios provide even more avenues for students to demonstrate their learning in various formats, and are becoming a more popular choice of assessment in courses and programs that are designed around delivering a collection of learning objects.

Key points

  • Multiple e-portfolio uses for varying goals
    • Development—Students collect items to represent their learning career in order to reflect and connect their learning to their goals.
    • Presentation—An e-portfolio is used more as an evolving Curriculum Vitae, allowing for the creator to showcase their awards, interests, and works in addition to academic and career experience.
    • Assessment—Students can contribute to the e-portfolio on their own or as part of a learning community to showcase individual learning and or/ collective learning collaboration.
  • Characteristics
    • The common underlying steps of e-portfolio development include collection, selection, reflection, projection, and presentation.
  • Standards
    • Items selected for the e-portfolio must be in particular file formats to remain accessible regardless of viewing platform. It is also to keep formats consistent over time in order to ensure that the creator can select and add more items later on as they gather new items and work to showcase.
  • End of Course Assessment (ECA)
    • Students can be given the freedom to select their works that best represent their learning in a class or program. Some of these learning objects can be individually completed or completed as collaboration. Allowing for choice of what to present as a showcase of learning allows for learners to also connect their learning object selection to personal and professional preferences.


  • Learner Benefits
    • Choice—Students can compile work from modules by selecting the work and activities they want to complete from a selection of options.
    • Integration—E-portfolios can help learners bring everything together in the course in a way that reflects their own personal perspective.
    • Learner-Centered—Due to student choice, learners can select the activities that best apply to their own perspective, allowing the learners to create a custom path of learning that works best for their situation.

Discussion questions

  1. How do some higher education institutions currently use portfolios in their programs?
  2. What are the benefits of using e-portfolios? What are some challenges?
  3. As an educator, how would you use an e-portfolio as development, presentation, and/or assessment in your class(es)?

Additional resources


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