Digital Portfolios

Circled words, arrows, spiral notebookI am thinking of using digital portfolios this year. I have a wiki for my classes, and it would be easy for students to have a page on the wiki where they can collect their pieces and also pull in other items, like Glogs, images, videos, and audio. I really liked the idea of an interactive notebook, but I’m wondering if a digital portfolio wouldn’t be easier to grade.

Do you use digital portfolios? What tool do you use to create them? What suggestions would you have for implementation? Would it be better for students to create blogs? I don’t want to use too many different tools because I don’t want things to be confusing.

Creative Commons License photo credit: juliejordanscott

18 thoughts on “Digital Portfolios”

  1. I would like for our department to explore this idea, too, and I had suggested that we use LiveBinders. According to what I've read about the tool, students could make their binders private but still share them with teachers, and they would have 100 MB of storage space for Word documents and pdf files. It looks easy to use as well. The creators even have their own helpful blog: I found out about LiveBinders from you, Dana, in one of your weekly Diigo updates, but I wasn't sure if you had explored it much. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I thought about Livebinders. I guess I had that in my mind as more of a tool for gathering resources for students, but you're right. There's no reason it couldn't be a great portfolio. Thanks!

  2. Dana,

    As I think you know I TA a class at Emory every summer. My primary responsibility is to help MAT students build their electronic portfolios, which they fill during the year and is a program exit requirement. I switched to a wordpress template this year for the first time. You can see an example at I have thought about using something similar in Honors US this year but haven't decided. I have detailed set-up instructions that you could modify if you are interested, let me know. See you Monday!


  3. I've been doing some research on portfolios this summer, too, and found a nice example of a school district using separate websites for students' portfolio work. Unfortunately, the only link I have to it is in my district email, which is down at the moment. Once I find it, I'll share it.

    But I had saved a link to this open-source software, especially designed for portfolios: … It looks really interesting and includes blogging, forums, and social networking capabilities. They say it even works with Moodle (which I no longer have access to, but…) Here's one in use:

    I've also been working on using the BuddyPress plugin with a WordPress installation, but I haven't put enough time into it yet to figure it out.

  4. I too am venturing into digital portfolios and have just begun a trial using Weebly's educational platform to set up an entire English unit. My students create their own Weebly sites that are linked to my main site that contains all the tasks and information they need. They will complete all their work online and I will assess what they produce on their sites at the end. So far it appears to be operating reasonably, but as I say we have just started. I will survey my students throughout and at the end to see their preference for this type of learning response.

  5. I used wordpress for digital portfolio collecting and it worked out well. It was primarily for my classes that year, however, and I wasn't trying to use it for data collecting throughout the years. However, some of my students after graduation continued with their blogs for their own writing or simply for expressing opinions/ideas. I found it to be an easy set-up and a rewarding experience.

    The only difficult thing is that with WordPress sometimes the site itself has some adult content that is not appropriate and if the privacy settings are not placed just-so, porn purveyors send you spam mail with nasty links and sometimes nasty little blurbs. I was in a tiny school where I did my best to control the content by having them all choose the same password for their accounts so that I could administrate them all, but next time I would definitely think that out ahead of time before using it.

    1. I set up BuddyPress on a WordPress install on my own domain, so I should be able to control for content better—I assume you were talking about instead of an install on a domain. No one has set up blogs yet, and I have to explore a little bit.

  6. How tough was the BuddyPress install? I'm thinking of trying it on my own domain for portfolios, independent reading discussions, and blogging. Already have WordPress installed, but have not enabled multi user settings.

    1. It was very easy. All you need to do is go to the Plugins page, select "Add New" and search for BuddyPress. Then just install. I think you do have to do something to enable multi user settings. I think they explain how somewhere on the BuddPress forums.

  7. I'm trying portfolios this year as well (for myself and also as a test case for a possible school-wide implementation in the future). I am trying Google Sites. You can create a template for them to use. Once they go to create their site, all they have to do is use your template and post their items. Plus, they can control who sees it (student, teacher, parents, etc.)

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