Once you have decided on the product, you need to make a plan like every other software installation or adoption. If you are hosting the servers yourself you can go right into the adoption planning.

See a MERLOT collection link opens new window of ways higher ed institutions are supporting their ePortfolio projects via an online presence.

If you have decided on a product that supports data aggregation, accreditation, or expect to use the system to collect data specific to goals and standards then you need to spend time planning out the back-end web. (See the Concept Map link opens new window.) This is more administrative than technical as it requires breaking down which specific assignments, taught in which specific classes (and departments) meet which specific goals and standards. The most successful implementations involve many meeting to sort this out so allow time and make sure all the stakeholders are involved. (You can start this before you decide on a vendor.)

Plan your rollout carefully. Some products are specific to classes/departments and are only used internally. Others provide a broad umbrella of use.

  • Some vendors provide accounts directly to the students. The ePortfolio is for the student first and the institution second.
  • Other providers simply allow the students to post reflections and show their best work online.
  • And a third (basic) class is a product within the LMS. While the student might not be able to have the account once they leave the institution, many of the items in #1 above apply. A few LMS permit students to keep ePortfolio accounts after graduation. Fees sometimes apply.

Each of these requires a different rollout. All require careful training of the professors and students.

See a MERLOT Collection link opens new window of vendor products.

It's important to evaluate what each stakeholder will gain from using ePortfolios and being clear about the potential outcomes. Educate the users about why they should embrace ePortfolios - what's in it for them.

POTENTIAL benefits (depending on the product):


  • a repository that allows for secure and selective access to specific people.
  • A place to 'show off' their best work and reflect on what they've learned. A foundation to prepare for lifelong learning, and use for resumes and professional development documentation.
  • Think critically over time, experience, knowledge, document learning, model professional practices, make conscious learning choices, enhance self-understanding, communicate, create a permanent record, develop learning objectives, think beyond, reflect tool for career connections.

Faculty (if the faculty have their own ePortfolio sites then refer to the listing above):

  • Encourage lifelong learning, advanced pedagogy, professional development, identify best work, promotion and tenure, collaborate, connect multiple disciplines, provide student guidance.


  • Recruitment and retention, document faculty achievement, witness student achievement, demonstrate department and institutional success, data collection and data analysis, measuring outcomes.


  • Data aggregation, alignment of goals and standards, demonstrate clear relationship between graduating from the institution and gainful employment (workforce development).


See the Mappinglink opens new window, Creating an ePortfolio Culturelink opens new window, and Implementationlink opens new window videos from the ePortfolio Day of Planning Conference, with presentations by Kevin Kelly and Maggie Beers (San Francisco State University).

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