After almost a decade of paper portfolios and the last two years with improvised platforms and then Digication, two things make all the effort worthwhile. The easiest to explain is that e-portfolios expand the means of persuasion. We have talked to students for generations about showing, not telling. Now they can literally do it. And for those who fear that e-portfolios emphasize dazzle over substance, I am happy to report that one outcome of expanded choice is a new awareness of the value of words.
Even more valuable, though, is that e-portfolios lead students to a new relationship with their own writing. They actually read it! The presentational and public nature of portfolios encourages the often difficult transition from writer to reader-centered prose that we all work so hard to achieve.
I agree with my colleagues who urge that portfolios get started early in the quarter. I haven't had any major problems with the technical side of digication. If I had to identify one issue that I'm thinking about now, it would be a sense that portfolios work better with a variety of short pieces rather than with courses that deal with long, sustained discussions. The computer screen is not a happy reading environment for a substantial, researched essay.