an example of a portfolio

Portfolios are an invaluable tool in academic and professional development. They provide a powerful medium for users to efficiently collect and organize artifacts representative of work completed over time. Portfolios offer a means to demonstrate formative and/or summative progress and achievement. Portfolio authors are empowered with tools to effectively present their information in a cohesive, personalized format.

Building Portfolios

Students can start with an empty portfolio, or faculty and programs can request a template be created to provide students with an initial structure. In Blackboard, students can build their Portfolio with text, documentations, presentations, images, videos, and many other types of files or multimedia. The artifacts can be added directly to a portfolio, or converted from a previous assignment submission. The latter can even include the grade, rubric, or feedback provided by the faculty, at the student's discretion. Learn more about how students create portfolios and add content.

Sharing Portfolio Snapshots

Portfolios can be shared with NIU Faculty, Staff and Students, or links can be sent to external users, such as when students are seeking employment. In the Original Course View, faculty can also create Assignments within a course that require students to submit a Blackboard Portfolio instead of a file. Each time a portfolio is shared with other users, a snapshot is created of that portfolio at that point in time. This allows students to continue developing their portfolio without worrying that someone will see a version that is still in development. Once the student is ready to for someone to view their updated Portfolio, they simply need to share the portfolio again. Learn more about how students share portfolios.

Grading Portfolios

Grading Portfolios in Original Course View

When a student has submitted a portfolio in response to an assignment, the portfolio is viewable in the assignment grading interface. Grading feedback, rubric results, and rubric feedback provided in the grading sidebar is separate from portfolio comments. This information is stored independently as part of the assignment attempt—not as part of the portfolio or portfolio snapshot itself. Portfolio snapshot submissions made through an assignment are not listed in the student's list of shared portfolio snapshots and cannot be rescinded like other sharing events. 

Grading Portfolios in Ultra Course View

Status: In Research

There is not a Portfolio option for Assignments in the Ultra Course View, although Blackboard is researching the requirements in this area and future development is expected.

Alternative: Students can share their portfolio with themselves as an external user to generate a link to their portfolio snapshot. Then, they can submit that link using the text editor in the Assignment submission. The faculty member can view the portfolio in a separate tab while leaving feedback or completing a rubric within the Assignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I set up a template for my students to use to build their portfolios?

Portfolio templates provide pre-built pages and sections for students to use when they create a portfolio. That way, the structure of the portfolios will be consistent across all of the portfolios students create. This is ideal for courses or programs where consistency is important for assessment purposes.

The best approach is for you to create a sample portfolio structure that reflects the organization you would like students to use. You do not need to add any content - just build the Pages they should use. You may also build specific sections, if that would be applicable. 

Once you have a sample structure built, contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning by using the Ask a Question form. Indicate that you have created a portfolio structure and would like to have a template built. We will review the template and provide you with feedback, if necessary. Then we will work with the Division of IT to have the template built in Blackboard. 

It would be best to plan for approximately 2 weeks to have the template built and made available. Once the template is built, students will be able to use it to create a new Portfolio.

What types of media can students include in their portfolio?

Students can embed images, audio, video, and many other types of streaming media in their portfolio. For images, they can embed any of the following file types: .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .bmp, .png, and .tif. For audio and video, we recommend using the Kaltura, which will let students use any of the following formats: .mov, .avi, .wmv, .flv, .mpg, .mp4, .mp3, .wav, .wma. Students can also embed videos that they have uploaded to YouTube.

For other file types, students can add them as an attachment or artifact. Someone viewing the portfolio will need to download the file to open or view it.

Learn more about adding content to portfolios.

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