University Honors ProgramUniversity of Cincinnati

University Honors Program

Learning Portfolio FAQs

All UHP students now have the opportunity to build their honors learning portfolios using the web-based platform of their choice (within some parameters that are noted below). Students are no longer required to use the iWebfolio platform. Below are frequently asked questions regarding learning portfolios in general as well as the change in platform options.

What are the benefits of learning portfolios?

The learning portfolio showcases your experiences and learning at UC, both within and outside of University Honors. In doing so, it is intentionally designed to help you to reflect on your learning in a regular and integrated manner. Critically reflecting on your learning in this way, across individual courses and experiences, allows you to realize the following benefits:

  • Over time, you can identify knowledge, skills and attitudes developed through courses and experiences, as well as areas for further future development. 
  • Each reflection offers an informal story of the course/project that takes your learning beyond the "A". You can include stories and evidence of learning that are significant and that are markers of your academic, personal and/or professional growth.
  • The process of reflecting over time will better prepare you for experiences like job interviews, graduate school applications, scholarship essays, etc. For example, in job interviews, situational questions are often asked - e.g., "can you tell me a time when....?". The learning portfolio serves as a frame of reference and provides you with space to reflect on and refine how you describe what you've experienced and learned and also how that learning informs your future actions and goals.
  • Faculty and staff who serve as writers for letters of recommendation can reference your learning portfolio (if you share it with them). The reflections in your portfolio extend the understanding of who you are and what you have accomplished beyond the brief resume.

Why did the UHP make the change to a flexible platform?

During the 2011-12 academic year, University Honors conducted a series of surveys, interviews and focus groups to gather student feedback on e-portfolios. Based on this feedback, we decided to no longer require students to use iWebfolio. Students now have flexibility and can choose the web-based platform(s) that they would like to use for their honors learning portfolios. Students can now personally choose a platform that best fits their individual needs and preferences (within some parameters noted below).

Are students with portfolios in iWebfolio required to change to a different platform?

No. Students who currently have portfolios in iWebfolio will not be asked to switch. We will continue to support students who have iWebfolio accounts. But, if a student with an iWebfolio portfolio wishes to change platforms, they can.

If you are switching to a new portfolio platform, you must provide the new URL by uploading it to the new UHP online database. The platform you choose must include the features noted below.

Ok, so what are my options? What features need to be included in the platform that I choose?

Students have suggested a number of free web-based platforms. To date, we have tested and recommend the following platforms:

Should you select another free or pay-service platform, it must have the following features:

  • Ability to create a unique URL
  • Allow the feature to upload/download files
  • Embed and/or incorporate Web 2.0 tools (web-generated content like YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, etc.)
  • Offer an option to create an RSS feed for viewers to subscribe to your content
  • Offer the opportunity for viewers to provide feedback and/or commentary

If I move to a new platform, do I need to copy everything from iWebfolio?

No. Students who elect to switch to a new platform are not required to copy all of their information from iWebfolio. However, as you read in the previous FAQ, your new platform will need to have the option to link outside pages. You will need to make your iWebfolio public (this is accomplished by logging into iWebfolio, selecting your portfolio, and selecting the blue logo in the bottom left corner of the screen with a key that says "permissions" when you hover over it) and then link this page in your new learning portfolio. This helps avoid busy work while also keeping a record of your previous experiences.

button database

Where will the UHP keep track of my URL?

It will be tracked in a new UHP online database. You will be able to upload your learning portfolio URL to the new database. If you stay with iWebfolio, you do not need to upload a URL.
 
The URL listed in the database will be the learning portfolio that your University Honors academic advisor will use when checking your completion of UHP requirements, including annual status checks. If your learning portfolio URL changes, it is your responsibility to update your learning portfolio URL in the database.

UHP students will also be able to use the new database to check their honors status online. It will show honors seminars you've taken, experiential learning projects completed, etc. 

What should go in the learning portfolio? Is there a template?

Because students can build learning portfolios in the platform of their choice, we do not have a template for you to download and incorporate.  While students with portfolios in iWebfolio can continue to use that template, we do not have templates for other platforms. Rather, we have provided a webpage that outlines what should be included in your portfolio (the structure and content).

In the Gateway to University Honors course, we will provide an overview of the structure of a learning portfolio, explaining the sections you need to build and what should be incorporated in the pages of your portfolio.

Can I incorporate this in a blog I am currently maintaining?

Yes, as long as the elements/sections described in the overview are incorporated. You must make sure that the sections are distinctly displayed and/or labeled so that your University Honors academic advisor has easy access to these sections. Be sure to submit the URL in the new UHP online database.

Will I continue to upload my experiential learning project proposals and reflections to my iWebfolio/learning portfolio?

The new UHP online database will allow you to upload your experiential learning project proposals and reflective essays.  Accordingly, the submission process for experiential learning project proposals and reflections will change.  By shifting the administrative process of proposal/reflection submission to an online database, the learning portfolio will be used as the platform to showcase, reflect on and integrate what you have learned from the experiences.

What are the consequences if my advisor cannot locate my portfolio?

It is your responsibility to inform the UHP of the URL for your learning portfolio if you are not using iWebfolio. You will inform us by uploading the URL to the new UHP online database.

if you do not upload the URL to the UHP online database (or update the URL in the database if you change platforms), you will not remain in good standing in the UHP and risk being removed from the program. Without access to the URL of your learning portfolio, your honors advisor cannot complete a full review of your honors experiences or honors status.

It is also your responsibility to update your learning portfolio as needed.

How often should I update my learning portfolio?

Regularly! You should keep your author page (introduction), as well as other sections, as up-to-date as possible.

A page should be created using the Learning Portfolio Documentation Guide for each honors experience. As a rule of thumb, you should create a documentation page within one month after the seminar and/or project is completed.  So if your seminar/project occurred during the fall semester, then you have the spring semester to build the documentation page.  Keep in mind that while the advisors may view your portfolio during the school year, they will check whether your portfolio is meeting requirements beginning July 1 of every year.

If I stay with iWebfolio, is there anything I need to do?

No. Students who elect to continue using their iWebfolio do not need to do anything. If your advisor does not see a new URL in the database, he or she will continue checking your iWebfolio as your primary learning portfolio. Additionally, if your iWebfolio is currently or in the future you decide to make it "public" we do request that you upload this link to the database. University Honors students who entered the program between fall 2008 and winter 2012 were required to maintain an e-portfolio using Nuventive iWebfolio. This platform provides a secure and efficient means for students to build web-based learning portfolios. These students can continue to use iWebfolio to maintain and further develop their portfolios.

What if I have questions about iWebfolio functionality?

iWebfolio launched version 5.0 in August 2013 and the tutorials and FAQs that the UHP had in place became obsolete. Although the new platform is much easier and intuitive to use, due to the change and several new staff members, all questions about the process of making additions or changes to your iWebfolio should be directed to iWebfolio technology support.