E-Portfolios and History Teaching: Supporting the Development of Information Literacy and Research Skills

  • Catherine LaddsEmail author


This chapter explores the utility and limitations of student academic e-portfolios in learning and assessment in the humanities. Whereas a substantial literature exists on the benefits of e-portfolios in education, language learning, and writing courses, the potential usefulness of e-portfolios in humanities education is lightly trodden ground. Using two case studies of the implementation of student academic e-portfolios in Hong Kong-based university history courses, this chapter considers how the e-portfolio format can support the development of both discipline-specific research ability and cross-curricular skills, such as information literacy. Furthermore, because of their online nature, e-portfolio assignments are well positioned to exploit recent developments in the digital humanities. Nevertheless, student feedback on the experience of creating an e-portfolio suggests that, while non-history major students were receptive to the low stakes and graduated nature of the assignment, a significant shift in disciplinary cultures of learning and assessment is required in order to implement e-portfolios successfully in advanced-level history courses.


Humanities education Research portfolio Information literacy 


  1. Abrami, P., & Barrett, H. (2005). Directions for research and development on electronic portfolios. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 31(3), 001.Google Scholar
  2. Acker, S. R., & Halasek, K. (2008). Preparing high-school students for college-level writing: Using E-portfolio to support a successful transition. JGE: The Journal of General Education, 57(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartscherer, T., & Coover, R. (2011). Switching Codes: Thinking through digital technology in the humanities and the arts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boulton, H. (2014). E-portfolios beyond pre-service teach education: A new dawn? European Journal of Teacher Education, 37(3), 374–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carless, D. (2011). From testing to productive student learning: Implementing formative assessment in Confucian-heritage settings. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Desmet, C., Miller, D. C., Griffin, J., Balthazor, R., & Cummings, R. E. (2008). Reflection, revision, and assessment in first-year composition E-portfolios. JGE. The Journal of General Education, 57(1), 15–30.Google Scholar
  7. Fourie, I., & van Niekerk, D. (1999). Using portfolio assessment in a module in research information skills. Education for Information, 17, 333–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Källkvist, M., Gomez, S., Andersson, H., & Lush, D. (2009). Personalised virtual learning spaces to support undergraduate students in producing research reports: Two case studies. Internet and Higher Education, 12, 35–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kennedy, F., Bruen, J., & Péchenart, J. (2011). Using an e-portfolio to facilitate the self-assessment of both language and intercultural learning in higher education: A case-study approach. CercleS, 1(1), 229–247.Google Scholar
  10. Klein, L. (2011). Hacking the field: Teaching digital humanities with off-the-shelf tools. Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, 22(1), 37-52.Google Scholar
  11. McGuinness, C., & Brien, M. (2006). Using reflective journals to assess the research process. Reference Services Review, 35(1), 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Moon, J. (1999). Learning journals: A handbook for academics, students and professional development. London: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  13. Moretti, M., & Giovannini, M. (2011). E-portfolios as a jobseeking tool for universities. Journal for Perspectives of Economic, Political and Social Integration, 17(1–2), 87–104.Google Scholar
  14. Peacock, S., Scott, A., Murray, S., & Morss, L. (2012). Using feedback and E-portfolios to support professional competence in healthcare learners. Research in Higher Education Journal, 16, 1–23.Google Scholar
  15. Schwartz, R. M. (2015). Digital partnership: Combining text mining and GIS in a spatial history of sea fishing in the United Kingdom, 1860 to 1900. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, 9(1), 36–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Snavely, L. L., & Wright, C. A. (2003). Research portfolio use in undergraduate honors education: Assessment tool and model for future work. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 29(5), 298–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Warwick, C., Terras, M., & Nyhan, J. (Eds.). (2012). Digital humanities in practice. London: Facet Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Zinger, L., & Sinclair, A. (2014). Starting an E-portfolio: A multi-disciplinary approach. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 7(4), 249–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongHong Kong

Personalised recommendations