Celebrating Student Excellence: Reflect Eportfolio Showcase and Awards

Yesterday, April 8th, 2021, the Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) at DCU hosted the annual Eportfolio Student Showcase and Awards event.

These annual awards have been an integral event of the eportfolio intiative in DCU since its launch in 2016. The Showcase is a celebration of student excellence in eportfolio practice and all students from programmes using the Reflect learning portfolio (based on the Mahara platform) were invited to enter. Students could submit an eportfolio developed for a module during 2020/2021 or develop one specifically for the Showcase. 

The DCU eportfolio eterns ran a social media campaign to promote the event and this, as well as the increasing numbers of DCU students now using Reflect to support alternative and authentic assessment, resulted in a 33% increase in entrants over the previous year.  

A panel of judges reviewed submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Effective showcase of knowledge/skills/attributes through relevant argument and artefacts
  • Level of reflection
  • Design and originality

The judging panel was impressed this year with the excellent standard of entries from all Faculties and the increased use of rich media to showcase students’ knowledge and skills. The digital skills of students were evident in the use of embedded images and videos, clean navigation, and the degree of creativity and personalisation. Judges comments included:

 “Very engaging for reader; great mix and use of artefacts to express learning; comprehensive reflections”, “very informative, using different types of media, creatively presented, “evidence of learning and growth through reflection”. 

These comments speak to the authentic representation of learning; allowing students connect their learning, to reflect on their learning, and to intentionally engage with their learning as it is happening (Rhodes, 2018). 

A snapshot of all submitted entries can be viewed in this video carousel…

Ten students were shortlisted for the top prizes. Billy Kelly, Dean of Teaching & Learning, recognised these students for their excellent work and virtually presented the awards in front of faculty and peers. 

The overall winner was Chelsea Thompson, who developed her eportfolio as part of the requirements for the Bachelor of Education programme in DCU’s Institute of Education. The judges agreed that this was an all-round excellent eportfolio which surpassed the competition criteria.

Laura Furlong, also from the Institute of Education, Ore Jalaade, DCU Business School, and Lucyann Kehoe, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences were also recognised for their rich and innovative eportfolios.

We would like to thank all of the students who submitted entries and look forward to seeing even more creative and critically reflective examples of Loop Reflect over the next year. We would also like to acknowledge our colleague Lisa Donaldson who organised the showcase event and leads the use of and support for Loop Reflect within and across DCU.


Rhodes, T. (2018). Lift every voice: ePortfolios for creating and integratingInternational Journal of ePortfolio8(2), 87-89.

(e)Portfolio a history

By Dr Orna Farrell

This short blog post traces the history of the (e)portfolio drawing on a recent publication. It recognises that…

The portfolio is now an ubiquitous assessment in higher education, but asks where does it come from? 

The word portfolio’s etymology derives from the Italian word portafoglio. This was a case or folder for carrying loose papers and pictures. The portfolio concept has its origins in Renaissance Italy, where artists and architects collated examples of their work. One early example of a historical portfolio from the Renaissance time are the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. These notebooks were loose folios, later bound together as books.

The Vitruvian Man, one of Leonardo’s Folios. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Over time the meaning of portfolio has evolved from its origins as a case for holding loose papers to other contexts such as finance, government and education. Portfolios have evolved from paper to electronic, from local networks to the world wide web. 

Conception of a portfolio on the world wide web, Watkins (1996: 224)

The decade from 2000–2010 was a period when digital technology began to have a wider impact on our everyday lives and educational technology became part of mainstream higher education. The growth of portfolios was a part of this post millenium EdTech movement, with initiatives spread around the world. A shift in focus has occurred in eportfolio research and practice in the last decade; there has been more emphasis on pedagogy and student learning and less focus on digital technology as it became ubiquitous. 

It’s a statement of fact that the Covid-19 pandemic forced the higher education system to swiftly go online, and to reimagine assessment. Alternative assessment approaches such as use of eportfolio, blogs, online presentations, wikis, podcasts, and videos became mainstream or the new normal in the blink of an eye. However, the question is…

Will this shift in higher education thinking towards alternative assessment such as use of eportfolio become permanent after the pandemic?

This question will be answered in time, but if you would like to learn more about how the concept of portfolio in higher education evolved and lessons that can be learned for the future, then we invite you to read this recent journal article.

Full article

Farrell, O. (2020). From Portafoglio to Eportfolio: The Evolution of Portfolio in Higher Education. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, (1), p.19. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jime.574