Build an ePortfolio to Showcase Mastery of 21st Century Skills

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Today’s employers expect their potential workers to be conversant in the 4Cs of 21st Century Skills: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking identified through the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (NEA, 2012). Spires (2012) states that, “digital literacy practices involve the ability to locate and consume, create, and communicate digital content, while simultaneously employing a process of critical evaluation.” These skills are often demonstrated through the effective use of technology tools, critically evaluating how to apply technologies to our personal and professional lives, and the ability to find factual information on the Internet.

One way learners are able to demonstrate that they made a concentrated effort to improve their abilities of the 4Cs  is to utilize social media and emerging technology tools that support these skills. Students can search the web to locate freely-available online tools, tutorials, and resources. ePortfolios can then be created and media-rich artifacts such as video clips, photo galleries, blogs, and presentations, can be featured. Learners develop these personal ePortfolios to showcase their knowledge, reflections, skills, and accomplishments.

Link to example artifact(s)

Institution: University at Buffalo and Binghamton University, State University of New York

The Emerging Technologies for Lifelong Learning and Success (#EmTechMOOC), developed through the State University of New York, is an open-access resource available in Coursera to promote lifelong learning strategies and the development of media-rich and reflective portfolios.

The EmTechWIKI database was built to compliment the MOOC and is accessible at < >. EmTechWIKI is a curated collection of resources to help learners discover tools and tutorials to construct creative artifacts for their portfolios. The WIKI is also available for use as a stand-alone resource. Learners access accompanying Discovery Exercises, which prompt them to (1) identify a particular objective, for example, tell a story, create partnerships, enhance productivity and then (2) select a technology tool that will help them to meet the objective. They then develop an artifact through hands-on application of the technology tool they have selected. Artifacts are embedded within an ePortfolio. The ePortfolios also contain reflections about the learning and how the learners gained greater insight into the various tools and resources they explored.

Self-reflection questions, such as the questions developed by Wabisabi Learning, guide learners through the reflective process. Learners then share links to their ePortfolios in the course discussion forums to develop a shared learning community. Learners can also use communication channels connected to a college course, such as LMS discussion forums, social media like Facebook and Twitter, or any other public or private learning community.

An #EmTechMOOC ePortfolio Rubric was created to guide the development and measure the quality of the final ePortfolios. Exemplary ePortfolios are highlighted on the project website.

A recent publication about #EmTechMOOC shared the following: “Many participants found instruction regarding the use of ePortfolios to be most valuable. Participants also stated that they were likely to use ePortfolios for future instruction” (Sullivan, Fulcher, Kruger, Sipley, & van Putten, 2019).

Link to scholarly reference(s)

National Education Association. (2012). Preparing 21st century students for a global society: An educator’s guide to the “Four Cs”. Alexandria, VA: National Education Association. Retrieved from:

Spires, H., & Bartlett, M. (2012). Digital literacies and learning: Designing a path forward. Friday Institute White Paper Series. NC State University. Retrieved from

Sullivan, R., Fulcher, K., Kruger, J., Sipley, G., & van Putten, C. (2019). Emerging
Technologies for Lifelong Learning and Success: A MOOC for Everyone. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 47(2).

Watanabe-Crockett, L. (2017, November 6). 25 Self-reflection Questions To Get Students Thinking About Their Learning. Retrieved from


Sullivan, R., & van Putten, C. (2019). Build an eportfolio to showcase mastery of 21st century skills. In A. deNoyelles, A. Albrecht, S. Bauer, & S. Wyatt (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning.

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