Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2012


The explosive growth of learning portfolios in higher education as a compelling tool for enhanced student learning, assessment, and career preparation is a sign of the increasing significance of reflective practice and mindful, systematic documentation in promoting deep, meaningful, transformative learning experiences. The advent of sophisticated electronic technologies has augmented the power of portfolios and created a virtual industry dedicated to platforms and strategies associated with electronic portfolios and the diverse purposes they can serve in curricular, programmatic, and institutional assessment efforts. The intellectual and practical relevance of such innovations in the honors context is clear. Honors programs and colleges often struggle to identify and supply evidence of the value added to honors students' education, a challenge that is not easily or adequately met by standard measures such as tests, surveys, or essays. The portfolio, on the other hand, provides a vehicle for bringing together judiciously selected samples of students' work and achievements inside and outside the classroom for authentic assessment over time. Add the practical benefits of the electronic portfolio in creating a multi-faceted, multi-media resource that gives a rich picture of a student's academic and personal development over the course of a class, a program, a major, or a complete undergraduate career, and it is clear why many individual instructors, directors, departments, and institutions are adopting portfolios to improve and assess student learning and program or institutional effectiveness. This article describes the honors program's electronic portfolio project at Minnesota State University, Mankato as an example of a thoughtful, well-planned effort to engage students in meaningful portfolio work. The Minnesota State Mankato portfolio has begun to transform student learning, enrich students' preparation for post-baccalaureate education or careers, and strengthen the program's assessment plan through multi-sourced evidence of its impact on students and on the institution.

Publication Title

Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council