Showcase of Learning: Towards a Pattern Language for Working with Electronic Portfolios in Higher Education


Like a shop window facing the street and displaying delicate or valuable articles, an electronic portfolio showcase required skills of students and demonstrates that they understand how to apply their prowess. However, the work with electronic portfolios is complex and demanding. Compared to experts, novice users – teachers as well as students – face a number of challenges when they try to draw on the experience of others, especially when they want to implement e-portfolios in their university or college courses and when they try to create their first own e-portfolio views respectively. Even for experts on e-portfolios it is sometimes hard to explain how to best use e-portfolios for learning purposes. There are a few guidelines which help with the basics, but what is missing is a common language for describing e-portfolio practice. This paper, making use of Christopher Alexander’s work on patterns and pattern languages, and drawing on pedagogical design patterns which already exist, presents the author’s first steps towards a pattern language for working with e-portfolios in higher education combining different theoretical and practical approaches and, particularly, own experiences of e-portfolio use.

In: Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs, ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 6:1–6:30