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Community Member

Using ePortfolios for Writing Portfolios


We have just implemented Canvas and rolled out a 1:1 this fall in our high school.  Something we are exploring is the creation and use of Writing Portfolios.  Has anyone used the ePortfolio for writing portfolios?  Do you have any tips you can share for organization, feedback and overall success of this tool?

Many thanks n advance!

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Community Champion

Hi  @amcalpine 

I second this! I would like to know how schools are using the e-portfolio feature in general. I added this CanvasLIVE request yesterday in fact:

Community Participant


I have used the Canvas e-portfolios for writing. I like them because they allow students the ability to add a variety of content easily. While there are a few steps to setting them up (too many I think), once you've walked students through it, they are good to go. Students can easily separate content by theme or focus. For example, in my Creative Writing courses, I had students add

  1. a home page with an image and description of their portfolio
  2. a section for each quarter

In each section, students could either simply select content from the scroll menu (which does get a bit cumbersome if you assign a lot of writing like I did), and/or they could easily copy and paste selected content into the page (which looked nicer). Then  I asked students to reflect on the pieces chosen in a separate page in each section. They would explain why they chose that particular piece/section, how the selected content showed their growth as a writer, and how they felt they had mastered content based on the writing pieces as a whole. Sometimes students would choose early pieces of writing and compare those with new pieces--looking at one concept like imagery--and reflect on that growth. (Cutting and pasting into the pages is helpful here, as opposed to selecting the entire work.)

This showed me their understanding of the concepts and their reflection on their skill level. Additionally, it kept them accountable for the progress in the course.

I actually created either a discussion or an assignment where students provided the link to their e-portfolios. The discussion option, of course, allows other students to read and comment on the work presented publicly, giving specific feedback on pieces they particularly enjoyed.  If I used the assignment option, I provided a rubric, which allowed for easy scoring in Speedgrader. Woot! Sometimes I would have students meet with me one on one to go through their portfolios and walk me through their reflections, so I could ask questions with them beside me and provide positive feedback right there.

Important tips:

1. Set up the portfolios at the beginning of the year.

2. Set up a sample portfolio for them to see of your own work and have it shared with them on a syllabus page for quick referral.

3. Give students a chance at the end of each unit or quarter to choose their samples and reflect while content is fresh. Reflection is time consuming. Smiley Happy

The nice feature of the e-portfolio is that they can take the content with them, and they can pull in more than writing to show their understanding of the concepts (past video projects, quizzes, etc. can all be linked). I actually deleted all of my sample content when I left the classroom last year or I'd pass that along to you. Smiley Sad

This is our first year using Canvas as a whole school (we had a few teachers pilot last year--of which I was one), so we have not really shared the e-portfolio option with our staff yet. It is on the agenda for next semester.

Let me know if you have questions!


I am a 4th grade language arts teacher. I am currently in training to better understand canvas and all it has to offer. Being a writing teacher, I found this group and noticed you all talking about the e-portfolio. I'm not 100% sure of what that is yet, I'm sure I will find out during my training of canvas. Since you seem to have a very firm understanding of what the e-portfolio is and all that it has to offer, do you think that the e-portfolio would be something that I would be able to use in my 4th grade writing class when we get Canvas started in the school? Is it a place where students can create writing? I would love to be able to get my students using something like this if it's what I think it is!



Community Participant

 @anole ​

Students can absolutely create pages in the e-portfolio in addition to being able to pull in work already completed, add images, or embed html content. The e-portfolio allows students to create sections with multiple pages within those sections. Students can select the rich content box to begin typing on new pages. The e-portfolios can remain private, which is a great feature for elementary students, but the link can be shared with you for easy access. Here is a guide to the e-portfolio. There are many creative options for students! Smiley Happy

Let me know if you have other questions!

Our English III team is new to Canvas this year.  I had my students submit their recent essays to Canvas, and I used the Speedgrader AND Crocdoc comments while grading their essays.  After the holidays, we will start a brand new semester and created a separate course.

I want to be able to use the graded essays as a reference for a future assignment in the second semester.

My question about ePortfolios is:  Will my Speedgrader and Crocdoc comments be included when the students add the first essay to their ePortfolios?  I want them to be able to have access to my comments to help them improve their next essay.


Diane Wheatley

English III

Allen High School

Hi  @diane_wheatley ,

I had to go back and dig into past assignments to verify before I responded, but the answer is yes--the feedback is still there! My students submitted assignments from within Canvas and via a GoogleDoc link. Comments from CrocDoc and GoogleDocs were intact in both. Smiley Happy However, Speedgrader comments did not transfer over. I would have to go back into that assignment to view those specific comments. (I often saved the Speedgrader box comments for  quick overview, not specifics.) If you make an assignment and have students turn in the URL for their e-portfolios as submission, then you would have everything right there at your fingertips in Speedgrader. You could quickly click on the link and see the eportfolio content, but also have the Speedgrader comments right available as well (at least for past work).

The e-portfolio is a wonderful tool for looking at their writing skills as a whole. It is great to see how much their writing changes from the beginning to the end; it helps students take ownership of their learning, but it gives them solid evidence to reference growth.

I hope this helps!


How did you have students read and comment on peers' work for workshop?


Thank you!

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New Member

I have watched the ePortfolio video. Am I right that I understand that students are the ones to creat the eportfolio?  My school is a new certified IB PYP World school and we are prek-4th. While I can totally see our students 2nd-4th using this option does Canvas ePortfolios have option for teachers to create class ones for each of their students in the lower elementary?

i know a lot of other IB schools are using seesaw or google classroom for their early childhood classrooms because there is that capability. We have to have some sort of digital eportfolio Prek-4th and hoping to not have to adopt another tool. 

Your help is appreciated!

I have the same question... is there a way for the teacher to create the portfolio and/or select the writing that should be placed in the portfolio?  

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We actually use courses and assignments to fulfill this need.   Each incoming class gets a new course "Class of 2020" for example.   It's a 4 year course and serves multiple purposes, from college counseling process and application essay drafts, to test admissions and prep (SAT, etc), class sign-ups, announcements, and finally, their 4-year portfolio.   At the end of each term, they submit the work they are most proud of (video, audio, paper, website, etc), and then they are to write a reflection on why they choose that piece.  Their teaching advisors are their "parent/observer" and it becomes incredibly valuable for not only self-reflection, but also for faculty to write letters home to parents (we are a boarding school) or writing college recommendation letters.   Everything is in one place and we do not have to worry about visiting 300+ different pages to see if there was any updates to them.  

This evolved into our Faculty Teaching Portfolio process becoming a Canvas course.   All faculty are enrolled as students and department chairs and academic deans are teachers for their faculty group.  There are 15 assignments to be completed throughout the year, from class visitations with feedback, reflections, uploaded video of recording a class (Yeah ARC Video!!), student work examples, etc.  This has been successful with accountability, amazing feedback in return, and there being one place to find everything!