Reflecting, Integrating, and Communicating Knowledge Through ePortfolios to Increase Civic and Scientific Literacy

Document Type


Publication Date



Association of American Colleges and Universities


Many students view their classes as separate and disconnected from each other and their lives beyond the classroom. Additionally, STEM students may fail to understand how concepts and formulas of introductory classes relate to practical applications of upper-division coursework and may perceive required general education courses as even less relevant. We suggest that implementing ePortfolios throughout students’ academic programs can ameliorate this curricular fragmentation by bringing coherence and cohesion. Using their ePortfolios, students can reflect on connections between concepts and content inside and outside their major as well as other high-impact practices such as undergraduate research and intensive writing. Using examples drawn from the natural sciences and humanities, we demonstrate how ePortfolio pedagogy can help integrate curricular knowledge into solutions for authentic, real-world STEM problems to increase student motivation and understanding of the applications of their learning. Furthermore, it can help students develop the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to share their learning with a wide variety of audiences including instructors, program assessors, potential employers, and community members. Finally, we discuss how ePortfolios have the potential to enhance students’ digital citizenship and civic scientific literacy to foster civic engagement upon graduation.