Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) refers to the integration of practical work experiences with academic learning. Experiences falling under this umbrella provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge to professional work environments, research, and service learning. There are many benefits of WIL that contribute to post-graduate employability including how it aids students in building skills of “team work, communication, self-management, critical thinking and problem-solving… as they enable the effective application of graduate disciplinary knowledge and skills in the workplace” (Jackson 2013).

As a journalism and cinema major, my WIL experiences have produced shareable articles, social media campaigns, and videos that may be shown to future employers during the application and hiring process. Communications majors at Elon University are encouraged to develop an ePortfolio to display such works. A student’s goal when creating an ePortfolios is to “show examples of their work to potential employers and to document accomplishments included on the resumes” (Alanson and Robles 2016). It acts as an extension of written qualifications to include in internship and job applications to demonstrate skills learned through previous classroom and WIL experiences. The ePortfolio, especially for fields that produce visual works, may act as a valuable resource for students participating in WIL experiences to present their work.

What Is an ePortolio?

An ePortfolio is a collection of work in an electronic format that showcases the learning and development of professional skills during past and present work experiences (Comfort and Ferns 2014). Many students have the option, or are required, to submit an ePortfolio when applying to internships and other WIL experiences. The reasoning for such an option is because “there is potential for employers to benefit from student ePortfolios as they provide a ready source of evidence to ascertain the suitability of the student’s skill set for prospective recruitment opportunities” (Comfort and Ferns 2014). The ePortfolio is shared in the form of a website that is created either with a template from a website builder or by coding a site. Some things that may be included in an ePortfolio are (Alanson and Robles 2016):

  • Writing samples (research papers, articles, social media text, etc.)
  • Various media (pictures, video, audio, links, text, etc.)
  • Work completed during WIL experiences (internships, co-ops, research, field placements, etc.)
  • Projects (course-specific, extracurricular, or personal)
  • Professional recommendations

Though ePortfolios may be used for a specific learning experience, they most of all are a way to create an archive of work beyond just singular experiences or classwork. The above list just scratches the surface of what can be placed in an ePortfolio, as what is included may be tailored to the experiences and shareable works available to the person who creates it.

ePortfolios in a Communications Education

Though students or professionals of any major or career may have an ePortfolio, I would like to exemplify how an ePortfolio may be used specifically for those in and entering the communications industry. As a journalism major myself, my professors have consistently emphasized the importance of gaining real-world experience at a publication or news station. By participating in experiences such as internships, a student is able to produce works in a professional setting under the guidance of a supervisor or employer who is actively working in the field. This valuable experience can be communicated to future employers through the ePortfolio.

In the case of journalism majors, a student can post their articles, or links to articles, that have been published. They may also put their reporter reel (a compilation video displaying broadcast news experience), as well as any social media posts they have made pointing to their work (Biggins et al. 2021). Public relations majors may showcase any work they have done for their clients, either at an agency or in-house, whether that be design work or specific campaigns (Peltola 2018). Cinema students may showcase videos, shows, or films they are credited in as examples of their work (Fotherington et al. 2017).

Depending on the industry a student may be looking to enter, the ePortfolio itself may attest to the person’s skillset. Specifically for graphic design or computer science majors, the website’s aesthetic or functionality may signal to potential employers what the candidate can offer in a professional position (Fleischmann 2015).

ePortfolios for Displaying WIL in Extracurriculars

An ePortfolio can showcase any work that highlights professional skills. Students who may not have had the opportunity to engage in a WIL experience yet may include projects and work from their courses to show to potential employers the skills they are being taught in the classroom. Extracurricular activities and organizations that connect classroom learning with personal and professional development are also valuable to include in ePortfolios. For example, communications students working at a school publication “provide[s] further opportunities for students to publish as part of their ongoing education” (Biggins et al. 2021). Articles or pictures that are printed or published can be included in the ePortfolio. Also, when a person has a position in a club or organization with connections to their major, that work can also be relevant for an ePortfolio. For example, a public relations major in charge of social media for a club they are in could share the social media campaigns and posts they have created for such an organization. ePortfolios provide a way to showcase the work produced during multiple experiences that aren’t only professional in nature.


Overall, ePortfolios are a way to expand upon what is outlined in a resume with tangible examples of work completed during prior experiences. They show the growth in a person’s professional work across time from opportunity to opportunity. An ePortfolio may be beneficial to any student or young professional looking to display their work in a skillful manner.

Works Cited

Alanson, Erik R, and Richard A Robles. 2016. “Using Electronic Portfolios to Explore Essential Student Learning Outcomes in a Professional Development Course.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, Special Issue: Defining and Advancing Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education: 387–97.

Biggins, Felicity, Janet Fulton, Christina Koutsoukos, and Paul Scott. 2021. “Fear or Favor: Student Views on Embedding Authentic Assessments in Journalism Education.” International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning 22 (1): 58–71.

Comfort, Jude, and Sonia Ferns. 2014. “ePortfolios as Evidence of Standards and Outcomes in Work-Integrated Learning.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, Special Issue: Critical assessment issues in work-integrated learning 15 (3): 269–80.

Fleischmann, Katja. 2015. “Developing On-Campus Work-Integrated Learning Activities: The Value of Integrating Community and Industry Partners into the Creative Arts Curriculum.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education 16 (1): 25–38.

Fotheringham, Julia, Colin Smith, Sally Smith, and Ella Taylor-Smith. 2017. “In Search of Graduate Employability: An Exploration of Student Identity.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education 18 (1): 15–24.

Jackson, Denise. 2013. “The Contribution of Work-Integrated Learning to Undergraduate Employability Skill Outcomes.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education 14 (2): 99–113.

Peltola, Arlene. 2018. “Lead Time: An Examination of Workplace Readiness in Public Relations Education.” International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning 19 (1): 37–50.

Gianna Smurro is a journalism and cinema major at Elon University. She is a 2022-2025 CEL Student Scholar working with the 2022-2024 research seminar on Work-Integrated Learning.

How to Cite this Post

Smurro, Gianna. 2023. “Integrating ePortfolios in Work-Integrated Learning Experiences.” Center for Engaged Learning (blog), Elon University. August 15, 2023.