Your folder for life

E-portfolios are normally lost when students leave university. SWITCH is solving this problem.

Text: Nathalie Roth, published on 06.08.2015

Michelle Buchmeier is enjoying a drink with her friends to celebrate graduating from the university of teacher education. She's now a qualified teacher. Since this is her last day at university, she's about to become an alumna. She has meticulously documented her studies over the years using an e-portfolio containing so-called artefacts.

An e-portfolio is a kind of electronic folder that can serve various purposes. Artefacts are documents detailing academic achievements. Michelle created her own e-portfolio and has taken care to keep it up to date. She uses it for the following:


She has collected her thoughts about what she did well in specific situations and where she can improve in her learning journal. Throughout her studies, she has checked back here to see whether she has made progress or needs to step up her efforts in a particular area.


Michelle has collected and organised the academic works she has produced and stored them in her e-portfolio. Examples include presentations, seminar papers, videos, audio files and photos.

She has also scanned and uploaded her reports. You never know when something might come in useful. This way, she always knows where to find what she needs.


Michelle has realised that she can now use her e-portfolio for a new purpose: applying for jobs. She draws up a CV and uploads it. She also wants a cover letter to go with it. It's clear to her that not all of her artefacts will be of interest to every employer, so she uses the community functions to control access.

Securing access for the future

Something occurs to Michelle during the graduation party. She might not be able to access her e-portfolio any more once she has graduated. Access is controlled with AAI, which is only available to university members. Years of effort for nothing? What a disappointment!

Isabella sees that something's wrong with her friend Michelle. "What's up?" she asks. Michelle explains. Isabella remembers reading an information notice for alumni on this subject. There's a new type of academic identity that isn't tied to membership of a university. It's called "Swiss edu-ID", and it's really easy to set up. Michelle can use it to access her e-portfolio, so she can keep updating and using it in future.

Compatibility guaranteed thanks to Swiss edu-ID

Transferring an e-portfolio is especially easy for anyone who already uses SWITCHportfolio. They can log in using AAI and then select "Swiss edu-ID" as their new home organisation. It's a little more complicated without SWITCHportfolio, but it should still be fairly straightforward as long as the e-portfolio was created with Mahara or is at least based on the Leap2A standard. You can export the content to a Leap2A file, set up a Swiss edu-ID and import your artefacts into a new e-portfolio created with SWITCHportfolio. This means your e-portfolio will remain valid for a whole lifetime, as will your university login. The important thing to note is that you have to set up your Swiss edu-ID while your AAI login is still valid.

This article appeared in the SWITCH Journal October 2015.
About the author
Nathalie   Roth

Nathalie Roth

A qualified translator and interpreter, Nathalie Roth has worked for SWITCH since 2009. She looks after the Swiss e-learning community eduhub. Before joining SWITCH, she worked as an e-learning author at a Swiss IT firm.



SWITCH's e-portfolio tool is based on the Mahara open-source project and has several advantages over conventional electronic portfolios:

  • Secure access via AAI or Swiss edu-ID
  • Can continue to be used after leaving university
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Wide range of design options
  • Data stored in Switzerland
  • Guaranteed data protection
More information on SWITCHportfolio
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