Abstract: This article traces the evolution of the concept of portfolio from the Renaissance to the present day. Over time the meaning of portfolio has evolved from its origins as a case for holding loose papers to other contexts such as finance, government and education. Portfolios have evolved from paper to electronic, from local networks to the world wide web. The decade from 2000–2010 was a period when technology became part of mainstream society and educational technology become part of mainstream higher education, and portfolios spread around the world. A shift in focus has occurred in eportfolio research and practice in the last decade, there has been more emphasis on pedagogy and student learning and less focus on digital technology as it has become ubiquitous. One of the key takeaways from the story of eportfolio adoption is that educators and institutions should adopt a critical perspective to new educational technologies and approaches. Finally, the history of portfolio in higher education shows that the higher education system will continue to gradually evolve, incorporating concepts, technology and approaches that are compatible rather than transformative.
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