Abstract: This case study of two international students, coupled with artifact analysis of 22 eportfolios and observations of the authors as participant researchers, closely explores the ways in which students attempt to self-represent within one particular system (Sakai) and institutional context (Virginia Tech). Using artifacts (the participants’ eportfolios) and qualitative interviews with the participants, the study calls attention to challenges international students face when required to craft online identities for themselves with the English ePortfolio. Participant data is discussed in terms of aesthetics, functionality, flexibility, and self-representation. The rigidity of the system denied participants the flexibility to craft identities with which they felt much connection, resulting in eportfolio creation being reduced to a class project rather than a personally and professionally meaningful process and product. Greater flexibility in design and function would make the eportfolio system more useful to student users in this particular context.
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