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The Disadvantages of an Electronic Portfolio

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Electronic portfolios, or digital portfolios, are CDs, zip drives, or digital files containing a portfolio of work. They are typically used by students or professionals in a number of fields, including art, design, and writing. Digital portfolios are beneficial as a green alternative to conventional portfolios, and they can conveniently be emailed to teachers or prospective employers for review. There are however some disadvantages to electronic portfolios.


A professional portfolio requires constant updating to include the most current projects. Except for graphic designers or writers whose work is already in digital format, the process of converting images and projects into digital files can be very time consuming. The presentation of the electronic portfolio also needs to stay current, and this will also require updating. Depending on how busy you are or how often you add new projects, older projects may have a short shelf-life, and replacing them with the most current project examples is essential before submitting a portfolio to new prospective employers.


Electronic portfolios may need to be saved in different formats to prevent compatibility issues with the prospective employers you email it to. For instance, if your version of Microsoft Word saves files as .docx files, the person you send them to may not be able to open the file. Unless it is specified in advance, there is no way of knowing whether your electronic portfolio will be compatible with the person you are sending it to. Setting up your digital portfolio on a website will eliminate this drawback.


The convenience of an electronic portfolio is considered an advantage, although it also can be a drawback. You can’t bring a disc, memory card, or web address to an interview and expect to be able to present your portfolio on whatever computer they have available. You will still need to have a hard copy with you even if you sent an electronic copy in advance.

  • Digital Portfolio
  • "21st Century Education: A Reference Handbook - Portfolio Assessment"; Edited by Thomas L. Good; 2008

Based in South Florida, Leann Harms has been writing since 2008. Her design, technology, business and entertainment articles have appeared in "Design Trade" magazine and Web sites including eHow. Harms has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Florida Atlantic University.

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