AAEEBL Digital Ethics Principles v.2: version 2

Access to Technology

Adequate access to technology must be available for all students, and ePortfolio software should be accessible with institutional devices.

ABSTRACT: Students with limited access to technology or the internet should still have opportunities to create ePortfolios using institutional resources. An inclusive ePortfolio curriculum accommodates students who need to build their ePortfolio on a smartphone or gives students access to technology or the internet via institutional resources. 

Strategies for applying this principle include...

  • Recognizing that not all students own laptop or desktop computers and may rely on mobile phones and campus computers (available in libraries, labs, etc. at various hours).
  • Ensuring that hardware, software, and ePortfolio platforms and support are readily accessible to account for students’ diverse schedules.
  • Providing students and educators with training, technology support infrastructure, and resources (e.g., samples of successful ePortfolios, tutorials, resources on digital ethics, universal design, etc.).
  • Making an institutional commitment to providing adequate proactive support (initial training, tutorials, examples) as well as reactive support (e.g., help desk support) for educators and students. 


Scenario #1:  

You are a part-time student attending courses after your normal work hours. As part of your capstone course, you are asked to create an ePortfolio. While you have a desktop computer at work and know some desktop computers are available to you at the library, you do not have access to a computer at your home—although you have an iPad and a smartphone. Moreover, the library has limited hours. When you talk to the professor after class and explain this situation, they already have a plan in place to meet your needs.

The professor has technical support resources from the ePortfolio platform provider specifically tailored to people using a tablet or smartphone and the out-of-class activities have also taken a variety of devices into account. More so, your professor has a list of local libraries with weekend and extended night hours that you can use to work on the ePortfolio and directions for checking out hardware to take home from the university library. While the professor does have on-campus office hours during the day, there are also options for distance participation in these through web or phone conferencing. You are relieved that your educator has already considered your situation and excited to begin the ePortfolio.

Scenario #2:

You are an educator. You would like to assign students a video-making project as part of their ePortfolio development for your course. As you design this assignment, you consider that some students will be making these videos on their phones, while others will use laptops and screencasting programs, and others will have access to video cameras. Because they are using different hardware, they will most likely also be using different video-making programs. 

You ensure that students have access to tutorials and troubleshooting guides available for the programs you are suggesting they use. Although you have vetted these software in advance to ensure that they comply with institutional privacy statements and do not put the student in a position where they may not be able to use them without relinquishing their rights to their work or disclosing private information inadvertently, you also ask students to review the EULAs for these programs. In this review, you help them critically consider the terms of these licensing agreements. Finally, you give students information about how they can check out a video camera or laptop through your library and edit their videos in the library’s media room, where all the computers are equipped with video-editing software. All of this additional information helps students who are new to video-making or video-making platforms and models the program vetting process.

Scenario #3:

You are an educator. You create an ePortfolio assignment for your Biology course. You chose a platform that is accessible across devices, but you are aware that some students may not have access to a computer. You provide students with details on how to check out laptops from the library if needed. 

You understand that your class has a large degree of variety when it comes to digital literacy and design abilities, but you can’t dedicate class time to developing these skills. Instead, you provide students with a resource list that includes technology support, platform support, and free resources to aid them in the design of their website. You also hold office hours, which students can join in person or digitally to provide additional one-on-one support. As well, you point students to the media lab on campus that has digital and in-person drop-in hours where students can learn more about various software and seek advice from experts. 


    1. Bose, D., & Pakala, K. (2015). Use of mobile learning strategies and devices for e-portfolio content creation in an engineering thermodynamics and fluid mechanics classes: Student perceptions. 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, 1–26. http://dx.doi.org/10.18260/p.24978
    2. Chen, B., & deNoyelles, A. (2013). Exploring students’ mobile learning practices in higher education. EDUCAUSE Review. 
    3. Galanek, J. D., Gierdowski, D. C., & Brooks, D. C. (2018). ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology, 2018 (p. 47) [Research report]. EDUCAUSE. 
    4. Giorgini, F. (2010). An interoperable ePortfolio tool for all. In M. Wolpers, P. A. Kirschner, M. Scheffel, S. Lindstaedt, & V. Dimitrova (Eds.), Sustaining TEL: From innovation to learning and practice (pp. 500–505). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-16020-2_44

You can view these and other references connected to this topic in our library, and export them to your own reference manager.

This document was created by the AAEEBL Digital Ethics Task Force.

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