AAEEBL Digital Ethics Principles v.2: version 2

Principle Summaries and Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: How to Use this Document



Institutions should provide appropriate support for students, educators, administrators, and staff who create ePortfolios.

ABSTRACT: Institutions must devote resources to supporting ePortfolios, including professional development in ePortfolios. ePortfolio stakeholders are encouraged to partner with offices that have expertise in disability, informational literacy, technology, writing, and teaching and learning to create inclusive ePortfolio requirements with built-in alternatives for individuals with limited access to technology and the internet. 

Promote Awareness

Institutional administrators, staff, and educators are responsible for promoting awareness of digital ethics in ePortfolio making. 

ABSTRACT: ePortfolio educators, administrators, and staff  should have a working knowledge of the ethical issues related to ePortfolios, including data collection, security, and management; ethical sharing and representation; digital bias; accessibility; ePortfolio security and privacy; copyright, fair use, and open access; and intended vs. potential audiences. 


ePortfolio creators need opportunities to develop and practice the digital literacies necessary to create accessible and effective ePortfolios.

ABSTRACT: ePortfolio creators need practice with digital literacies. ePortfolio instruction should teach creators what ePortfolios are, why they are creating one, how to employ visual design and Universal Design principles when creating one, and how to work with ePortfolio tools and technologies. When creating ePortfolios, a knowledge of their audience, context, and constraints should guide creators.

Evaluating ePortfolios

ePortfolio evaluation should consider process, inclusion, reflective practice, and alignment with the stated objectives of the context in which the ePortfolio was created.

ABSTRACT: Educators and students benefit from a shared understanding of what content in the ePortfolio will be evaluated as well as the criteria for evaluation. Evaluation mechanisms should be developed in accordance with best practices of ethical ePortfolio pedagogy, including process, inclusion, and reflection. Educators need to make explicit how evaluation criteria align with assignment or course objectives or should develop criteria in collaboration with students. The evaluation process ideally includes both educators and students.

DEIBD: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Decolonization

Educators are aware of equity-related challenges and address learning needs related to each student’s identity, culture, and background as they create ePortfolios.

ABSTRACT: The creation of ePortfolios happens within a multitude of contexts: The country you live in, your institution, the dominant academic culture, the platform provider’s approach or philosophy, the personal beliefs of each educator, and also the intersection of identities, cultures, and backgrounds of the individual learners. Students, educators, administrators, and ePortfolio platform providers should gain awareness of equity-related challenges, take action by constructing equity-minded ePortfolio assignments, review the ePortfolio experience with students regularly to ask about any equity-related issues that may impact them, and include student advice and recommendations on ePortfolio projects and assignment instructions.


All ePortfolio platforms and pedagogy should be thoroughly vetted for accessibility according to the standards identified by one’s culture, government, or profession. 

ABSTRACT: ePortfolio platforms should be accessible to diverse creators as well as diverse audiences. Stakeholders should test platforms for accessibility, and educators and students should be educated about accessible content creation.

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. 

Respect Author Rights and Re-use Permissions

ePortfolio creators should understand and respect author rights, best practices for re-use, and representation.  

ABSTRACT: Because ePortfolios ask creators to re-use text and media, they need a working knowledge of plagiarism, copyright, fair use, and licensing. Students should be ethical owners of their ePortfolios and engage in conversations about how to responsibly move artifacts into ePortfolios, particularly when artifacts represent professional or collaborative experiences or involve the representation of others.


ePortfolio creators should have ultimate control over public access to their portfolios and the ability to change the privacy settings at any time.

ABSTRACT: Students should be able to alter and explain their privacy and sharing settings as owners of their ePortfolios. Administrators, educators, and staff must be prepared to have these conversations with students.

Consent for Data Usage

ePortfolio platform providers need consent to collect and store data from ePortfolio creators.

ABSTRACT: ePortfolio platform providers should explain their data collection, storage, and use policies in clear and accessible language. These policies should comply with applicable institutional regulations. When these policies change, platform providers should have mechanisms in place for students and staff to review the changes and decide whether they want to keep their portfolios under these changed circumstances. 

Content Storage

ePortfolio creators should know where their content is stored, who has access, and how to remove it. 

ABSTRACT: Before working in an ePortfolio platform, students, educators, administrators, and staff should review the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions with particular attention to how the platform will collect, store, and use data and if students can opt out of data collection or remove their data. Providers should communicate these details in clear and accessible language. 

Cross-Platform Compatibility

ePortfolio creators should be able to make and view ePortfolios across any device, browser, and operating system with equitable ease of use across devices.

ABSTRACT: ePortfolio platforms should operate across devices and operating systems from both the creator and viewer perspective. ePortfolio creators should have the technical knowledge to create ePortfolios that are readable across devices.

Visibility of Labor

The labor required by students, educators, and administrators to create, develop, implement, support, and evaluate ePortfolios should be visible, sustainable, compensated where appropriate, and counted toward evaluation and advancement.

ABSTRACT: Learning is invisible labor. Constant shifts in technologies, strategies, rhetorical knowledge, technical skills, genres, and professional expectations require ongoing efforts by all stakeholders. The ability to develop, implement, create, support, and assess ePortfolios requires faculty and staff to have multi-disciplinary expertise that should be recognized and rewarded by the institutions in which ePortfolio work takes place. In addition, the intellectual and affective labor and personal risk required of students to learn and employ new platforms, genres, and compositional practices when designing and creating ePortfolios should be recognized and rewarded.

Glossary of Key Terms

Full List of Resources


Download a PDF of the Entire Document


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

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This page has paths:

Contents of this path:

This page references: