Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Spring 5-10-2012


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership & Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Ronald Joekel. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Matthew Fowler


The purposes of this multiple case study were to determine if manufacturing and services sector employers found value in the use of an ePortfolio in the hiring process, and to develop a suggested template for an ePortfolio format to be used within career and technical education.

Electronic portfolios “allow students to showcase their abilities in a more dynamic way….through text, graphics, and video….than a GPA or transcript ever could. And because they are digital, it is easier to share, review, and provide feedback” (Murphy, 2003, p. 1). These ePortfolios are an obvious example of an authentic assessment method that provides multiple, tangible forms of evidence of student accomplishment in a format transferable to the job search (Anderson-Lewis & Cooley, 1995). However, there was a lack of research that attempted to discover if employers outside the field of education found value in using tools other than the traditional resume, application, and cover letter during the applicant screening process.,

This qualitative, multi-case study included participants that were members of the Wabash Valley College Advisory Council, representing the service sector and the manufacturing sector. These participants had experience using an ePortfolio in the hiring process and had the authority to make hiring decisions.

Participants stated electronic portfolios containing the right information saved them time and money when seeking to hire skilled employees. The findings also showed electronic portfolios provided greater depth of information, more accurate information, connections amongst the information presented, and more detailed information. This study presented templates consisting of pertinent skills hiring professionals thought necessary in the assessment of an applicant in the manufacturing and service sector. The templates highlighted the interworking of necessary soft skills (abilities of an applicant that are supported by indirect proof or unspecified artifacts) and tangible skills (abilities of an applicant requiring the inclusion of specific artifacts showing direct proof of a skill) participants found most necessary in the evaluation of skilled employees.

Advisor: Ronald Joekel