Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Still thinking about ePortfolios

Have read two articles today which have highlighted for me the different conceptions of ePortfolios. The faculty, the teachers, the course leader, the assessors, the verification boards, the careers departments, and of course the students, all have differing (and potentially conflicting) needs for an ePortfolio which works for them. The complexity of choosing an ePortfolio is well documented, and the guide from the RSC North West shows the choices include questions of whether the portfolio is for assessment, reflection, presentation (or not pigeon-holed as one type at all - debate here), access, ownership, hosting, Open Source or Commercial tools, security, accessibility and usability... no easy answers here!

Jafari's The "sticky" e-portfolio system: tackling challenges and identifying attributes (2004) seems to focus on ePortfolios as being large, costly, architecturally complex, institutionally provided (or even imposed), systems, which must interoperate with existing LMS, require a robust integrated technology architecture.

In contrast, in a post for the Official Google Docs Blog on Electronic Portfolios in GoogleApps, Helen Barrett shared a link to a high school student's portfolio, created using Google Sites. This allows the user to tell a story about their work, include a reflective narrative, link to all sorts of supporting evidence, in a very user-friendly looking site. No institutional edicts here, and no restrictive structure of a given ePortfolio tool... this lets the student tell it their way. I like this! However, I'd have called this a web site, or a course journal or project record or something - not necessarily an ePortfolio... so this widens the definition for me, and becomes something to which I can personally relate.

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