I’ve been looking at “eportfolios” recently – specifically Mahara & MyStuff, though previously I’ve experimented with elgg too. I say “eportfolios” because I’m not 100% certain what an eportfolio is and just to confuse me further elgg seems to have repositioned itself and dropped that moniker completely:

electronic portfolio, weblog, resume builder and social networking system [Mahara]

OU’s ePortfolio tool [MyStuff]

social networking platform. It offers blogging, networking, community, collecting of news using feeds aggregation and file sharing [elgg]

And one more I haven’t looked at yet (because it costs!)

much more than an eportfolio. It is a Personal Learning System [Pebble Pad]

Blimey! My exploration has been partly initiated by some interest from within the LSE but also by the need to keep an eye on what’s out there… and there’s certainly plenty of talk about eportfolios. I’m still uncertain as to how such a system might be used here, so some initial thoughts:

1) What’s the purpose of them? OK, some possible uses?

  • Reflecting
  • Recording & Presenting
  • Organising & Planning
  • Communicating (as “eportfolios” seem to be transforming into social networks)

Let’s assume that a student wants to do some of this or a teacher wants his/her students to… next question:

2) Are they the best tool for the job? Are there other tools that students and staff might choose to use over an institutional eportfolio system.

Some specific examples:

  • Teacher-initiated self-reflection activity – VLE, personal blog or eportfolio?
  • Formative assessment that involves presenting (or handing-in) a digital artefact (ugh!) or collection – VLE, social media website(s) or eportfolio?
  • Staff providing employer with evidence of personal development or achievements – VLE or e-portfolio? (But more likely email with attachments or offline!)
  • Students communicating in an informal study group to discuss homework, work on a project etc – Facebook, IM, email or eportfolio?

OK, that’s enough for now. I’m sure to return to this soon but it would be great to here from my 1.3 readers 😉

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cawood/485487270/

Reader Comments

  1. We are doing some research into e-portfolio’s (a team based at Londonmet but including others) – will be interested to see how you go.

    I think that some of the functions would be done better by a tagging system which would enable me to tag both files on my computer and stuff on line – the collecting function needs to be much better than any portfolio system I have seen so far otherwise keeping a portfolio is just too much bother!

  2. I’ve been working on e-portfolios for just over a year now and I’m no nearer being sure of what they are! I can say that practically every use of them I’ve seen has been different and I doubt whether there’s any one-size-fits-all e-portfolio system. I’ve seen projects using just “plain” web pages, dedicated e-portfolio systems (both open source and commercial) and some folks using a variety of Web 2.0 tools…all of them have their pros and cons in their particular context.

    I’ve been involved in a particular project using an e-portfolio to support a student appraisal process. We used the e-portfolio product integrated with WebCT CE 6…that may make some recoil in horror…however, things worked out pretty well. However, having spoken to other people about what they might want to do with e-portfolios, it’s clear that the WebCT CE 6 solution is not best suited to their situation.

    It’s a difficult position for those of us who provide support to people in making use of these systems.

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    David – would be interested to hear more about this. (Thought you’d left LMet?)

    Gill – I think you’re probably right about no one-size-fits-all. Would be good to pick this up face-to-face at some point and hear more about your experiences.


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