e-Portfolio thoughts

Over the past few weeks I have met and talked with many people about e-Portfolio and the main points I have learned are:
– very few if any institutions have demonstrated the possibility of data transfer
– institutions (and perhaps the standards) should focus on hard data, like names, ages, qualifications, etc.
– although the standards are now in place there seems to be very patchy adoption of e-Portfolio although the QAA requirements for Records of Achievement and Personal Development Plans are driving in this direction
– hard data should be augmented by a statement of achievement authored by the learner and possibly one authored by a tutor/teacher; this could be as simple as a PDF document
– rich data should be left out of the interoperability equation for the foreseeable future as mapping between different practical and philosophical approaches makes interoperability issues extremely complex
– the best way to ensure that data is accessible in the future to learners is to provide a repository of artefacts with the facility to export this in an accessible format so that individuals can at a later date access and re-use whatever they need
– e-portfolio presentation, representation, and viewing permissions should rest with the portfolio author at whatever age. Young children and vulnerable groups will need advice and support on how best to exercise this right.
– there is a huge tension between different stakeholders around the purpose of e-portfolio; for assessment and evaluation, lifelong learning, as social software, as a management tool….
– giving credit for activities is one strategy to get students to undertake portfolio activities (such as PDP), although making the activities relevant and delightful should be the primary strategy
– there is much political rhetoric about e-portfolio and lifelong learning with very little understanding about the implications about statements and promises being made

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2 thoughts on “e-Portfolio thoughts

  1. Scott Wilson

    I can concur with those conclusions overall, although I think the requirements for “hard data” are more difficult to pin down than might be obvious – do we mean vCard-type data, or HR-XML Resume-type data, or FOAF-type data? I think it depends on who you’re thinking of as the consumer, which may point us towards multiple interoperability scenarios.

    One issue I keep coming up against is that what look (to me, at least) like good solutions for e-portfolios can be looked at as bad solutions for institutional record management or as bad solutions for goverment statistics and planning. The stakeholder perspectives are hard to disentangle, as ePortfolio has become a sort of generic hook to hang all kinds of education strategies from.

    Reply
  2. Stephen Powell

    Hi Scott, I agree with your point about the stakeholder groupings. E-portfolio are fashionable (as were online communities a few years ago) and as such government departments and institutions are looking at them to solve all of their problems with little or no understanding of what they are dealing with.

    Reply

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