Apologies for leaving you without any posts to read during the 2nd half of last week. I'll try to make it up this week, with more posts... I hope!
Stephen Downes pointed to this JISC guide about e-Portfolios. Download the guide here (PDF).
CIT used to have an e-Portfolio service that did not have a high take up rate. There are several reasons for this that I can think of:
- It was provided under the build it and they will come model. I believe not enough was done to convince students and teaching staff about the benefits of building e-Portfolios.
- Consequently, no one was willing to integrate this into their course, as part of reflective learning.
- Keeping an e-Portfolio was seen as extra work, which neither students nor staff were keen on.
- Perhaps the software itself was not very conducive to building e-Portfolios. One key area with users seem to be that the e-Portfolio should have a customisable design and layout (at least on its public face). Our system was not flexible in that aspect. In fact, in the latter years, the option to publish the e-Portfolio was taken away entirely.
- The e-Portfolio service was a walled garden. It wasn't easy to bring in digital artefacts, which may have resided on other public services, nor was it easy to repurpose that information into useful formats - personal reference, actual resume, showcase of work.
- No one figured how students would access the e-Portfolios after they graduated as it was all based on our single sign-on system.
The guide highlights how other institutions of higher learning have gone about their e-Portfolio programmes. One thing that strikes me about most of the case studies is how the e-Portfolio building is directly integrated into the courses, i.e. the reflective process that is part of portfolio building is made as important (if not more so) as the end result.
Personally, I think blogging provides a rudimentary framework for reflective practice, and thus, the basis of an e-Portfolio. Combined with a systematic plan for integration in a course and other free online tools, e-Portfolios become a possibility.
Now, how do we convince the educators?
Screenshot (top) from JISC's Effective Practice with e-Portfolios, p 9.