What is an eportfolio?

I am currently researching eportfolios as part of the #H808.  In my professional life as an elearning advisor I have vowed never to use the word eportfolio on its own. This is because the same word is used for very different types of system.  Instead I use the following terms which I hope we will get to acknowledge and understand more as the course progresses;

Assesment ePortfolio
An ePortfolio used to record the evidence required for the completion of a course.

This type of ePortfolio is likely to be relatively structured with a clear criteria in order to meet the requirements of the awarding body. It is likely to require clear cross referencing of evidence to a specified set of standards, and be available to internal and external assessors.

Examples include envq and paperfree

Reflective eportfolio

An ePortfolio used to record and reflect upon an individual’s experience.

This could be a learners experience of a specific course, or it could be an individual’s reflection of their continued professional development . As well as evidence of what the individual has achieved, this type of ePortfolio may contain reflections, thoughts and plans in the form of blogs, notes and action plans. The individual may be able to share these with others who could add additional comments.

Presentation ePortfolio

An ePortfolio used to present the work of a group or individual.

Many ePortfolio systems include some form of CV or résumé feature which are used to present the achievements of an individual to potential employers or learning providers.

Media and Arts courses may have an online presence where examples of students work can be viewed by the public. These can be in the form of a specially designed website or as a presence on an existing site such as MySpace.

As well as giving learners the opportunity to show their work to a wider audience, these eportfolios can lead to an increased number of applications for the course.

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3 responses to “What is an eportfolio?

  1. Hi, sorry I couldn’t find a pseudonym or handle!

    I love the e-Portfolio cartoon – it really expresses the dilemma. And this is the point: too many people have avoided the issue, like you, by disaggregating what in essence is ONE tool which can be used in a wide variety of functionalities and by a very wide range of users.

    Writing with a mixed academic perspective, I was once asked who were the potential users of an e-Portfolio. At that time I listed off some 18 different users, see: http://maximise-ict.co.uk/eFolio-03.htm

    Quite simply, my plea to you is that you do not go down the route of different e-Portfolios for different purposes. Each learner has a multitude of different needs – and the e-Portfolio can meet many of these various needs through differing functionalities.

    Certainly, one of the best features of an e-Portfolio is the ability to store a variety of artefacts such that they can be reused for different purposes and persona.

    see my blog at: http://www.efoliointheuk.blogspot.com

    Best Wishes,
    Ray T

  2. It’s like your own digital brief case :O)..
    You decide what to show & to whom, when it’s suitable to do so! Simples :o)))

    ps. whats #h808?

    ppss. maybe take a look at our wiki to refresh UR memory! shameless plug >>>
    http://wiki.rscwmsystems.org.uk/index.php/Eportfolios

  3. Kevin and Ray,
    Thanks for your comments on this subject.

    First of all to answer Kevin’s Question, H808 is a module of the Open University Masters in Online and Distance Education course which I am studying, and thanks for the useful shameless plug.

    Ray thanks for your comment and the link which I found interesting. I have to say that I strongly dissagree with your plea to avoid different eportfolios for different purposes, at least from an institutional point of view, if not an individual point of view

    I know of a number of colleges who have tried a one size fits all approach to eportfolios and they simply havent worked.

    The student who needs to provide clear cross referenced evidence to meet the criteria of a specified Btec course in order to gain that qualification requires a very different tool to the student (or employee) who wants to plan/drive their ongoing career/personal development, which is different again to the musician who wants to showcase their work to as many people in the music profession as possible.

    Although there are tools out there that have the potential to do all three jobs, they don’t do them as well as tools which can focus on them separately.

    pebblepad for example is great at ongoing reflection and personal development. With allot of hours spent tweeking and modifying it can sort of work as an assessment tool for an NVQ, but even then it is no where as clear to use for the learner as eNVQ or Paperfree, which clearly sets out what is reqired to meet the criteria with evidence cross-referenced, and neither tool would be as good as myspace for a musician or band looking to present their work to a new audience.

    Maybe a time will come when a better blend of these tools will come, but we are not there yet.

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