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Things you can do with an ePortfolio

August 4th, 2006

Here’s some things you can do with an ePortfolio.

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4 Responses to “Things you can do with an ePortfolio”

  1. Anthony Forth

    An idle thought occurs to me reading your blog, for instance when you express dislike for the term ‘ePortfolio’. Should we be considering the nomenclature and interface being used by other ePortfolio providers.

    If we consider the government’s policy aspiration that students will be building ePortfolios from school age to, basically, the end of their working lives then there is a strong possibility that our students will have encountered another ePortfolio system before using ours (unless we devoutly believe that the world will be Moodle powered). Therefore we run the risk of alienating our students by presenting familiar concepts in unfamiliar ways, particularly worrying if students are porting into the system a body of portfolio work that they may expect to be presented consistent with the system on which it was generated.

    The absence of any other mature ePortfolio systems obviously makes this hard. It may as much be something to be addressed in a future version of our system or by the OU taking a public lead in this area.

  2. g.d.carberry

    Good points Anthony. I hadn’t thought that people might have come across the term ePortfolio before. But if people are really familiar with the term then of course we should consider using it.

    Im not entirely sure how good a term it is in the first place since it doesn’t really describe what it does. One thing I’ve noticed recently, having developed a guide to using the eTMA system for tutors is that particular piece of software needed way too much documentation to explain what it is and how to use it! I’d like to get away from that type of interface design as much as possible. Make things less systems like and focus more on the end-user. Keep it simple!

    The term ePortfolio sounds very late-90s. Reminds me of e-soltions, e-books and stuff like that. I wonder why these things need to be labeled in this way, as if technology is such a new and different thing? Most people coming up from schools these days will have had a great deal of exposure to technology and could find terms like ePortfolios quite quaint.

    But I’ve not done any research in this area so what do I know 🙂

    I’ve got tonnes more learning to do in this respect so do continue to enlighten me!

  3. Anthony Forth

    Yes I am in e-agreement that it does sound 90s. Webliography was always my favourite cringey term. However, it does convery the difference between the old paper portfolios we used to get given at school, fulfilled, in theory, some of the scope of an ePortfolio. I have no idea if teens still get them now, I could consult my nephews.

    Also agree totally about not making system focused, however I think if you’ve learnt eportfolio system A) and rely on certain visual queues and terminology to perpetuate that learning, you will feel uncomfortable when your portfolio are tranferred to system B) if it is very inconsistent, regardless of whether it is user facing (which is inevitably a quasi-majorative understanding). There is nothing more intimidating believing you understand how to operate a computer to perform a certain task and then being exposed which performs that task totally differently.

    However, this issue only manifests itself in a world where the student is exposed to different VLEs, at the different institutions at which they study, as they progress through their educational career and carry their ever expanding stock of portfolios with them. If every, or most, institutions adopt Moodle then all is well.

  4. Guy Carberry

    I come from the position that human beings are fairly adaptable. I we present a system that is nice and easy to use and quickly learn how things work then hopefully people will jump on board from their old clunky systems. The new users will of course start off in our nice easy environment and have to cope with clunkyness when they decide to leave the OU and go somewhere else.

    Also, for people who come from, say Southampton University’s ePortfolio system to ours, we could do a little bit of orientation for them.. “So, you’re used to the Southampton Uni ePortfolio system. Well, let’s just take a minute to explain where all your stuff is now and how things are round these parts.” Kinda like when you move jobs. You come from one place with its systems and go somewhere else. Somehow you manage.

    We can always put something in the page footers like “Your Stuff is the OU’s ePortfolio system”. That would prove that the OU has an ePortfolio system to those who are looking for the term.

    Similarly in the OU Intranet you could put “OU Intranet is powered by thus Documentum Content Management System”. Which would prove that the OU has a ECM!