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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A proliferation of e-Portfolios?

I was recently impressed by an article written by an American academic who had certainly got a good understanding of the present confusing situation. See his article.
However, I thought it worthwhile to repeat my response here:


Thank you for an erudite and provocative article, much appreciated. However, There are several points with which I would disagree.

Yes, you are right to question whether an e-Portfolio should be modelled on a system several hundred years old. So my first question is 'Why not go back to basics and question what are the overriding requirements of an electronic Portfolio?'

Secondly, Yes, you are right to suggest that education is about process, so, 'Why not devise a system that supports and encourages an understanding and identification of the processes involved in any assignment?'

Again, I agree that the e-Portfolio is not the right place for the repository of all of one's life-works - a 'pantechnicon' of all that we own. So, 'Why not encourage students to present only 'work in progress' and selected 'showcase' items that are relevant to any phase or capstone?'

Reflection is a transient thing. The reflections of a 5-yr old may be very different to those of a PhD student or Senior Citizen. However, in order to support reflection one should be capable of re-presenting some evidences that might have been removed from the e-Portfolio and archived on a DVD or memory-stick. My point here is that the e-Portfolio should be learner-owned and easily managed by the owner, whatever their age. Chameleon-like, the e-Portfolio should be capable of adapting to its background so as to be equally presentable to a whole range of audiences - and ALL at the same time.

Finally, you opened by referring to the wide variety of e-Portfolios available. Perhaps one of the main causes for this is that they have short-sightedly established institutionally-based systems that do not truly support transition through all of life's stages or across territorial boundaries?

For more on my ideas please see or or my demonstration portfolio at:

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