For schools that have a good VLE with embedded assessment tools and a well designed MIS output for parents 'on-line reporting' or even better 'real-time reporting' the VLE is a marvellous facility for parents. This Becta video shows something of the potential of both Home Access and on-line reporting. I recognise that this is presently a young technology and has the potential to develop much further over the next few years. Where such a system exists an e-Portfolio can then become the learner-owned and 'transition-proof' part of an information system that lets parents and mentors see the learner's progress in detail without necessarily having to access the VLE.
However, not many schools have the glossy features and VLE access for all users in the UK as of yet. For some schools, the vision of an effective VLE and Reporting System and Home Access maybe a future vision. - But what of the present? And what of schools outside of England? Or for those readers in Europe and beyond?
The truth of the matter is that all students will, in the near future, need their own personally owned e-Portfolios. I would thus argue that whatever the VLE situation, whether schools can afford a VLE or not, whether they can manage sophisticated on-line reporting in real time, the e-Portfolio is able to provide that sense of an on-line presence which is both e-secure and personal.