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Friday, 27 August 2010

The Complexity of Implementing e-Portfolios

Snapshots of Lisa and Gordon taken from the videoThe title of this post is taken from the post written by Vic Jenkins at the University of Bath reporting on the recent Keynote presented by Lisa Gray (JISC) and Gordon Joyes (University of Nottingham). I found the title challenging enough, but the actual post is even more challenging and needs some careful understanding. The video was well put together (despite the audio feedback!) - and I found myself viewing it over and over again.

Some five 'Threshold Concepts' are listed, each followed by a number of claimed 'preconceptions'. However, as I commented on Vic's post, I suspect that many (but not all) of the issues raised by the 'preconceptions' are nothing to do with ePortfolio design or lack of it, but rather echoes of traditional teaching and learning styles which need to be thrown out before ePortfolios can be introduced.

One thing that continues to worry me, as reflected in the Presentation, is the belief that an ePortfolio system is the sole tenure of HEIs, as this again colours much of the published ePortfolio thinking. I really do wish that more ePortfolio evangelists would look beyond the silos within which they work or that they might look beyond the remit of a constraining research grant.

If an ePortfolio is really 'for life' then it cannot be weighed down with built-in assessment tools, whole schemes of work, every artefact generated over four years, every blog-post and feedback or made so technically complex that a 5yr-old or aged granny cannot use it.

Don't get me wrong, I have every praise for the work that JISC in particular does do. But I really do hope that we can come to some sort of consensus as to the simplicity that an ePortfolio such as eFolio can offer.

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