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Thursday, 10 March 2011

What does it look like?

Image: Girl staring at a screenI am a member of a BSI (British Standards Institute) SIG working on ePortfolio specifications to include issues of interoperability and much more. On face value, as the Sth.Koreans presented it, the ePortfolio problem is all about interoperability and how far we are off coming to consensus. But, the further we get in discussing the details, the further away we depart from each other. There is no doubt that institutions around the world have all defined their own perceptions of what an ePortfolio is, what its purpose is, who should be using an ePortfolio, compulsory or voluntary, institutionally owned or learner owned, what does it feel like, what does it look like. Many of these issues I attempted to address several years ago. See ‘Who is hijacking our ePortfolios.’

However, one of the outcomes of the BSI SIG was to identify ‘Use Cases’ of which each country, and even institutions within any country had different opinions as to how an ePortfolio should be used. Can I ask you, therefore, if you would respond by completing the following headings as a comment or emailing to

Age Range:
Application: (name of software)
Function: (30 – 100 words)

1 comment:

Shane said...

Hello Ray,

this will be brief...

My view of 'eportfolios' is that they are simply analogous to stories - albeit they are digital and the best ones are enriched by evidence, comments and other links. If you accept that eportfolios are nothing more than digital stories then you only have to think of your own stories to understand how varied and idiosyncratic they are depending upon your audience.

ePortfolios can be constructed in many, many tools but some tools are specifically designed to help you construct and control them. Some tools also go well beyond portfolio construction and help you make sense of learning whether or not the evidence of that learning is destined to become part of one of your many stories.

Because at certain times in their lives some learners have to create very specific kinds of stories (which allow access by examiners, feedback, archiving etc) I think it is incumbent upon institutions to provide tools that support these kinds of stories - but hopefully they won't be constrained to just that singular purpose. And so, it's important to support interoperability between tools so that subsequent stories can be enriched by those that came before them.

We've got a good interoperability standard in Leap2a, eportfolios need only a simple definition and I think it's very problematic trying to create standards for an incredibly broad range of tools that can create them.

An example I often use is to replace the word eportfolio with vehicle. You could probably come up with a reasonable definition of vehicle but would that help the people who specifically wanted a moped or those who knew they needed an articulated truck? Trying to define an eportfolio (system) is like trying to nail jelly to a wall :-)